AMSTERDAM – National Artist Kidlat Tahimik was honored as one of the laureates in this year's Prince Claus Awards in The Netherlands that recognizes culture visionaries.
In an exclusive interview before the awarding rites last Thursday, Kidlat Tahimik said he did not expect the honor, since fellow filmmaker Lav Diaz got the same award in 2014. He also felt he was no longer on Europe's radar.
"As I’ve told people, I don't want to be boxed as a filmmaker. I am really a jack of all trades. I do a lot of things—performances, installations. I do crazy architecture. So I am a cultural warrior on all fronts. I think that’s what the citation said," he said.
The award is presented annually by the Prince Claus Fund to individuals, groups, and organizations who made a positive impact on the development of their societies.
Kidlat Tahimik was cited for his contribution to preserving indigenous culture through film, performances, architecture and carved installations.
Prince Constantijn, honorary chair of the Prince Claus Fund, cited Kidlat Tahimik’s “whimsical art center” that “brings respect for the lives of indigenous tribes."
Kidlat Tahimik received the award wearing a g-string and took a selfie on stage using his bamboo camera. He also took off his necktie as a tribute to Prince Clause. The prince once yanked off his necktie at a fashion event in Amsterdam in 1998, calling it a "snake around my neck."
In a public performance by laureates the evening before the awarding rites, Kidlat again showed where the necktie should be used—tucked safely on his g-string.
He gave a passionate, tongue-in-cheek and humor-filled performance that mocks Hollywood films while providing a deeper look into the state of filmmaking in the Philippines.
“Culture is so important. It is an important ingredient to our progress and modernization. If we all lose that, what for is all the material gain? We need to go back to our human side,” he said.
Kidlat Tahimik said he would use his prize money to build a peace village.