Some months ago I was invited to participate in a private event called “The Emman Awards” organized by Emmanuel Dela Cruz. Not only I was able to watch some great short films but also gave two Awards. Here are my two picks.
Last April my friend Emmanuel Dela Cruz, a Filipino director who teaches at the Far Eastern University in Manila, invited me to participate of the 4th Emman Awards a special event he organizes every year for the 4th year students of Mass Communication where they present their short films. This year eleven entries were presented so I decided to choose two for the Asian Film Festival Prize. The selected short films will get promotion in the website and their subtitles will be translated to Spanish so they can send their short films to different festivals. I would like to thank Emmanuel, the Directors, all the people involved in these films for letting me be part of this wonderful experience. I was amazed by their creativity and word work. Hope next year I can attend the Awards. As promised, in the following days I will give a review of each short film. So please be patient and stay tuned. – Sebastián
“No matter what society we live in we all feel the need to appear happy to others. We all learned to wear this “social mask” that hides our sadness and troubles from others. Depending on the society we all have places to take our masks off and in the Philippines, Church is one chosen by many. And what a better place to share our stories and seek comfort in each other. In the short film our main character, who is a pro in hiding his sorrows from others, will let himself open to an old lady at the Church. Only by sharing his story and letting his emotions out he will be able to forgive his past and embrace his present. This simple yet touching story performed by great actors will make you emotional for sure. The award goes to Salamat Maria by Elmarc Lim.”
Salamat Maria by Elmarc Lim – Philippines | 2017 – 11:41 min.
Kristian (Lemuel Silvestre), a 20-year old working college student, fails to make it to an outreach program as part of the National Service Training Program. Upon arrival, an angry team leader scolds him for missing the event. To make up for being late, the team leader asks him to keep an eye on Virgenia (Erlinda Villalobos), a 64-year old woman. Kristian tries to be friendly but she ignores him. As Kristian hums a familiar church tune, Virgenia suddenly stirs and heads for the church, as if she heard the song coming from it…
“Social and family pressure over young single-mothers is an issue presented in almost all societies. But in the Philippines due to its strong religious Culture it makes it even harder for young mothers to feel an embracing and supportive atmosphere. With this issue as the main theme the short film manages to create a suspense horror atmosphere from the very first minutes. As the story goes on great cinematography and excellent acting carry the audience and submerge them into this dark story that has a brief moment of hope only to end in total darkness. The 1st award goes to Dungaw by Raph Quincena.”
Dungaw by Ralph Quincena – Philippines | 2017 – 12:12 min.
One school night, a problematic nursing student named Lea (Dennise Concepcion) struggles to contain her misery at the girls restroom after class. As she tries to pull herself together, she is surprised by the presence of a professor (Trechelle Ras) in the same comfort room. She then hurries to leave but her feet were stuck in the ground as she is startled when the professor voices out and questions her deepest secret. Lea, who denyingly answered the professor’s attempts to look through her, finds herself being counseled with her despair. As Lea and the Professor leave the restroom, Lea then realized that there were more secrets in the Nursing Building’s hallowed halls than she has herself, and unexpectedly finds herself being stuck in a traumatic situation.
About the Award:
The Asian Film Festivals Prize is an award given to film/s that breaks cultural boundaries and appeal to universal emotions but still have that Filipino flavour that make them so unique. It also highlight film/s that show great potential to be presented at the international film festival scene.