Nov 28
THE MANY HATS OF JAMEELAH by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Thu, Nov 28, 2013

Aside from English and Filipino, she speaks Arabic, Korean and Japanese. She plays the piano, strums the guitar and can even make noise on the drums. But you just cannot make fun of her because she’s an expert in Karate, Aikido, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do.

A dynamo during her school years, she was a varsity player for volleyball and table tennis. With academics, she’s the trusted one in extempo-raneous speeches, an editor of the school organ and president of the student council.

It’s an honor to meet Jameelah Rose Valera del Prado Lineses, not personally though but only in the internet. Jameelah had wanted to enroll in the Film Academy’s Film Gym classes. But distance got in the way because Jameelah was residing in the US.

On December 29, 2010, she wrote the Film Academy of the Philippines (thru this author) that she has relatives in the Philippines and her mother is an OFW in Jeddah so accommodation and other expenses wouldn’t be a problem.

Further, Jameelah had been to the country just a month ago (November 2010) for a vacation then proceeded to Malaysia to shop for a Film School. Passion was evident in the tenor of her email, that she was eager to attend the Film Gym classes.

However, the planned trip did not materialize because the Film Gym classes were only on weekends. It would be impractical to spend several months here for the weekend classes and waste the weekdays. The temporary letdown didn’t deter Jameelah.

As per her email, “Since I was in 5th grade of elementary school I have decided and dreamed of becoming a successful film director. Until the day I graduated from high school, my ambition did not change.”

In the following year, Jameelah took up a short course on filmmaking in the New York Film Academy then followed it up with a conservatory in the same institution. With the knowledge gained, she underwent an intensive immersion to concretize her career path.

Jameelah directed a pitch for a Saudi Arabian Airline commercial and followed it up with a music video “Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin.” Another project was the short film Friendly Rivalry. Then she tried directing a documentary – The Women of Saudi Arabia.

Capping up her 2011 immersion was her direction of another documentary – The Lifestyles of the Filipino Expats In Jeddah. And another short film with the title Will You Marry Me?

Jameelah with Liz Foley, her instructor for directing actors, budgeting, and scheduling

As a sort of mastery, Jameelah not only directed films but also did production work as Gaffer, Grip, Sound Boom operator, Assistant Cameraman, Director of Photography, Sound Mixer, Pre-production Manager, Casting Greeter, Assistant Director.

The long list of experience seems not complete yet because Jameelah is also an actress. She had a role in Classy Dress, a short film made in 2011. And finally, she had also tasted the work of Line Producer and Producer as well.

Not content with filmmaking, Jameelah honed her craft by covering events as photographer, videographer and technical director. And had also tried her hand in ticketing and marketing aside from working as projector technician.

At present, Jameelah is taking up Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking in New York Film Academy. But she clarified, “I am currently on school leave because I needed to go back to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to renew my residency together with my family.”

Shot at Union Square Park in New York using borrowed equipment from Jameelah’s friend John, Will You Marry was awarded the Best Student Film of the 2013 IFFM (International Film Festival of Manhattan) in New York, USA.

The news article in Manila Bulletin issue of October 23, 2013.

“Will You Marry Me? is actually my quarter film during my filmmaking conservatory studies at NYFA,” Jameelah said that she also wrote half of the story. It’s surprising to know that her winning piece was pure visuals, didn’t have any dialogue.

The main character was played by a classmate during her conservatory studies. “I did not plan too much about what wardrobe the actors will be wearing that day except for the actress. I asked her to wear her red vest to make it a point that she’s the main character.”

Aside from directing Will You Marry Me, Jameelah did the post production chore. “I edited the film using Final Cut Pro 7. We had to screen our films twice and edit it twice.” Comments from her classmates also helped in polishing the short film.

The IFFM plaque awarded to Jameelah

“Becoming a nominee for the Best Student Film Award and actually winning the award is extremely overwhelming for me. This is my first film festival and it’s my first try submitting in one.”

Short films made in New York. Documentaries made in Saudi Arabia. How about a full length movie made in the Philippines? Not far fetched because Jameelah is related to Tetchie Agbayani, a cousin of her mother.

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