Nine high school Filipino students visited Japan in November to participate in the Asian International Children’s Film Festival 2015.
They were Angelica Chrysta De La Torre, Maria Aitana Zarsadias, and Rafael Karl Costales of Lorma Colleges Special Science High School; Agatha Beatrice Pacis and Anna Pauline Aguinalde of International Christian Academy; Coleen Dones, Trishell Mae Canaya, and Joana Rose Nacional of Makati Science High School; and Karen Portento of Malolos Marine Fishery School and Laboratory.
Joining them were over 100 fellow students from other ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), East Timor, China, South Korea, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, and Japan.
The Philippine delegate stayed for nine days in Kitami City, Hokkaido, Japan, where festival delegates from different participating nations were exposed to traditional Japanese culture and customs.
Apart from film presentations and awarding ceremony, the itinerary included a Kitami Budokan experience and visits to the Ryu-hyo Museum, the office of the Mayor of Kitami City, the Kita no Daichi no Aquarium, and local schools.
“The Asian International Children’s Film Festival was hands down, the best experience of my life so far. I learned a lot about the culture, technology, and people of Japan. It is such a beautiful country and I really hope to visit again. I also met amazing people from different countries. They were really friendly and my eyes were opened to a world full of peace and happiness. I am truly blessed to have been a part of this program and I look forward to more opportunities like this,” says Anna Pauline Aguinalde, one of the Filipino delegates, when asked about her impression of the program.
The Philippine delegation to the program this year were composed of students who created the top three films selected among the pool of entries received by the Japan Information and Culture Center and the National Youth Commission from all over the country during the preliminary round of deliberations that took place in Manila last September. They presented their works in the final stage of the competition that was held on November 28 in Kitami Citizen’s Hall.
Now on its ninth year, the Asian International Children’s Film Festival continues to nurture artistic talents among Asian youths by serving as a common platform for creative expression—through videos and films—and bringing them together for cultural dialogues and exposure.
This year, the festival centered on the theme “What Makes Me Happy.” In the final selection, a film by students from Laos, titled “Thank You,” earned the Minister of Foreign Affairs Prize. While the Philippine team did not place in the competition this year, the members still went home happily with valuable lessons from the activities they participated in and sites they visited in Japan.
The Asian International Children’s Film Festival 2015 is organized under the Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youths 2015 Programme, which aims to promote goodwill and strengthen international relations among the youths of Asia by facilitating various cultural and academic exchanges.