3rd Philippine Science Film Festival takes off

The Philippines is joining the ASEAN Science Film Festival for the third year in a row.

Goethe Institut, together with UNESCO, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Education, and the ABS-CBN Foundation, conducted a press conference on Nov. 6 at Manila Ocean Park to introduce this year's theme, "Water for Life."

Goethe Institut Director Dr. Petra Raymond said in an interview that the film festival hopes to make science and technology exciting for kids.

"The film festival is for children and young adult to get attracted into sciences through interesting films," said Raymond.

Education + entertainment

Raymond shared that at, least in Germany, they have already developed a science-oriented culture.

"(W)e have this tradition of having science films... We have some of these experiments that are shown to the kids in TV series that the world is full of wonders and that there are scientists who can explain," said Raymond.

The Science Film Festival, which started in 2005, intends to develop a similar culture in ASEAN countries, said Raymond.

"(T)he outcome that we are looking at is that for more students to get interested in science and technology," said DOST Science Education Institute Director Filma Brawner in an interview.

"We would want really you know na continuous yung kanilang exposure to learning avenues like these," she added.

In 2011, a total of 23,000 visitors —students and the young-at-heart— viewed the films.

Raymond said she expects that the number of audience who will get a chance to see the films increase.

"I'd really love if we could top last year's number of audience," said Raymond.

"The expected outcome really is for more students will get interested, will get inspired.." Brawner said.

Improve science education status

Brawner noted that as of this moment, science culture is not that prominent in the Philippines but science education is improving.

"(T)here are certain things that explain why we have comparatively lower science culture or a comparatively lower S and T (Science and Technology) performance among our students ," said Brawner. (See related reports here and here.)

Brawner also said that indicators such as the number of applicants for S and T scholarships, performance in national achievement tests (NAT) in science and mathematics, and the country's performance in international math and science competitions, have improved.

"More recently, 'yung mga international competitions, yung IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad), yung science and math, very much improved yung performance. Ngayon, bronze medals, noon honorable mention, ganun lang," Brawner said. (See related story.)

Brawner added, "(M)akikita 'dun sa mga NAT results ng science and math. Of course hindi pa ito yung cut off na 75 percent pero nag-iincrease naman."

Watch and learn

A total of 21 films from 11 countries will be presented in nine different locations in Metro Manila, including Manila Ocean park; The National Library; Museo Pambata; the Quezon City Interactive Center; the Philippine Science Centrum; DOST; the ASEAN Center of Biodiversity; the NIDO Science Discovery Center in SM Mall of Asia; and The Mind Museum.

The films will also be shown in various public schools in Metro Manila and other provinces such as Ilocos Norte and Palawan.

"(W)e'd like to go as far as possible into the countryside," said Raymond.

The science flicks were divided into four categories but still under the theme "Water for Life." Categories include family edutainment; ecology and environment; natural science, life science and technology; and culture and history.

Some of the Filipino films that will be showcased in the festival are documentaries by students which were selected in 2012 Southeast Asian Documentary Award. These are "Sagwan (Paddle)" created by Jianne Erika Orcelada of Adamson University, "The Thirsty Eagle" by Brent Ordillano of De La Salle University, and New Era University student Ronell Tiamzon's Laguna de Bay.

Other Filipino films in the festival are Chito Roño's Ang Simula (The Beginning), Butch Perez' Birthplace, Marcelo Soriaga's Matanglawin: Pasig River Earth Day Special, and Arnold Limjoco's I Got It! series.

The ASEAN Science Film Festival will formally open on Nov. 14 in an event at The Mind Museum. — TJD, GMA News