Benilde film “Kaming Mga Nakakulong” bags GEMS Best Short Film award

By  Seymour Barros Sanchez

A CAPSTONE project from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde won the Best Students’ Short Film at the Guild of Educators, Mentors, and Students (GEMS) Hiyas ng Sining awards night.

The awarding ceremony was held last March 2 at the Center for Performing Arts, DLS Santiago Zobel School, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City.

Kaming Mga Nakakulong (We Who Are Trapped), written and directed by DLS-CSB Bachelor of Arts in Digital Filmmaking graduate Michael Joshua Pagaduan, tells the story of Leonard (Matt Daclan), a man who is having recurring nightmares of a childhood memory.

Seeking help from his grandmother (Lui Manansala), he finds out the devastating truth about his dreams. He attends a support group to help him face the horrors of his past and finally have the courage to find peace. Apart from Manansala, Jill Palencia-Ibuyan also provides support to Daclan as Leonard’s girlfriend-turned-wife.

Pagaduan or MJ, as he is fondly called by his friends and family, showed interest in writing stories as early as 2007. He also acted and directed in stage plays before he honed his craft in film school. For his capstone project, he was ably supported by director of photography Jeariel Mira, production designers Jacky Collins and Isabella Caja, sound recordist Tashana Rivera, musical scorer Patricia Lasaten and editor, the late Mich Garcia.

Kaming Mga Nakakulong director MJ Pagaduan with family and BenildeFilm thesis mentor and Beyond Deadlines writer Seymour Sanchez.

MJ joined fellow film category winners Ronaldo Valdez, Natatanging Hiyas ng Sining sa Pinilakang Tabing; High Tide (Universal Harvester Incorporated), Natatanging Pelikulang Pangkalikasan; Changing Partners (Cinema One Originals), Natatanging Pelikulang Pangkasarian; Respeto (Dogzilla and Arkeofilms), Natatanging Pelikulang Pangkarapatang Pantao; Ang Larawan by Loy Arcenas (Culturtain-Musicat Productions Inc.), Best Film and Best Director (Indie); 100 Tula Para Kay Stella by Jason Paul Laxamana (Viva Films), Best Film and Best Director (Mainstream); Paulo Avelino (Ang Larawan), Best Supporting Actor; Jasmine Curtis-Smith (Siargao), Best Supporting Actress; JC Santos and Bela Padilla (100 Tula Para Kay Stella), Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively.

Through his film, MJ wants to show that “no matter how dark our past is there is still hope and that we aren’t slaves of our past, our traumatic experiences, and the lies of the world. It also hopes to show everyone that even if our earthly fathers abandoned us literally and figuratively, we still have a Father. And that Father loves us unconditionally to the point of sending His own son to die for us and freed us from the clutches of our past.”

Kaming Mga Nakakulong previously won Best Film and Best Director awards in last year’s CineMapúa student film festival organized in Mapúa by the Film Arts and Media Enthusiasts (FAME). It also won Outstanding Performance by an Actor for Daclan in the Maningning category of CineSB7: The Main Installment.

The short narrative film also competed at the SinePiyu 2017 intercollegiate category, 29th Gawad CCP Independent Film and Video Festival, 3rd Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health, 8th Pelikultura: The CALABARZON Film Festival, first ASEANnale film and multimedia competition, 9th Largabista Film Festival in Tacloban, Leyte, and was part of the Luzon delegation at Cinema Rehiyon 9.

GEMS, a non-profit group and academe-based award-giving body, is made up of academicians from different schools, professionals from private institutions and sectors of our society, and students from prestigious colleges and universities.

Headed by its president Henry Leen A. Magahis and founding president Norman Mauro A. Llaguno, the organization is on its second year of handing out trophies and certificates to their top choices in the field of print media, theater, radio, television and film.


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