How about a festival for digital shorts, produced and directed by students of Marikina? A cluster of Mass Comm students from the PLMar (Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina) were agog at the idea. Instantly, their reservations vanished and questions popped up in succession not unlike in a senate inquiry.
They were delighted to know that the Film Academy has a programme, especially for students like them. A hands-on workshop that would teach the participants the nitty-gritty of making a movie. Of course, it would be a short movie and digital at that. But after everything is said and done, the finished product would be shown in a festival exclusively for the workshop participants.
And how about the cost or the budget? Of course, the participants would be taught how to source out funds because that’s part of the producer’s duties. The students couldn’t imagine themselves producing, directing and even acting in their own movie.
But the enchantment and imaginings were aborted when the informal interview ended because the seminar was about to start. Hosted by the Social Welfare department of Marikina City, the free seminar was conducted by the Cinemanila group of film director Tikoy Aguiluz.
Ms. Sarte and Tikoy Aguiluz joining the audience
Ms. Nadeia Sarte, the amiable chief of Marikina’s Social Welfare, opened up by thanking the 157 participants for coming on a short notice. The attendees were mostly students of PLMar but there were 2 from PIA (Philippine Information Agency), 1 from the Film Academy, 2 Production Designers, several professionals from the private sector and some students from other colleges like PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines). Applause broke out when Ms. Sarte emphasized her dream of seeing the student participants making and showing their own movie.
A former producer herself, of Chikiting Patrol in ABC-5, the DSWD chief admired the technology that the youth is savoring now. She was happy to note that Mayor Marides Fernando is giving her full support to projects for the development of the Marikina’s youth.
For Cinemanila’s part, Direk Tikoy Aguiluz professed their commitments to the City. After the 2-day seminar, there’s a 3-day film showing at the Riverpark (located at Riverbanks, Marikina City). He said that they wanted to enjoin the youth in movie-making and that they also desire to bring the movies to the grassroots hence they call it Barangayan.
The first part of the seminar was the screening of Lucky Miles, a foreign film shot in Australia. It’s the story of illegal aliens entering Australia in search of greener pasture – a Vietnamese, an Iraqi, an Indonesian and some other foreign characters. It’s heartening to note that the young audience could relate to the message of the story despite it being a cultural movie.
The youthful audience
The afternoon session was occupied by noted director Raymond Red whose topic was directing. However, instead of the function of a director, Raymond expounded more on the camera’s role in movie-making.
At the end of the first day, the students approached me and eagerly asked if the Film Academy workshop would push through, where and when. That workshop, I explained, is still in the air because the Film Academy still has to submit a formal proposal to the city of Marikina. To that, the students asked if I would be needing signatures for that.
Unlike in the olden days when students were passive, the youth are now pro-active, so similar to the advancement of technology. But the nice thing to hear is their enthusiasm in making a movie. So I related the Cinemadali contest of NCCA (National Commission for Culture and the Arts) where even cell phones videos were permitted to join.
The second day opener was again film showing followed by the tandem of directors Lav Diaz and Raya Martin in the afternoon session. Incidentally, Lav is a Marikina resident. It was apparent that the speakers arrived with no clear agenda since they issued a declaration that the discussion would just depend on the questions of the audience. And since no one in the audience had a question so a short film by Stan Brokhage was shown. It was a 24-minute abstract overflowing with movements and miming.
It was funny to hear a side comment that the session was more of a press con because the speakers, Lav and Raya, seemed to be enjoying in retelling their movies. Ironically, no one in the audience had watched any of their movies. The supposed topic was filmmaking and scriptwriting but the speakers admitted that they do not rely on scripts when making a movie. Raya Martin even said that he had not written a full script because it seemed to him that it was only a waste of time.
Maylene Villalon holding the mic, Macki Galvez adjusting the camera
The disappointments of the audience, however, ended in the last session when Macki Galvez and Maylene Villalon of Scenema Concept arrived. Cinematography and editing are technical topics, not really for enjoyment but the youth’s vivacity showed. The Scenema guys came fully prepared with their camera and 3 klieg lights. With the help of a subject (a student), Macki demonstrated the power of lighting as to set the so-called definition of a profile angle. He also showed that the lighting actually sets the mood like in a horror setting or in a happy scene.
For the first salvo of Barangayan, Camera Obscura of Raymond Red would be shown. It will be an outdoor screening at the Riverpark. Red’s short film has Ely Buendia and Marcus Adoro in the cast. Ely and Marcus would be present in the screening.
Short films of the Cinemanila will take center stage on the second night of Barangayan. And on the last night, short by Ralston Jover and James Amparo would be shown.
Another thing that Direk Tikoy Aguiluz committed to the participants was the understudy course where they will select 30 participants. With the logistics provided by the Cinemanila group for free, the lucky participants will learn how to direct, how to handle the camera and even learn editing chores.
And as for the Marikina Cinemaigsi Festival, that’s another story because that activity is the brainchild of the Film Academy of the Philippines.
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