For the first time since the pandemic began, moviegoers can enjoy locally produced selections and international fare on the big screen at the Guam Museum.
This year, the Guam International Film Festival will be held October 7-9, and tickets for the screening blocks are available for purchase for $5 at the door.
This year’s theme is “Cinemaolek,” and the pun reflects GIFF’s goal of celebrating cross-cultural understanding and showcasing unique local storytelling.
“GIFF has always been focused on community, education and entertainment. We wanted to show good films, and what defines good films, what is ‘cinemaolek’? As we took a step back during the pandemic, we looked at cinema more as a way to connect with the community,” said GIFF Program Manager Myracle Mugol.
“So we felt like ‘cinemaolek’ embodied those three things that we hope to achieve. We want to reflect the community that we put on screen, we want to have a bit of an educational aspect to it, that’s why we have panels and discussion series.
“At the end of the day, movies are made to entertain, so entertainment is our priority. Coming back to the museum was an opportunity to tie all three things together.
On October 7, attendees can expect a live Q&A with participating filmmakers, including Myra Aquino, writer and director of the award-winning narrative short “Beauty Queen.”
Aquino’s film is set during World War II in the Philippines and follows Remedios, a beauty queen, who runs into the mountains with her brother to join resistance efforts.
Local films, held in the “Made in the Marianas” category, will also be screened on Friday.
The Grand Jury Award winners will also be announced Oct. 7, Mugol said.
Saturday movies, event
On October 8, community members will be able to enjoy a selection of films, including “LOIMATA The Sweetest Tears”, which is being billed as the opening night film to celebrate GIFF’s first full day of programming.
The film traces the final voyage of Ema Siope, a waka maker and sailor, who travels between Aotearoa and Sāmoa while navigating systemic abuse within her family.
The Cinemaolek discussion series is available on the GIFF Facebook page. Past sessions include conversations about diversity and understanding, as well as film and aging.
The next session of the series will air live at 9 a.m. on October 8 and will feature Ukrainian director Valeriya Golovina, local researcher Michael Lujan Bevacqua and Northern Marianas College President Galvin De Leon Guerrero in conversation about war and the movie theater.
The Oct. 9 lineup will feature a variety of films and stories, including “Hawaiian Soul,” which highlights the story of revered Hawaiian activist George Helm.
This year marks the 12th annual film festival.
“Now that we are over 10 years old, we wanted to show how our theme comes back to our community. It’s kind of like how many of us, growing up, love English words. ‘Cinemaolek’ – it’s Guam, it’s good and it’s still film,” Mugol said.