Elsewhere Cinema Club is dedicated to films by & about women & queer folk in Southeast Asia.

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In October, we presented 'Pailaya, Pailawod', a double-bill screening of short films by Filipino traveller-filmmaker Aiess Alonso. This program is curated by Patrick Campos (University of the Philippines Film Institute) and features an online Q&A with Aiess.

Programmer's Note:

In certain languages in the Philippine archipelago, ilawod connotes water and ilaya, land. Thus, pailaya means to cross the sea’s edge toward the shore, move inland into the forest, or climb up the mountain, while pailawod means to follow the current down the river, submit to the whims of the waves, or set out into the oceans. One speaks of striving, the other of surrender. Though they refer to opposite inclinations, one defines the other in a dialectic of resistance and inevitability, the swing between negation and renewal.

Water and its relation to land, or vice versa, figure centrally in the two short films by Cebu-raised and now Mexico-based Filipina artist and sojourner Aiess Alonso. Katapusang Labok (Last Strike, 2012) and Habitat (completed in 2015 but previously unreleased) explore these two movements—pailaya and pailawod, outward and inward, push and pull, promise and warning—captured in the drama of wrestling with the willful self, the violence attendant on social transformation, and the catastrophe of human avarice in the face of nature. On the one hand, pailaya: the desire for unquestionable stability that paradoxically leads to a divided self and an inhospitable social order. On the other hand, pailawod: the need to escape, to discover one’s deepest reality unburdened, birthing dreams of drifting toward home instead of a disaster. One speaks of struggling, the other of flowing. Though they appear contradictory, both films meditate on their necessity and inseparability.

Read more about the films and the guest speakers below.

The Films: Katapusang Labok (Last Strike) & Habitat

Katapusang Labok (Last Strike, 2012, 20 mins)

In a rural seaside town located north of Cebu, fisher folks face the harsh reality of environmental conditions caused by human abuse. Randy, a fisherman, leaves the sea and turns to religion and cockfighting for a lifeline. Then, a fellow fisherman invites him to join the fight against coral harvesting. Randy is caught between his personal devotion and the struggle of the fisherfolk.

The film was screened in over ten local, national, and international film festivals, including the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and the Cannes Film Festival.

Habitat (2015, 15 mins)

Residents of Isla Esperanza are forced to evacuate to the mainland as a storm looms over their cluster of islands. Alone and out of his element, an evacuee finds himself in the momentary care of a stranger. However, eager to return to his island home, he braves the expanse on his own and heads out to sea, unaware that his future is vanished by the rising tides.

The film is presented to an international audience for the first time through Elsewhere Cinema Club.

The Filmmaker: Aiess Alonso

An alumna of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, a directing fellow of the Asian Film Academy at the Busan International Film Festival, a member of EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs), and a participant at the Cannes Producers Network, Aiess Alonso is a director, producer, and colorist and a digital artist.

Her travels have led her to forge friendships and contribute to emergent film industries. Moving from the Philippines to Nepal and then to Myanmar, her projects have been presented in various film festivals, project markets, and ateliers such as La Fabrique - Les cinémas du monde at the Cannes Film Festival, Produire au sud in Festival des 3 Continents, Open Doors in Locarno Film Festival, and Southeast Asian Film Lab at the Singapore International Film Festival. From 2014 to 2016, Alonso co-pioneered and curated the Asian Shorts section of the Binisaya Film Festival in the Philippines.

After living in Myanmar for half a decade, producing and coloring audiovisual projects for cinema as well as creative agencies, development agencies, and humanitarian organizations, you can now find her in the web3 ecosystem and cooking from her kitchen in Mexico.

The Programmer: Patrick F. Campos

Patrick F. Campos is a Filipino film scholar, programmer, and associate professor at the University of the Philippines Film Institute and a member of NETPAC. He has programmed, juried, or served as a selection committee member for Guanajuato International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, QCinema International Film Festival, Jogja-NETPAC Asian Film Festival, Image Forum, Asian Film Archive, Minikino, SeaShorts, Association for Southeast Asian Cinema, Cinema One Originals, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, Cinema Rehiyon, and Gawad Urian. Currently, he edits Pelikula: A Journal of Philippine Cinema and curates the annual TINGIN Southeast Asian Film Festival in Manila.

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⚡ Support our work

In Southeast Asia, there are many, many films centering women and queer folk. Often, these are made independently by fiercely passionate filmmakers who operate without the financial backing of production companies or guarantees of commercial distribution. Our film club focuses on these stories and their storytellers.

If you like what we do, please consider making a contribution via Ko-fi. Your contributions will go directly to

  1. paying featured filmmakers/speakers for their time and access to their films,

  2. providing small honorariums for the four co-organizers' time in programming and organising screenings and Q&As, and

  3. the costs of keeping the lights on at our film club.

🎟️ Recommend a film

Have a film you want to see or something you’ve always wanted to ask a filmmaker?

We welcome your recommendations for films and filmmakers that focus on stories by and about women and queer folk in Southeast Asia. Email us anytime!

👋 About us

Elsewhere Cinema Club is run by four friends, Griselda & Erika from Indonesia, Kei from the Philippines, & Phoebe from Singapore.