Palaweño filmmaker Auraeus Solito credited the province of Palawan on Monday for inspiring several of his acclaimed works, including Suring at ang Kuk-ok and Busong.
Solito, who was born in Manila before discovering his Palaw’an roots in southern Palawan in 1994, told the local media that the province’s culture and customs are rich in rituals and narratives that could inspire the production of more artistic films.
Suring at ang Kuk-ok, he said, was inspired by a Palawan myth. “Noong nag-ritual kasi ang Palaw’an, I experienced a trance-like stage na nag-change bigla ang point of view (POV) ko. Biglang nakita ko ang world in frames. I made my first film which is based on the Palawan myth kuk-ok sa south,” Solito said.
It tells the story of Suring, a lovely woman who society unfairly criticized. She ran away to the forest, where she meets and befriends a shape-shifting beast named Kuk-ok.
Solito is in Palawan for the free screening of his film masterpieces by the provincial government in Sine Palawan as part of this year’s Baragatan Festival.
Calls for LGUs to support local films
According to Solito, the province’s willingness to screen his films should be the beginning of support for the production of other features that highlight culture and traditions.
“That’s what Palawan government should do kasi sayang. It is important na maging aware and people to see the quality of the films that Palaweño has made, to open their mind’s eyes. Baka dumami ang mga good filmmakers dito,” Solito said.
“Ang Korea they are successful kasi may support. Here, we are all about competition, it’s really sad,” he added.
Solito also mentioned that he and Dante Nico Garcia, the director of Ploning, made a promise previously to make movies about Palawan.
“We are both doing theater production, we made a vow before we became directors, and Cuyonon siya, so siya ang gagawa ng north then ako sa south–nagawa nya ang Ploning at nagawa ko ang Busong,” Solito said.
The free film screening, according to Aries Palao Austria of the governor’s office, intends to increase awareness about the value of local artists and their works depicting Palawan’s history and tradition.
“[Sir Sam Magbanua] wants to integrate during the month-long celebration the free film showing kung saan ife-feature ang mga award-winning films [kagaya nito],” he said.