By Seymour Barros Sanchez
THREE thesis film projects from the Digital Filmmaking program of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts have been officially selected as finalists to the second Viddsee Juree Philippines, which is part of the online video platform’s initiative to celebrate and support filmmakers and film communities in Asia.
The Lessons of the Night (“Ang Mga Turo ng Gabi”) by Christian Rae Villanueva, As Time Flows By (“Sa Pag-agos ng Panahon”) by Annika Yañez, and Stand Up (“Tayo”) by Ron Dulatre and Elaiza Rivera, were chosen from more than a hundred short fiction, documentary and animated films submitted to the competition.
The Lessons of the Night focuses on Juanita (Sheenly Vee Gener), a teacher battling depression, who teams up with her delinquent student (Dylan Ray Talon) to retrieve her baby. The film earlier bagged Best Editing and Best Performance at Pelikultura: The CALABARZON Film Festival and was officially selected to the Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle, the inaugural Oriental Mindoro International Film Festival and Kaohsiung Film Festival in Taiwan this year.
Meanwhile, As Time Flows By tells the story of Trish (Chase Salazar), a lesbian who is having a hard time coming to terms with her traditional Filipino father (Francis Mata). It previously won Best Feature, Best Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Actor and Best Soundtrack at the 15th De La Salle University Indie Un-Film Festival annual intercollegiate digital film competition.
In Stand Up, Reg (Karl Medina), a socially awkward comedian gets help from Alyssa (Veronica Reyes), his “special friend.” However, when he is supposed to give the performance of his life, Alyssa suddenly vanishes.
“We’re glad and overwhelmed that our film was selected to compete here,” Rivera, who was part of group behind the 2016 Sinenanay Film Festival award-winning film “Uyayi,” said. She and Dulatre teamed up with her “Uyayi” groupmate Joice Bay to work on their thesis.
“We’re happy that we can show our film to the world and we wanted it to compete immediately to see what our film could do outside of Benilde,” Dulatre shared. His other comedy short film Family Drama (“Pamilyang Drama”) recently competed at Sinepiyu.
“It’s my first time to know about this online video platform that caters to a larger audience. I’m happy Viddsee exists,” said director/writer Yañez, who partnered with cinematographer/editor Janna Lejano for her “very personal” capstone project.
“The ultimate reason why we submitted to Viddsee is because of the sweet production grant,” Yañez revealed. “Right now, it’s our only chance to bring to life another short film. It would be a dream to create and share another short story,” she added.
The Gold and Silver winners will get film production grants worth PHP160,000 and PhP80,000, respectively, plus audio equipment provided by RØDE Microphones. The Gold winner will also be offered a five-day Global Film & TV Program course in Los Angeles sponsored by the Motion Picture Association.
Similarly, Villanueva was also motivated to join because of the prizes.
“They will give a production grant for the winners, and as a young filmmaker, it’s everything for us because it’s hard to find funding for a short film,” he added.
Villanueva also wanted to share his film to a wider audience “because all films are meant to be seen. It has been a year since our pre-production stage. So, I want to give it to the world now.”
The other finalists are Ah by AJ Virtuz, Divine XY by Ruel Lozendo, Ginhawa by Christian Lat, Igme and Gani by Ma. Jhayle Ann Marie Meer, In the Name of the Father by Patrick Rodil, Susing by Bea Felix and You are the Star to My Night by Brian Spencer Reyes.
All ten finalists, which generally deal with love, relationships, morality and sexuality, will receive a 12-month Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps subscription worth US$560 each.
The top two entries will be decided by a panel of judges made up of award-winning Filipino actress Cherie Gil, acclaimed Malaysian filmmaker and writer Amir Muhammad and Tribeca Film Festival shorts programmer Ben Thompson.
Finalists and out-of-competition films can also vie for the Audience Choice Award, which will be based on the most number of ‘likes’ it receives on Viddsee.com. The winning director for this award will take home an Apple TV.
Viddsee will hold a three-day program, featuring talks and public screenings, at the DLS-CSB SDA Cinema from September 27 to 29. Winners will be announced during the awarding ceremony scheduled on September 29 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.