By Seymour Barros Sanchez
THREE short films made by digital filmmaking students and recent graduates of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) School of Design and Arts were selected as finalists to the Cinemalaya Nespresso Vertical Shorts Competition.
“iTay” by Gian Arre, “Kasama” by Ira Lastrilla and “Pedro Pasahero” by Paulito Del Mundo Parohinog are among the entries created using a mobile phone, with a maximum length of three minutes only and in a vertical format (9:16) which will vie for awards in the film competition organized by Novateur Coffee Concepts, Inc., CCP and Cinemalaya Foundation.
This year’s theme is “pagmamalasakit” or empathy, a value most honored by Filipinos.
The grand prize winner will receive PhP50,000 cash. The second and third placers will get PhP30,000 and PhP20,000, respectively.
All of them will also take home state-of-the-art Nespresso machines and coffee capsule packages. Winners will be announced during the Cinemalaya Awards Night on August 12.
A tribute to fathers and children, “iTay” follows a lonesome young woman who becomes overwhelmed with attention when a father learns how to use a new phone as a means to be a parent in this age. The film explores how some parents find their purpose in taking care of their children and how they may feel stripped of this purpose when they lose their family.
“Kasama” tells the story of Rica, played by BenildeFilm alumna Beatrice Ramos, who has just lost her job. On her commute home, she recalls the moments in her life when friends and family lifted her out of her sorrows.
She tries to figure out the reasons behind their actions until a chance encounter gives her a clue. Apart from Ramos, Lastrilla also got the support of fellow Benilde film alumni, co-writer Remil Baylon, cinematographer Jaig de Guzman and co-producer Rachel Esperon.
Meanwhile, “Pedro Pasahero” is about a breadwinner who faces the pressures of providing for his mother and little sister. When he decides to rob a utility vehicle, each passenger reminds him of what he is truly taking away from them. Aside from Molina, also helping Parohinog is recent BenildeFilm graduate Yves Publico.
Completing the list of finalists are “Ratsky” by Ruby Rosa Baldevarona, “The Door” by James Edward Golla, “Takipsilim” by Benny Yunsay Pioquinto, “Love Others As You Love Your Selfie” by Arjanmar Rebeta, “SLN” by Brian Spencer Reyes, “Ako” by Jonel Revistual, “Kapit Lang” by Christian Borras Tan, “Braveheart” by Kevin Tuason and “Yakap” by Michael Sy Yu.
The competing entries will be shown at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde (CCP Dream Theater) on August 11, 10 a.m. There will be a talkback forum after the film screenings to give the audience a chance to ask questions on aspects of film production. Moreover, it will also serve as an opportunity for members of the production team to interact with the viewers.
Serving as a challenge to young filmmakers to share their stories through vertical video, the contest also celebrates innovation, passion, and excellence in film making.