By Seymour Barros Sanchez
A SHORT film from the Far Eastern University earned a ticket to Hollywood after winning People’s Choice Award at the Short+Sweet Manila Gala Finals held last September 26 at the Century City Mall Events Center in Makati.
Hannah Grace Maur‘s Aswang will represent the Philippines in the international competition together with Ar-Jen Manlapig‘s Ang Unang Araw ng Pasukan, which bagged Best Film, Best Direction and Best Screenplay. The two winners will be showcased along with other selected films at the Marilyn Monroe Theater in Los Angeles, California on October 13.
Aswang, a final requirement by FEU communication students for their Cinema Production or CNM2 class, tells the story of little Ruben (Alvin Maghanoy) who believes that Lilith (Lyka Dela Cruz), the beautiful lady in their town, is an aswang. His world changes upon knowing about Lilith’s suspicious interest in his family. Rowi Du and Gaye Piccio play Ruben’s parents.
Written by Marygail Alcantara, Aswang earlier topped the fourth and last heat of Short+Sweet Manila last August. This came after the film won honorable mention at the 30th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video. It also bagged 3rd Best Film and Best Production Design at the Sinepiyu XI Golden Reel category last May.
Ang Unang Araw ng Pasukan, on the other hand, is about a 10-year-old boy from a poor family who goes to school on the first day of classes in what seems to be a very enticing day for him. The five-minute film also won the grand prize at the first Sinekabataan last year.
Or Kan Tor’s Little Thing won Best Cinematography while the Best Actor and Best Actress trophies went to Zyren Leigh Luansing of Maghihintay, Tonton (Alvin Baloloy) and Angeli Bayani of Baon (Noel Escondo), respectively.
Another FEU short film, Taya by GCay Reyes, also made it to the finals. Written by Lily Gomes, Taya is about Magda, a Filipina who comes home from Japan. Caught between her past and her present, she struggles to play around with her fate.
The other finalists are Me Too by Ayeshah Rose, Just Fine by Neil Sebastian, Mr. Whistle by Arjanmar Rebeta, Gawilan by Kelsy Lua, The Return by Luidmilla Komrakova and Pikit by Ivan Cortez.
Short+Sweet, the biggest 10-minute performing arts festival in the world with events in more than 30 cities across 12 countries, presented the event in partnership with The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute-New York, Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, Casting Network, Pineapple Lab, Asia Pacific Film Institute and Century City Makati.