pop goes the world: rizal films in filipino sign language

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today, 7 July 2011, Thursday

Rizal Films in Filipino Sign Language

Did you know that films are being made in Filipino Sign Language (FSL)?

The development of FSL has its roots in American Sign Language and Signing Exact English. Among the filmmakers who have used FSL in their works is Mirana Medina, who advocates for autism and deafness causes. She studied FSL at the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies.

I “met” her via my column about Jose Rizal’s 150th birth anniversary last month, after she had emailed me her comments. Her interest in Rizal stems from her having been the researcher and film editor of “Rizal sa Dapitan”, a film produced more than ten years ago. Combining this interest and her advocacies, she produced a Rizal-themed film in FSL – “Mi Ultimo Adios”, which was launched last June 21 at DLS-CSB.

Mirana says: “Mi Ultimo Adios” in FSL is the first real translation or interpretation of Rizal’s poems in FSL. It wasn’t a literal interpretation at all. It was poetic in treatment. [University of the Philippines professor and poet] Vim [Nadera] helped us out [with that].

“I know deaf people who are capable of expressing themselves beyond the “usual” signing, [so] I made it a point that sessions between a hearing poet – Vim – and my deaf FSL consultant Raphy Domingo were arranged. We were lucky that Dr. Marie Therese Bustos of UP Special Education Area [an authority on FSL] helped us…the time we met to hold a deaf audition, she was there to interpret.”

To view the film trailer, search for “Mi Ultimo Adios in FSL” on Youtube.com.

Mirana plans to produce four other Rizal-themed films in FSL – she says these are “”La Juventud Filipina”, which has already been shot but needs additional images; “A Las Flores de Heidelberg”; “Canto de Maria Clara”; and the [other] one will [be called] either “ Mi Primera Inspiracion” or “Mi Piden Versos”.”

July being National Disability Month, arrangements are being made to screen “Mi UItimo Adios” in Mandaluyong City on the 22nd. On the 16th, her film on autism – “Alyana” – will be shown at the Benitez Theater in UP-Diliman.

Mirana is now busy editing the film “Asiong Salonga”, directed by Tikoy Aguiluz.

To learn more about Mirana and her advocacies, visit her blog at advocacine.wordpress.com.

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Jose Rizal’s novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, in the English translation by Harold Augenbraum and published by Penguin Classics, are now available at Fully Booked. I picked up what the salesclerks told me was the last copy of the Noli last weekend, but there are still many copies of the Fili left.

The books are also available in a Kindle edition at Amazon.com for $11.99 each. No affiliation with either merchant, I just wanted to let fellow Rizal-philes know about this particular translation.

The only other English translation I’ve read is Leon Maria Guerrero’s, which is fantastic, and iconic to generations of students. I’ve read several chapters of the Augenbraum, and so far I’m happy.

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I received several questions in response to my column last week on e-book publishing. Here’s more on the matter from Flipside Digital Content chief executive officer Anthony de Luna, on the origins and services of Flipside:

“Incessant prodding from authors in the academic and trade publishing communities made us decide early in the year to remove local barriers to the newly-paved e-book avenue that leads to international distribution and readership. Having serviced only foreign clients as a business process outsourcing company specializing in the publishing vertical in our 12 years of operations in various configurations, Flipside reluctantly offered e-publishing on the digital rights management-secure and economically viable platforms of Amazon Kindle, iBooks (iPad), and Barnes & Noble Nook to local authors and publishers.

“Flipside’s goals going in were first, to educate, and second, to enable those who would like to take advantage of technology’s contribution to solving the insurmountable international distribution challenge for Filipino content. It was a pleasant surprise to find a few local companies that already had their feet wet in e-ink–Vee Press of Vibal Foundation for general publishing, Bronze Age Media for comic books, and Salt & Light Ventures for the Christian publishing community.“

Can authors publish DRM-secure books on their own?

“Yes,” says Anthony, “Amazon has Kindle Direct Publishing, Apple has iTunes Connect, and B&N has PubIt! Whether you are an author with one essay or a publisher with a 2,000-title backlist, stop reading now, leave Facebook for a few minutes and sign up with them.”

Do you approach publishers or authors?

“We approach publishers first in an effort to achieve the information waterfall-and-echo effect. We let them know that they can expand distribution and increase revenue from their frontlist (active titles), and bring their backlist (out of print, out of distribution titles) back from the revenue grave without cost.

“We approach individual authors of note, as part of our goal to educate, to generate interest from and stimulate fact-finding by the publisher and author communities at large. In addition, we also reach out to deserving self-published and unpublished authors. Unsolicited submissions are subject to review for editorial quality and international commercial or academic value.”

Anthony answers other questions on the “Flipside Digital Content” Page on Facebook, which you can visit to find out more.

E-books are the present and the future of book publishing. Through this channel, Jose Rizal’s works from the late 1800s are made accessible to a new generation of Filipinos and to the rest of the world. This should give encouragement to local authors who have despaired of getting published the traditional, ink-and-paper, way. ***

Image of Mirana Medina here. Slide of Mi Ultimo Adios here

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