Dr. Milagros O. How, executive vice president of Universal Harvester, Inc., formally opened the fi lm festival featuring the six movies – Free Range, Pauwi Na, Paglipay, Pitong Kabang Palay, Kakampi, and Pilapil – depicting the aspirations of the Filipino farmers and their journey to success under the guidance of multi-awarded film and television director Maryo J. Delos Reyes.
The six movies are now showing at SM City Pampanga and also at SM City Cabanatuan cinemas until August 30.
“I got to meet the most hard working people in the land, that is the reason why we all have food on our tables every day. But as I got to know more farmers over the years I was inspired by their life stories – of sadness and of joy, of trials and success — these are stories that we seldom hear every day yet worthy to be told,” How said during the opening of the festival.
“My interests in these stories soon sparked the passion to create the venue wherein our farmers and the lives they live can be appreciated, recognized and respected,” How explained.
“It is a fact that our farmers don’t get the recognition they deserved but through the TOFARM Film Festival, we are hoping that our beloved farmers will be given a voice and be given an opportunity to tell their life stories to inspire others. That is our mission,” How said.
“We decided to bring the fi lms outside Manila to initiate the agricultural revolution that we are dreaming of. We want able to know more and in so doing learn more about our industry,” she pointed out.
“Let the whole nation appreciate the plight of our farmers. The show starts today and so this coming week we invite everyone to watch the six fi lms that will break the soul of our agricultural country and fi ll your senses with the bountiful stories of the most hardworking people in the land,” she added.
TOFARM supervising producer Ianne Oandasan said this is fi rst TOFARM fi lm festival where farmers take center stage because they are “not only responsible for ensuring our food supply but they can also be a rich source of inspiration in fi lm making.”
Oandasan said the festival features six original stories “where we can see that our farmers are no diff erent from us.
They too undergo trials, experience joy in their triumphs, and also hope for a better future which only goes to show one undeniable truth that we are all equal in the eyes of the author of life.”
“We encourage the public to support all six fi lms that speak from the heart,” she said. “This is our share as artists in promoting and disseminating information on agriculture. This is also our tribute for the farmers in our country. It’s only fi tting we recognize them in a way we do best,” Oandasan said.
During a press conference after the festival’s formal opening, How narrated how she started helping farmers eight years ago when she started her fertilizer business.
“I started with a fertilizer business eight years ago where I met with the farmers and so I became their friend. As we go around the country we meet diff erent kinds of farmers and then we had a project Search and Award for the Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM),” she narrated.
“We help them in scientific farming. We guide them so that they will know how fertilizer is being made and how to increase their produce to make their harvest more bountiful,” she said.
“In fact, I went back to school to learn agriculture and I specialized in soil science to help the farmers so I was able to know farmers from other countries also,” she said.
“We just arrived from a fi veday trip from Fukuoka, Japan with rice terraces farmers from Banaue, Ifugao including Mayor Jerry Dalipog where they learned how to improve their farming methods and also shared our knowledge with them too,” she added.
How said her company has a project in Banaue. They went to Japan to study the rice terraces there, she said.
“Next week we will be going to Kunming, China to further our studies,” she added.
The TOFARM Film Festival had its successful screening at SM Megamall and SM City North last July 13-19.
The festival will next be launched at SM City Cebu on September 14-20 and at the SM City Davao on October 12- 18.