Short film by Queens artist captures the tempo of NYC in transit

red line

red line

red line

The author with her father’s Hasselblad camera, a family heirloom.

The author with her father’s Hasselblad camera, a family heirloom.

By Panday Banale

I am an artist and community activist. My birth name is Mary Ann Ubaldo, although I am better known as Panday Banale, a name that was given to me, a Babaylan (a Filipina healer, spiritual leader, or community worker), depicting my ancient roots as artist and activist.

I have found affirmation in being Pinay by using the lost ancient script of our country, the Baybayin, and in the process, rousing my connectedness in the diaspora. This is my community service to my people, using art forms, such as goldsmithing, and engaging in arts activism.

I belong to an emerging group of 21th century modern Pilipinos in the diaspora. We deeply relate to our Pilipino culture and are now re-discovering and re-connecting with our country’s indigenous spirituality.

The journey to re-connect with my roots began when I moved to New York in 1985. I became part of a group of immigrants seeking their identity in a strange land.

The real quest, however, began early on in Mt. Banahaw south of Manila, a volcano considered a “holy site” because of the natural springs and the pilgrimages around them. This is where I awoke to the consciousness of Bathala (god) and Babaylan. Our tradition of guiding spirits created a path toward what is means to be Pinay, celebrating our language, our sacred traditions, storytelling, and alliance-building in our communities.

“As we wake up and are no longer defined by our former colonizers, we become conscious; we re-invent ourselves, making sense of what it is to be a Pilipino.” This is my personal statement as an artist.

My latest creative journey is exploring filmmaking.

The first and last scene of author’s film, shot in her Sunnyside neighborhood.

The first and last scene of author’s film, shot in her Sunnyside neighborhood.

Inspired by my father’s vintage cameras, there is much nostalgia in creating presence, through my film, “144 BEATS 48KHZ,” which is screening this year at the International Film Festival Manhattan.

“144 BEATS 48KHZ” is my experimental short from a class I attended, Introduction to 16mm Filmmaking on Black & White Reversal Film, at Mono No Aware. MNA is a film school in Brooklyn for artists and filmmakers. My goal was to create a 16mm short film from material I conceptualized, directed, shot and edited. I used a 1956 Swiss Bolex 16mm movie camera that was a gift to me. Analog technology is back so there is appreciation now even among young filmmakers to go analog instead of digital.

After recording the ambient sounds, I composed and played the dulcimer for my song “Folksy Urban Tracks.” The movement of the people in transit captures the synchronicity of the city. The ambient sounds and music intensify the levels of reality and give the film another feverish and emotional layer.

Come join me as we screen my first short film on October 22, 2017 from 2:25 p.m.-3:35 p.m. at the Producers Club Theaters on West 44th Street. Join me, along with other emerging artists, in raising and celebrating our connections to our indigenous roots.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

(C) 2017 The FilAm

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