A film about the weavers of Panay highlights the textile art of the Visayas

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Screenshot of the documentary film “Threaded Traditions: Textiles of Panay Island” showing the making of the “hablon” for the “patadyong”

“Your body should be in tune with your mind,” Aklan-based award-winning piña weaver Raquel Eliserio says of the weaving process as she sits at her loom. Eliserio is one of the Panay weavers featured in the beautiful 30 minute documentary film “Threaded Traditions: Textiles of Panay Island”.

The film, directed and written by Louise Isabel “Luna” Mendoza, a recent film graduate from the Film Institute of the University of the Philippines, was the subject of a special online screening on September 10 and was released. was produced by the Museum Foundation of the Philippines and Habi The Philippine Textile Council for the Kaagi Philippine Studies Conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. The executive producers are Carlo Eliserio, a textile artist from Aklanon who finds new ways to work with natural fibers, and RD Auto, a videographer based in Panay.

“The communities we have chosen are truly the most representative of the different textile traditions of Panay: piña, hablon for patadyong, and Panay Bukidnon embroidery called panubok,” explains President Habi Adelaida Lim.

Thus, beautiful visuals of the region, as well as exquisite fabrics, are presented, with the weavers themselves explaining how the design and creation of these traditional fabrics reflect their own life, environment, community and beliefs. All of this is set to haunting music.

This exquisite Filipino fabric is recognized in the Lourdes Montinola Piña weaving competition. —HABITEXTILECONCIL.PH

During the brief question-and-answer period after the screening, Mendoza revealed how she chose to get rid of a narrator, so that the artisans can tell their own stories.

It was hard enough not being able to shoot in the ancestral domain of Panay Bukidnon, forcing the creative team to use existing footage. Production lasted for three months, including filming in the midst of a pandemic.

“The three-person team – a director-writer, an executive producer, and a videographer-editor – were brought together at the end of April, and we had a series of Zoom meetings to determine the story and how it would be shot given the quarantine restrictions. , says Lim.

“Fortunately, our multitasking executive producer and videographer were both from Aklan, but our director couldn’t make it to Panay for the shoot. We only gave ourselves 10 days of filming, which spanned the month of May. Editing began the first week of June and the film was uploaded to SOAS for its premiere on June 20.

Highlight talents

There will be another screening on October 22, which will also mark the deadline for submitting entries to the 4th Lourdes Montinola Piña Weaving Competition, created by Habi to showcase the talent of traditional piña weavers. The call for applications was posted on Habi’s website and on social media platforms. (@habicouncil on Instagram, habitextilecouncil.ph) Two new prizes will also be awarded: one for an exceptional young weaver under 30, and another for innovation.

Entries will be published online and displayed in Silverlens Galleries for viewing and prior to selection of winners.

Screenshot from the documentary film “Threaded Traditions: Textiles of Panay Island” showing how the “piña” is worn

The good news is that schools and groups can request to watch “Threaded Traditions” for free; just send an email to [email protected] Habi also hopes to produce more such educational films in the future.

Habi was established in 2009, with a mission to preserve, promote and improve Filipino textiles through “education, communication and research using public and private sources”.

Maria Isabel Ongpin is president and founder of the group, which organized the annual Likhang Habi market fair every year until the pandemic. The group is delighted to witness a resurgence of interest in Filipino weavings and textiles, and continues to advocate for the rights of artisans, while cautioning against cultural sensitivity in their promotion, as well as against non-mass production. authorized and damaging false materials.

“The positive response we have received for the documentary is very encouraging,” says Lim. “We have always wanted to document weaving traditions in order to have data on the handloom industry, designs, cultural meanings, methods and techniques. We thought it would be good to present the weaving of our different cultural communities in a way that appealed to young students. We hope, wish and dream that more young people will embark on the craft of creating traditional textiles and innovating on them, because traditional textiles define our identity.

“Plus, the future is made by hand. Handicraft weaving in the country can contribute greatly to the economy, if it is properly promoted and sponsored by Filipinos, first of all.

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