By Raymund Antonio
Filipino filmmakers may take another shot at the top prize for short films in next year’s Istorya ng Pag-asa (Stories of Hope) Film Festival to be organized by the Office of the Vice President.
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo announced her office and its partners will hold the third short film competition in 2020.
“Dapat sana, ano lang siya, in celebration of our one-year anniversary. Pero last year, nakita namin iyong wealth of stories saka iyong quality of entries, nag-decide na kami na gawin na siyang yearly thing,” she said.
(It was supposedly meant in celebration of our one-year anniversary. But last year, we saw the wealth of stories and the quality of entries, so we decided to make it a yearly thing.)
“We got commitments already from all our partners that they are willing to become partners next year,” Robredo added.
The film festival, which seeks to promote positive and inspiring real-life stories of Filipinos, is an initiative of the OVP, in partnership with Ayala Foundation and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
Her announcement came after the gala night and awarding ceremony of the INPFF 2019 held Saturday night at the Ayala Trinoma Cinema 7 in Quezon City.
The short films, titled “Ka Dodoy” by Mark Vincent Aposaga and co-director, Meg Serranilla, “Maglabay Ra in Sakit” by Mijan Jumalon, and “Litratista” by Allan Lazaro were chosen as the top three winners.
All three films will also be shown in Ayala Mall Cinemas nationwide from June to October of this year.
Aposaga and Serranilla took home a cash prize of P80,000, as well as P10,000 for Best Cinematography and P10,000 for the Community Development Award from Ayala Foundation.
“Ka Dodoy” tells the story of Roberto “Dodoy” Ballon, chairman of the Kapunungan sa mga Gagmay ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, who was instrumental in leading his village to saving their fish stock, amid the dangers of overfishing and neglect of marine resources.
“They came together as a community, they worked together to replant those trees and then, when the fishing population of their barangay came back, they replanted hectares of mangrove trees to protect their area. They decided among themselves that they should work together and not just rely on their government to help them,” Aposaga said.
Coming in as first runner-up, with a P50,000 cash prize, was the short film “Maglabay Ra In Sakit,” which is about Khalid Hamid, known as RKJun, a young Tausug rap artist who strives to pursue his music, despite losing his earlier works and the chance to finally record his own album due to the Zamboanga siege.
Lazaro won P30,000 for his film’s second runner-up finish. “Litratista” tells the story of of Nanay Fely Samonte, a widow who provided for her children by working as a photographer for public schools around Metro Manila. He also won P10,000 for Best Director.
“Yapak” by Romel Mondragon Lozada won the People’s Choice Award. The film was about the life of Rodrigo and Robinson Rada, two blind brothers from Sarangani Province who provide for themselves by harvesting and dehusking coconuts.
The OVP conferred a Special Recognition Award and gave P10,000 to “Modern Day Hero” by Roy Robert Rusiana, which tells the story of SPO4 Bill Felisan, a former street child who found his purpose as a police officer in Cebu City.
“I see defiant hope in all these narratives… I pray that these films will teach us to be a bit kinder, a bit more empowered and empowering, and a bit more inspired—because our every action and our every work can bring a little bit of hope to those around us,” Robredo said.