The First Reel
The First Reel is a non-profit film festival that is held every two years at Berlin’s oldest cinema, the Kino Moviemento. Aside from providing an international platform for both established and independent Filipino filmmakers, it also presents opportunities for much-needed discussions and creative events tackling pertinent issues affecting Filipinos at home and abroad.
WHY OUR FESTIVAL MATTERS
As the first ever festival of films from the Philippines in Berlin, The First Reel establishes a well-defined community for Filipino filmmakers on the global stage. It embraces both Filipino filmmakers based in the home country and those who are based in other countries.
In a sense, the festival serves as a unifying space for Filipino filmmakers of the world who continue to be bound to Filipino identity.
Moreover, The First Reel is also a venue for Filipinos in Germany to touch base with their culture as they are given the opportunity to interact with Filipino filmmakers who, like them, are part of the diaspora.
Founder and Director
Michaela Lola Abrera is a writer, editor, and visual and media anthropologist. She worked as a presenter and scriptwriter for the Living Asia Channel and served as managing editor for BBC Top Gear Philippines and Good Housekeeping Magazine Philippines. Lola has also managed a Filipino folk-punk band and produced an underground comic book.
Caught in the chaos of the Mt. Pinatubo volcanic eruption, Lola realized at the tender age of eight that life was meant to be an adventure. Covering everything from subversive rap battles to social issues, Lola’s writings have appeared in numerous print and online publications such as the Manila Bulletin, FHM Philippines and Women’s Health Philippines.
In 2016, Lola completed her MA in Visual and Media Anthropology at the Freie Universität Berlin. As a visual storyteller, she has used film and photography to relay in-depth narratives of participants and collaborators whose lives have been colored by their experiences as migrants and as survivors. Her visual work has been exhibited in Berlin, Kyoto, and Lisbon.
Lola—who has lived in the Philippines, Hawaii, and San Francisco—currently resides in Berlin with her son Lukas.
Festival Curator and Producer
Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Trinka Lat began her filmmaking journey while undertaking her bachelors degree study in Communications Arts at the Ateneo de Manila University. After graduating in 2002, she co-founded the Manila-based production company Brainchild Six --producing, writing, editing and directing commercial media content.
After taking additional studies specializing on production design at the Mowelfund Film Institute in 2003, Trinka started working as a freelance production designer and set decorator, kicking off her career by designing over 50 music videos for various well- loved Filipino bands like Sandwich, Rivermaya, Imago, Orange and Lemons. She branched out into designing TV commercials, TV Series and Filipino feature films like Happyland, and Ang Nawawala and My Lady Boss. She took on other roles in the art department as she transitioned into the German film and TV industry in 2007. With over 17 years of experience, her most current work for the industry includes set decorating the German TV series Bauhaus - Neue Zeit, the comedy TV series "Magda Macht das Schon" and the TV Soap "Alles oder Nichts".
As a filmmaker and producer, she is currently developing her first feature film and pursuing worthy collaborations. She is still based in her favourite city Berlin, exploring all kinds of adventures in sound, image and space.