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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

KALAM


GRAND PREMIERE
August 27, 2008
SM City Pampanga
FREE ADMISSION


Me keni and make way for the 1st Kapampanganovela!

To the knowledge of most Filipinos, only Manila has the capability of producing teleseryes in the country, while all other dramas must have been produced by Koreans, Americans, Japanese, Mexicans, or Chinese.

But did you know that in other regions, Pinoy TV dramas are also being produced and are even employing the use of non-Tagalog languages like Cebuano? With the cultural fervor sweeping the regions, one could only be reminded that the Philippines—amidst the institutionalized belief that this archipelago only speaks Tagalog as its language while the rest are mere “dialects”—is, indeed, a diverse country, and that its diversity is bound to extend even to the field of TV dramas.

Take for example the Kapampangans, the latest Filipino ethnolinguistic group to enter the field of teleserye production. This August, which is considered the Language Month, a Kapampangan cable channel (Infomax-8) and a creative pool of Kapampangan youth (Kalalangan Kamaru) will be launching Kálam, the first ever Kapampanganovela—the term introduced to refer to kabalen-produced TV dramas—in Philippine broadcasting history.


Combining the Contemporary and Folklore

Like other Philippine regional communities, Kapampangans possess a rich and colorful collection of folklore. Apart from the usual laman labuad (“laman lupa” for the Tagalogs), Kapampangans have a diverse world of folk healers and sorcerers.

Aside from the popular mangkukulam and mambabarang, there is the magkukusim, who can project his soul from his body to bewitch people across distances; the katulunan, who can channel the spirits of various living creatures; the uple, illusion makers; the ustuang, powerful witches that can make their bodies explode and incinerate the surroundings, and many other strange, magical characters that continuously add color to our local culture, but are sadly being forgotten and replaced by foreign monsters like the Bogeyman, Big Foot, and the Loch Ness Monster.

However, in ‘Kálam’ (a Kapampangan word for “grace” or “gift”) instead of portraying these magical characters in their conventional barrio setting, they will be portrayed in the modern, urban world, dissolving the gap between science and superstition, technology and magic, and the traditional and the modern. Imagine mangkukulam, ustuang, and mangguguna (potion chemist and charms maker) living with us in the city as seemingly normal people who dress up like us, listen to the same songs we patronize, watch the latest concerts, keep Friendster accounts, occupy seats in the government, and occupy jobs in call centers and malls.

This is the universe of ‘Kálam,’ where contemporary drama meets folkloric fantasy.

More than a TV show

The producers stress that ‘Kálam’ is more than a TV show. It is also an advocacy project seeking to promote Kapampangan culture and language to the rest of the world while showcasing and enhancing the Kapampangan’s media-related skills. They dream of the day when various ethnolinguistic groups start exchanging teleseryes with one another instead of importing shows from abroad. Such cultural exchange through broadcast media will contribute to the long overdue realization of national unity for the Filipinos.

Starring an all-Kapampangan cast and written, produced, and directed by an all-Kapampangan staff and crew, ‘Kálam’ will air weeknights at Infomax-8 in Pampanga. For people outside Pampanga, keep visiting this blog for updates.

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