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Film developed at IWP is spotlighted at Vienna International Film Festival

IOWA CITY (UNIV. OF IOWA) - Writers in residence at the University of Iowa International Writing Program (IWP) spend their time in a variety of ways: writing, researching, interacting with other writers, traveling, soaking in an American experience. For Teng Mangansakan from the Philippines, the 2008 IWP was an opportunity to develop the screenplay for "Limbunan" (The Bridal Quarter).

Two years later, the resulting film he directed will be the closing attraction in the International Critics' Week of the 67th Venice International Film Festival Sept. 1-11.

During Critics' Week, "Limbunan" will share the bill with new cinema from Sweden, France, Italy, Israel, Greece, Slovenia and Mexico. It is the first Filipino film ever featured in the lineup of Venice Critics' Week.

"Limbunan" glimpses into the life of a bride-to-be as she is kept from public view for a month prior to her wedding, as tradition dictates. The film follows the ritual motions of the women in a Muslim family after 16-year-old Ayesah's betrothal to a man she barely knows. View the trailer at's resident film reviewer Philbert Ortiz Dy wrote, "[Limbunan] is striking for its patience, and its graceful exploration of a culture that would otherwise face condemnation in the hands of a less nuanced and open filmmaker. The film is just beautiful, both visually and thematically. Mangansakan imparts a dreamlike atmosphere to even the most mundane of actions, drawing a connection between past and present, family and culture, tradition and self-actualization."

"Limbunan" will be competing for the $100,000 Luigi de Laurentiis Award, which is given to the best debut screened in all sections of the Venice International Film Festival.

Gutierrez "Teng" Mangansakan II was the first representative from the southern Philippine island of Mindanao in the IWP, the UI's unique residency program for international writers (

A native of Pagalungan in Maguindanao Province, Mangansakan has written for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Manila Times, the Philippine Star, the Manila Standard, the Manila Bulletin and Malaya, and he provides the column "This Blessed House," for a Mindanao-based news service. His poems, essays and short stories have appeared in the publications ANI 33, Banaag Diwa and Dagmay.

He has been particularly noted for his advocacy for the Moro culture of Mindanao. The label for the Moslems of Mindanao is Moro, a word derived from the Moors of Spain. "House Under the Crescent Moon" and his other documentary films about the struggles of Mindanao's population in the midst of war have been screened at international film festivals to wide acclaim, and he edited "Children of the Ever-Changing Moon," an anthology of essays by young Moro writers.

He was honored as Defender of Cultural Heritage by the 2005 edition of the Fookien Times Philippines Yearbook for his efforts in nurturing the rich tradition of his Maguindanaon ancestry.

Read his blog at And read a story about him written during the 2008 residency at

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