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2014 Asian American International Film Festival


Directed by Joel Quizon

Asian American Titles at AAIFF'14, Documentaries at AAIFF'14 / The Philippines, USA / 2014 / Documentary / 25 mins / English, Maguindanaon, Tagalog with English subtitles / Color / East Coast Premiere


Asia Society
July 30, 2014 6:30 pm


A music-meets-cinema collaboration with composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra and director Joel Quizon, THE COTABATO SESSIONS is a documentary of the musical legacy of National Heritage artist, Danongan Kalanduyan and his family of Cotabato City in Mindanao, The Philippines.

Practitioners of the indigenous art form known as kulintang (rhythmic gong ensemble music) and the colorful dance that often accompanies it revering the Kalanduyan family as respected elders upholding the tradition. Kulintang known as a feminine instrument has a unique history of crossing Philippine Indigenous matriarchal society and Muslim cultures. The film features this legacy through the Kalanduyan’s performing art practice.

Featuring musical performances captured both for the camera and for the audio, THE COTABATO SESSIONS is a uniquely intimate music documentary in its droll and observant way. The film manages to create a poetic, celebratory work that foregrounds the practitioners of this signature Philippine art form and ponders its future in the contemporary society. The film is followed by a music and dance featuring Danongan Kalanduyan and artists of the Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble performing Taggunggo, Sagayan and Pangalay, as well as Kalanduyan joining Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez’s percussion duet, Electric Kulintang’s to perform from their new release Drum Codes.

The event is co-presented with and co-sponsored by Asia Society.

Director's Bio

Joel Quizon (Director)

Joel Quizon ( is a filmmaker, DJ, blogger and community arts organizer based in Los Angeles. He is a contributing member of Form follows Function, a collaborative media studio creating non-fiction, short format, place-based videos.

Susie Ibarra 

Composer, Percussionist + Educator
Filipina-American composer/performer and co-founder of digital music company Song of the Bird King, creates live and immersive music that explores rhythm in Indigenous practices and the natural world. Ibarra is dedicated to preserving Indigenous music and its ecology. She is a faculty member in Music and in Advancement in Public Action at Bennington College.

Danongan Kalanduyan

Philippine Master Artist and NEA National Heritage Fellow Danongan Sibay Kalanduyan is from the fishing village of Datu Piang in the Cotabato area of the Mindanao region of the southern Philippines. He began playing Maguindanaon music as a child while focusing on kulintang traditions.  He is committed to preserving and presenting his cultural traditions. Since 1989, Kalanduyan has worked as the director of the Filipino Kulintang Center of San Francisco. He also serves as an advisor to the World Kulintang Institute and Research Studies Center and is a consultant to several dance troupes. Kalanduyan is the director of the Palabuniyan Kulintang Ensemble based in San Francisco.

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Dates & Times


Asia Society
July 30, 2014 6:30 pm