Isa ang Limbunan sa sampung full length film entries na magko-compete sa 6th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2010. Pinagbibidahan ito nina Joem Bascon, Tetchie Agbayani, ang Maguindanaoan actress na si Mayka Lintongan, at Jea Lyka Cinco na na-nominate sa nakaraang Gawad Urian bilang best supporting actress (for Hospital Boat).
Ayon sa Muslim writer-director ng pelikula na si Gutierrez "Teng" Mangansakan II, ginagawa pa lamang niya ang script ng Limbunan ay mga pangalan na nina Joem Bascon at Tetchie Agbayani ang kanyang nasa isip upang gampanan ang kani-kanilang characters sa pelikula.
"When I was writing the script, na-envision ko na sina Tetchie and Joem for their roles. It was easy for me to add flesh and blood to their characters (Farida and Maguid, respectively) because I was already imagining them moving, talking, laughing," kuwento ni Direk Teng sa Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP).
Ang Davao-based actress na si Jea Lyka Cinco ay gumaganap na Ayesah, na naipangakong ipapakasal ng kanyang Muslim clan sa isang lalaking ni hindi niya kilala.
Tetchie plays Farida, ang tiyahin ni Ayesah na naatasang pangalagaan ang "limbunan." Joem portrays Maguid, ang childhood crush ni Ayesah na nagbalik sa village bilang CHDF militiaman pagkalipas ng limang taong pagkawala doon.
Bilang isang writer-filmmaker mula sa South, kumusta naman ang pakikipagtrabaho niya sa mga Manila-based actors na sina Tetchie at Joem?
"Tetchie and Joem were so down to earth. Ang babait nila. Walang feeling ng intimidation sa set. They tried their best to stretch their Maguindanaon lines.
"For example, si Joem, ’yung mga Tagalog lines niya sa script, ni-request pa niyang i-rewrite ko ’yun sa Maguindanaon dialect, para daw maging in character siya.
"So, ang nangyari, ’yung simpleng six lines na Maguindanaon, naging doble kasi he insisted. And he got the pronunciation right in two tries.
"Si Tetchie naman, na-memorize niya agad ang mahahabang Maguindanaon lines after one rehearsal. Fascinating!" papuri ni Direk Teng sa kanyang actors.
Naging matulungin rin daw sina Tetchie at Joem sa mga baguhang artistang kasama sa pelikula.
"The two were also helpful in terms of making new actors comfortable during a shoot. Si Tetchie, nagbigay pa siya ng pointers kay Jea Lyka Cinco kung papaano magbigay ng right profile for the camera. Winner talaga!" dagdag nito.
SYNOPSIS. Limbunan captures the rituals of a family preparing for the wedding of seventeen-year-old Ayesah (Jea Lyka Cinco) who is betrothed to a man she barely knows. As Maguindanaon tradition dictates, she is kept from public view in her private quarters called limbunan.
As preparations for the wedding are underway, Ayesah is reunited with her childhood tutor Maguid (Joem Bascon) who returns to the village as a militiaman after five years, reawakening Ayesah’s past memory of childhood infatuation. Throughout Ayesah’s confinement, her precocious and rebellious eight-year-old sister Saripa becomes her eyes to the world beyond her room.
Her mother Amina (Mayka Lintongan) keeps her composure despite the fact that her husband sleeps with his second wife half of the time. She finds solace in the belief that it is both her religious and familial duty to be an obedient wife.
Ayesah’s aunt Farida (Tetchie Agbayani) is tasked to ensure that the young lady is prepared for the wedding. However, Farida’s dark past challenges Ayesah’s resolve finding herself choosing between love and loyalty to tradition and family.
Part ng shooting ng pelikulang ito ay ginanap sa Calinan, Davao City at sa Pikit, Cotabato—ang hometown ng dakilang ama ni Direk Teng.
Paano nga ba nagsimula ang konsepto upang gawin niya ang materyal o script ng Limbunan?
