The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival film highlights the harmful effects of media framing and how it shifts the perspective of people who consume information.

/ 17 November 2020

Unless you’re living on the planet’s highest alps, you would agree that the power of the media has molded society into what it is today. Every bit of information that infiltrates an individual’s mind is oftentimes the basis of how he or she would react to things. 

Media framing is described as the act of brewing information in a certain angle where truth is reconstructed to match with the perspective of the storyteller. In most cases, media framing has a positive impact most especially in the Philippines where some reporters correct and provide moral judgement on issues such as historical revisionism and fake information from the country’s most prominent officials. 

But this was not the case of actress Ruby Ruiz in her role as “Ate Iska.” Theodore Borobol’s 2019 Cinemalaya film Iska, which is coming to Netflix on Thursday this week, follows the story of an impoverished photocopy assistant at the Palma Hall of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman.

For her impeccable acting, Ruiz has just bagged a Best Actress award from the 2019 Cinemalaya Film Festival and her first international recognition at the 15th Harlem International Film Festival held in New York, just recently.

The film also won two major Cinemalaya awards–Best Sound (Immanuel Verona) and Best Screenplay (Mary Rose Colindres).

Iska, is a loving grandmother who shoulders the responsibility of taking care of her autistic grandchild and her abusive, apathetic partner. In the latter parts of the movie, Iska faced the wrath of media framing as people questioned if she ever had good intentions towards her grandchild. 

“While the film typifies the dismal state of mental health care in the country and how it marginalizes the poor even more,” Director Theodore Borobol shares. “Iska is also an ode to those who mother kids beyond their capacity and duty, armed with nothing but a sense of responsibility wrapped in love.”

The same scenario was also evident in Arden Rod Condez’ John Denver Trending, which revolves on the story of a boy whose trending video was taken out of context by social media users.Members of the media have perpetuated the agony of the boy and this led to his ultimate demise. 

In times when fake news and irresponsible information dissemination is prevalent, the films Iska and John Denver Trending remind everyone of their responsibilities in processing information. These films also remind members of the media to acknowledge the bigger responsibility they have on their shoulders.