Monday, January 4, 2010

HAPPY (NEW) LAND! (January 04, 2010)

Not “new” literally.
But literarily.
Happyland happens to come from a Visayan word "hapilan" or garbage dump.
Yes, it is the same old relocation site in Tondo, Manila.
However, recently it has been experiencing change.
Slowly yet surely for Lola Aurelia Tuazon.
She witnessed it herself in her grandson, Mark Punay, a freshie from Tondo High, who was an introvert, perhaps, since birth.
The first and the last time we saw her apo was when he became an actor!
How come?
He was one of the barefoot football players who starred in a short presentation FutKal (Futbol sa Kalye).
Together with other “Futkaleros,” he performed during their acting workshop's culminating activity at the Museo Pambata, its project partner, that lately offers Christmas card collection designed by Robert Alejandro, Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Jo Ann Bereber-Gando, and Pepper Roxas for a cause.
It was last Jose Rizal Day and it was near, in terms of time and space, Gantimpala Theater and National Parks Development Committee's Luneta staging of Kapulungan ng mga Diyos based on El Consejos Delos Dioses, a play written in 1880 by Rizal that won first prize at Liceo Artistico de Manila.Compared to the cast and crew of Jeffrey Camañag who did the direction and libretto for the said Rizal musical, Futkaleros had to be trained from scratch by Aries Clemeno, Fredo Lazarte, and Danny Lopez in preparation for an indie film.
And the man behind it is a former print and broadcast journalist Jim Libiran.
After his first, the thriving Tribu, he is back with another, the first Filipino football film, Happyland!
Two years ago, Project Strykr was born to improve lives of young Filipinos from his birthplace Tondo.
After, gansta rappers, he is into football kids taught by Salesian missionaries for several generations from the 60s up to the present: “I wrote a 100-page screenplay about the story of poor kids picked up from the streets of Tondo and then taught a "strange" sport -- football. Eventually, through the game, the 12- to 17 year-olds learn some valuable lessons that will enable them to survive their situation and get a better chance at life.”
To this day, they are trying to raise 400,000 euro to be able to make an excellent film in the tradition of American Larry Clark's Kids (1995) or Indonesian Garin Nugroho's Leaf on a Pillow (1998) or Brazilian Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund's City of God (2002) based on the 1997 semi-autobiographical novel by Paulo Lins about a favela in Rio de Janeiro called Cidade de Dios.
But it does not stop there.
Part of a three-pronged social entrepreneurial project is turn them into world-class football players.
Why not?
One of the greatest footballers in F.C. Barcelona's history is Paulino Alcantara, who is considered the first Asian and Filipino player to play in the European league at the young age of 15 and he scored a total of 357 goals in 357 matches in his career, making him one of the greatest goal-scorers in Barcelona's history.
Twenties and thirties saw the heydays of Philippine football until after World War II when De La Salle, not a university yet then, won the most number of trophies in National Collegiate Athletic Association with 21.
One of the La Sallian star soccer players was able to turn the Fulkaleros into a fighting semi-pro team after 24 months of training with its scientific module being compiled into a football manual or football book.
The mastermind, Peter Amores of the back-to-back champion Green Archer team during the late 90s, believes that Futkal aims to bring the game right in front of them: right here, right now with a ball, two rocks that will serve as goal, and a challenge, whether your are 2,4,6,7,8 or 9 players, as long as you know how to kick the ball and run, everything else can be learned during the game.
Amores once revealed Futkal's secret: “On the mental side of Futkal, we emphasize that physical strength is not as powerful as being analytical, using the mind and making the right decisions at the right moment. We practice sportsmanship, by accepting defeat, camaraderie by thanking your challenger for the great game, and use positivism as a tool that will push us forward to the next round. Socially, we will build bridges with all walks of life. It appeals to everyone from the upper-class to the middle-class, to the lower-class and even lower, from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao to Brazil, Portugal, Argentina England, from the poorest country of the world to the richest. Because of Futkal or football in general, we will be able to build bridges with them, getting to know more about their people, culture and country, making us bigger and brighter in the map.”
These 25 or so teens will be the core group of what will one day be a real Tondo Football Club.
Recently, the first FutKal Invitational Championship was held for two days at Mall of Asia during Gawad Kalinga (GK) Expo's Power of We where Dapitan won the over other teams from Barangay BASECO (or Bataan Shipping and Engineering Company), among other GK villages. Two months ago, the legal incorporation of Futkal, Inc. became a non-profit educational organization, but their journey never ended.
At the Pusan Film Market in Korea, representatives of two different sections of the Cannes Film Festival -- Semaine de la Critique and Director's Fortnight -- expressed a possibility of a Cannes premier for Happyland.
Like them, we hope and pray you can satisfy their needs:
Foreign, and/or domestic, football teams and institutions and afficionados who may want to lend financial support, donate or invest in a socal entrepreneurial project;
Private institutions, non-profits, foundations, advertisers who may be interested in participating in the film;
Actors, artists, football players (19 under), friends, both local and abroad, who can help us connect with the right networks for funding, donation and/or lend their time, talent and support.
This month they ought to begin the soonest to beat the Cannes deadline and the World Cup season.
Well, that explains why there is no Jim Libiran in the amBisyon 2010's shortlist with other great Filipino filmmakers like Ditsi Carolino, Emmanuel Dela Cruz, Kiri Dalena, Henry Frejas, Jeffrey Jeturian, Jade Castro, Erik Matti, Brillante Mendoza, Ellen Ramos, John Red, Raymond Red, Jerrold Tarog, John Torres, and Paolo Villaluna who got a small grant from ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) to produce a four to eight minuter about their ambition for a nation in crisis.
Will his fellowship at the 49th University of the Philippines' National Writers Workshop this summer get in the way of his Futkal caravan in various communities and schools nationwide?
Meanwhile, we have to convince our president, Dinah Pacquing Nadera, and the rest of the Foundation AWIT board to prioritize direct service over capacity building as our thrust.
The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
No one can go back and make a new beginning, but anyone can start from now and make a happy ending.

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