"I am a member of a Maguindanaon royal family na ang history ay mate-trace as far as the 1300s. Mula noon hanggang ngayon, ang practice ng arranged marriages between royal or prominent families ay nandiyan pa rin.
"Iba-ibang reasons ’yun, it vary from political (alliances can ensure victory in the elections), conflict resolution (two warring families may marry their children to seal a peace pact), or maintain royal lineage (families want to avoid having their children married off to people of lesser rank).
"Three years ago, kinu-convince ng mom ko ang younger sister na ikasal na. She had in mind some families that may be suitable. Pero hindi pumayag ng sister ko na magpakasal. I was in the middle of their disagreements that the story of Limbunan took shape.
"Characters in Limbunan are not entirely imagined. They are inspired by actual persons tulad ng aunts, mga pinsan, grand aunts, mga relatives, whose stories are fertile ground for inspiration."
May blog entry rin si Direk Teng sa kanyang blogsite tungkol sa royal Maguindanao wedding protocol.
Sinabi pa ni Direk na may nagtatanong raw sa kanya kung bakit kailangang isang women’s film ang kanyang first full length film, e, samantalang isa siyang lalaki?
"Many people ask me, ’Why are you doing a women’s film? You are not a woman.’ Sabi ko, ako kasi ay lumaki sa company of women, e. Ang mother ko, mga auntie ko, yaya, at mga lola.
"I gravitated towards their stories. Lagi akong nasa kitchen, tinitikman ang mga luto nila or nakikinig sa mga conversations nila.
"Limbunan in a way is not my story, but a story woven out of the narratives of the women in my life. In this film, I tried to show my own culture and tradition. Through Maguindanaon eyes. Through my own lens of memory," paliwanag ni Direk Teng.
Dinagdag pa ni Direk Teng na kailangan niyang ipaglaban para makasama sa production ang Davao-based crew members, dahil bilib siya sa talento ng mga ito.
"I firmly believe that regional filmmakers and technical people are equally talented; they just need a little exposure and encouragement.
"Bakit gusto kong Davao-based crew? Part of the reason is familiarity. Nakatrabaho ko na sila in past projects. Getting a new crew would mean adjusting to their work style and pace which may pose a problem. Plus we share the same experience.
"My filmmaking is not about getting the gloss, but rather the feel. Only my editor is Manila-based but we’ve known each other for five years."
Narito ang crew members ng Limbunan:
Director of photography - McRobert Nacario (who did a short film for Ambisyon2010)
Assistant Director - Yam Palma (had worked in Raya Martin’s Indio Nacional)
Editor - Dempster Samarista
Production Manager - Elreen Bendisula
Script Supervisor - Sharon delos Santos
Art Directors - Chico Christie Pace and Mads Alang (a Maguindanaon)
"I did the production design for the film. My formal training in film is Production Design. I took a 16mm filmmaking workshop in Mowelfund Film Institute in 1997."
DIRECTOR’S PROFILE. Ipinanganak noong kasagsagan ng giyera sa pagitan ng pamahalaan at ng Moro National Liberation Front noong 1976, si Gutierrez "Teng" Mangansakan II ay isang writer, filmmaker, at sinasabing "heritage conservationist" mula sa Pagalungan, Maguindanao.
Isang beteranong Moro filmmaker, si Direk Teng ay nakapag-produce, nagsulat, at nakapagdirek na ng maraming documentary at experimental works. Ang kanyang unang documentary short, ang House Under the Crescent Moon, ay nagwagi ng Gawad CCP para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video noong 2001.
Naging recipient rin siya ng maraming fellowships sa Pilipinas, Amerika, at Japan, kasama na ang prestihiyosong University of Iowa International Writing Program noong 2008. Naging editor rin siya ng Children of the Ever-Changing Moon (Anvil 2007), an anthology of essays ng mga batang Moro writers.
Inaasahang lalabas ngayong 2010 ang susunod niyang libro, pinamagatang Dreams of Bantugan’s Last Voyage.
Ang 6th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2010 ay itatanghal sa July 9-16, 2010 sa Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) sa Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.