By Seymour Barros Sanchez
FOUR short films from the Far Eastern University Department of Communication will vie in the student division of the inaugural Oriental Mindoro International Film Festival from November 15 to 17.
Trisha Marie Antonio’s “Dama” (Checkers), Angela Aguila’s and One Carlo Diaz’s “Kumari,” Juan Pablo Pineda III’s “Pua Iyam” (Coming Out) and Daryll Jameson Apaga’s “Retrospektib” (Retrospective) will contend against seven other short films from the Philippines and other countries.
“How to Get to the Cinema” by Alexey Protsenko (Russia), “Roc’h” by Guillaume Crampette and Julie Rembauville (France), “Newton’s Fourth Law” by Mehrshad Kheradmandi (Iran), “Laura” by Guilherme Franco Pinto (Brazil) and Filipino entries “Ang High School at Si Olive” by Keana Transporte from the University of the Philippines Film Institute, and “Santa Nena!” by Tim Rone Villanueva and “Ang Mga Turo ng Gabi” (The Lessons of the Night) by Christian Rae Villanueva, both from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, complete the list of short film finalists.
“Joining this contest means a lot to me since Oriental Mindoro is my Mom’s birthplace so the possibility of being given the privilege to visit the place after a decade away from it thrills me. Of course, the fact that our film has been shortlisted is another thing, more like an honor to my whole group and to the people behind it,” Antonio shared.
“Dama,” which tells the story of a father (Rolando Inocencio) who adopts a stray child (Kyle Kaizer Almenanza) to cope with his son’s death in a crisis-ridden world, earlier bagged Best Production Design and Best Actor for Inocencio at the 15th annual DLSU Indie Un-Film Festival. It also competed at the 30th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video.
Meanwhile, Diaz, who also co-wrote “Kumari” with Aguila, said that it’s a huge honor to have it shown on a bigger platform. “It’s done with so much passion and hard work, so for every opportunity it gets outside university, I’d always feel very fulfilled and proud.”
In “Kumari,” Anna (Arjelyn Apolonio) comes from a family of ballet dancers and her mother (Fe Saligumba) is her avid supporter. Caught in the middle of tradition, fear, and love, she makes the biggest choice that she will ever make in her life. The film previously competed at the 29th Gawad Alternatibo and 9th Largabista Film Festival in Tacloban, Leyte.
“Proud kami ng aking team na mapasama ang Retrospektib sa inaugural ORMIN IFF. Masaya kami sa opportunity na ito na maihayag ang aming kwento,” Apaga said. His film “Retrospektib” won at the Active Vista Short Film Competition and vied at the 29th Gawad Alternatibo and first ASEANnale Film and Multimedia Competition and Exhibition.
In the satirical film, three activists try to escape the atrocities of the military regime at the height of Martial Law. Jay (Julio Garcia) persuades Boyong (David Paul Farma) and Ramon (Renz Silverio) to travel in time with the help of a faith healer, Mang Jun (Kuya Bata). Little do they know that they are in for a big surprise when they reach the present.
Finally, in “Pua Iyam” (Coming Out), a Filipino-Chinese student (Rowi Du) discovers his true identity and feelings for his childhood friend (Raphael Cruz). It won at FEU’s Sinepiyu 2017, CineSB 7: The Main Installment, UP Piling Obrang Vidyo XIV, CineMapúa 2018 and 9th Largabista, and was cited at the first Palawan International Film Festival.
The film was also shown as part of the first CineMakulay Film Festival and the Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle, and competed at the sixth Nabunturan Indie Film Exhibition (Nabifilmex), 29th Gawad Alternatibo, 14th DLSU IUF and ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival in China.
The first ORMIN IFF, which will feature ecological, sociological, and anthropological films that are mainly focused on indigenous people and cultures, gender equality, and issues on environmental awareness, is being organized by Dr. Carl Balita Productions and the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro in cooperation with the Commission on Higher Education.
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