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Feature Story: Christopher Gozum

Christopher Gozum was born on December 11, 1976 and raised in Bayambang, Pangasinan. His mother, Esther Quiajalvo Gozum belongs to a family of hardworking farmers while his father, Danilo Gozum comes from a family of teachers and public servants. Christopher’s parents are both public school teachers.

Christopher is a diasporic Filipino filmmaker currently working as a medical videographer and video editor in the Middle East. He came from the town of Bayambang, province of  Pangasinan in the northern Philippines.

Christopher studied B.A.Film and M.A.Theater Arts in the University of the Philippines. He is an alumni of the 2006 Asian Film Academy (AFA) fellowship program in Pusan, South Korea. Christopher received the prestigious Palanca Awards for Literature for his two full-length plays in 2001 and 2002.

Achievements and Awards

In 2007, Christopher founded his independent film company Sine Caboloan committed to producing cutting edge films about the Pangasinan province and its’ people in the homeland and in the diaspora. He passionately advocates for the preservation and promotion of the indigenous language in the province – Pangasinan. Christopher also has a growing interest on Filipino diaspora in the Middle East.

Christopher’s independent films have won major awards and received citations in the Philippines including the Cultural Center of the Philippines Award for Alternative Film and Video (2005), as well as the Digital Lokal Best Short Film (2007), the Ishmael Bernal Award for Most Outstanding Young Filipino Filmmaker (2008), the Digital Lokal Lino Brocka Grand Prize (2009) and the Best Director Award (2009), all in the Cinemanila International Film Festival. Anacbanua (The Child of the Sun) which he produced and directed, is the first feature film in the Pangasinan language.

Christopher’s digital films have been screened at international film festivals and new media art platforms in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Australia, Greece, the Czech Republic, Germany, Canada, the U.S., and the Internet.

In 2010, Christopher was featured in Philippine Online Chronicles March 2 Issue as a Bagong Bayani for advocating the preservation of Pangasinan language through filmmaking.

In 2011, Christopher received the Bagong Bayani Award from SM Global Pinoy for his contribution to Pangasinan’s arts and culture.

Christopher’s feature-length experimental film called Lawas Kan Pinabli (Forever Loved) was a finalist in Cinemanila 2011 Film Festival. The film also received generally positive reviews from known Filipino film critics. Combining fiction and documentary specifically interviews of eight Filipino migrant workers along with voice-over narration of various texts translated in the Pangasinan language – selected passages from the Holy Bible, selected poetry about exile, and selected lines from classical noh plays, Lawas Kan Pinabli creates an intimate portrait of the Filipino diaspora in the Middle East.

Christopher is also working on a new feature film called Luyag ‘Da’ra’y Anino (A Kingdom of Shadows) which will run from 2012 until 2014. He is also planning for the dvd release of Anacbanua in two years time.

Personal

Christopher married Jessan Neri on May 1, 2011.  Jessan Neri Gozum  is a teacher of Palm Springs Montessori Integrated School in Pangasinan