Benilde film Suerte tries its luck in Singapore

The Suerte team

AFTER competing in the Wide Angle category of the Busan International Film Festival last October, Carlo Fajarda’s short film Suerte will vie for awards next in the Southeast Asian short film competition of the 28th Singapore International Film Festival.

Suerte, which means luck in Filipino and was used as a name of a street in the film, follows two amateur filmmakers (played by Fajarda himself and the film’s director of photography and editor Phillipe Quintos) shooting a documentary about the drug trade. While they go along with their subjects, brothers Betong (Karl Medina) and Roel (Dan Medrana), they slowly get involved until the point of no return. As the night wears on, their dangerous obsession with their project forces them to cross the line between observer and creator.

Fajarda’s thesis film at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde joins three other Filipino films competing for the Silver Screen Awards in the festival. They are Carlo Francisco Manatad’s Jodilerks Dela Cruz, Employee of the Month, Margarita Mina’s Puppy Love and Andrew Stephen Lee’s The Sound of Coins Hitting Brass.

The film festival, which will run from Nov. 23 to December 3, will feature over 100 films from 42 countries. It is the longest-running and leading international film platform in Southeast Asia for independent cinema. Also part of the Philippine contingent in the official selection are Salvage: Malay Wild by Sherad Anthony Sanchez, The One Armed Executioner by Bobby A. Suarez and In the Claws of A Century Wanting by Jewel Maranan.

Founded in 1987, the festival focuses on independent films, particularly those from Asia. The Silver Screen Awards is divided into the Asian feature film competition and the Southeast Asian short film competition.

The awards night will be held at the Grand Theatre of Marina Bay Sands on December 2.

Aside from Marina Bay Sands, the various venues for the SGIFF include Shaw Theatres Lido, the National Museum of Singapore, National Gallery Singapore, The Arts House, Filmgarde Bugis+, Objectifs and *SCAPE.

Fajarda, who earlier made history by being the first Benildean whose film competed in Busan, explained that it is very close to him. “The characters in the film are based on real life, and the story is based on what’s happening everyday here in our country right now.”

Suerte producers Bianca Balbuena and Bradley Liew were the ones who submitted Fajarda’s work in various film festivals abroad.

Suerte is also currently being shown as part of the short films in exhibition at the Cinema One Originals film festival.

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