The independent cinema of the Pangasinan province, Philippines

Filmmaker’s Profile

Christopher Gozum is an award-winning Filipino filmmaker from Bayambang, Pangasinan. He studied B.A.Film in the University of the Philippines and he is an alumnus of the 2006 Asian Film Academy fellowship program in Busan, South Korea. He received the Palanca Awards for Literature for his two full-length English plays in 2001 and 2002.

Gozum’s films have won awards and received citations in the Philippines and abroad including the Cultural Center of the Philippines Award for Alternative Film and Video (2005), as well as the Best Short Film (2007), the Ishmael Bernal Award for Most Outstanding Young Filipino Filmmaker (2008), the Lino Brocka Grand Prize (2009) and the Best Director Award (2009), all in the Cinemanila International Film Festival. Recently, he was a recipient of the 2013 Ani ng Dangal Award for Cinema conferred by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts in the Philippines.

Anacbanua (The Child of the Sun), an experimental film about Pangasinan’s history, art, and culture which he produced, directed, and edited, is the first feature-length film in the Pangasinan language. The film received the Prix des Signes in the Cinema In Transgression section of the 10th International Festival Signes de Nuit in Paris. Anacbanua also received citations from Filipino film bloggers and film critics as one of the best Filipino films in 2009 and one of the 100 Philippine modern movie classics. His second feature film Lawas Kan Pinabli (Forever Loved), an experimental documentary about overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East, also received citations from Filipino film bloggers and film critics as one of the top ten Best Filipino Films of 2011 and 2012.

Christopher’s films have been screened at international film festivals and new media art platforms all over the Philippines, as well as in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, Singapore, Bandung, Jakarta, Busan, Jeonju, Chennai, Mumbai, Sydney, Honolulu, San Francisco, Toronto, Patras, Paris, Osnabrueck, Prague, Edinburgh, Madrid, and Kyoto.

In 2007, Gozum founded his film company Sine Caboloan committed to producing cutting edge independent films about the Pangasinan province and its’ people in the homeland and in the diaspora. He advocates for the revitalization of Pangasinan’s language and culture through cinema.

Gozum represented the Philippines in the 2nd Southeast Asian Film Lab, a script development platform  for independent filmmakers during the 26th Singapore International Film Festival in 2015. Gozum was also one of the five independent filmmakers who represented the Philippines in the Berlinale Talents 2016, an intensive educational program for emerging filmmakers all over the world during the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.  Gozum is also the recipient of the Seoul Film Commission’s 2016 Seoul Screenplay Development Support for a new Pangasinan feature film in development called Ilikdem Mo So Matam (Close Your Eyes). Gozum is also developing another Pangasinan feature film project called Luyag ‘Da’ra’y Anino  (A Kingdom of Shadows) which is a poetic film about Filipino migration in the Middle East.

Gozum’s other interests include heritage conservation in the Pangasinan province, organic farming and permaculture, Philippine medicinal plant plants and Philippine native forest trees, mountaineering, traditional dragon boat racing, and Filipino folk spirituality. Gozum is also actively involved  in natural or earthen building projects. Presently, he just finished building a pioneering 60-square meter cob or mud house structure in his hometown of Bayambang which is currently his residence and studio-office.

Gozum was an overseas Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia from 2007 to 2015. He is now based full-time in Bayambang. Gozum is married to Jessan Neri, a kindergarten teacher at a public elementary school in Bayambang and they are blessed with a three-year old daughter named Linawa Yasmin. Gozum was born on December 11, 1976.

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