Josel Fajardo‘s Caterwaul and Ralph Quincena‘s Dungaw (Look Through) are among the ten short films competing for the Gold and Silver Prizes of the Viddsee Juree Awards on November 25 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.
Fajardo and Quincena worked with their fellow communication students at the Far Eastern University in completing their films. They are also both part of the FEU Film Society.
In Caterwaul, deep secrets come to light at a girls’ sleepover. While watching an R-rated movie, a girl (Andrei Eunice Osano) shares her first sexual experience and re-enacts it to a friend (Quennie Abuyuan), who does not know that she’s in for a dark revelation.
Fajardo was inspired by a story he heard from his friend about a female colleague who went missing and got found later. He revealed that he felt uncomfortable making the film at first, as a man writing about a female character’s perspective on a delicate subject. “I struggled to find a way to solve this and all came out smoothly when I collaborated with my friend, Jennifer Leoncio, in writing the script, which gave a female’s perspective in telling the story.”
He also shared a problem he encountered during the shoot. “I had reservations in using male gaze in the language of cinematography and consulted my team first in pre-production. We came to the conclusion that it is was necessary evil to amplify the level of eroticism of the film and also provides the audience a peep-hole to the story of the characters,” he explained.
Meanwhile, in Dungaw, a problematic nursing student (Dennise Concepcion) finds unexpected comfort in a school toilet with the presence of a professor (Trechelle Ras). However, there’s more than meets the eye in the dramatic thriller as the student realizes that there are more secrets in the Nursing Building’s hallowed halls than she has herself.
Dungaw earlier won the Short+Sweet Film Festival Audience Choice Award and Best Actress for Concepcion, the 2017 Ateneo Video Open 2nd Best Film, Best Editing and another Best Actress award for Concepcion, and 3rd Best Film, Audience Choice Award, Best Cinematography and Best Editing at the SinePiyu 2017 Black Reel Category, among others.
Quincena and producer Zheina David made the film to communicate the horrors and pressures of teenage pregnancy while incorporating a much-talked-about story in FEU. The director was also inspired by his aunt who suffered the same fate as one of the characters. “This film aims to raise awareness to the helplessness women feel when caught up with a situation where there is only one escape,” he said.
The other finalists are Christian Candelaria‘s Gawad CCP Best Short Film and Indie Un-Film Festival grand prize winner Sa Saíyang Islá (In His Island), Glenn Barit‘s Cinemalaya NETPAC Jury Prize and Sinag Maynila Best Short Film winner Aliens Ata (Maybe Aliens), Marvin Cabangunay‘s and Jaynus Olaivar‘s CMMA Best Short Film Nakauwi Na (Home), Christian Lat‘s Ottawa Digital Film Festival and International Film Festival Manhattan winner Redlights, Tashana Rivera‘s Kaulayaw (Companion), Rogin Losa‘s Lovely is Off Air, Chloe Veloso‘s Inahan sa Kanunayng Panabang (Mother Of Perpetual Help) and Nathan Bringuer‘s Tirador (Slingshot).
The competing films by upcoming talents from FEU, University of the Philippines, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Meridian International College and International Academy of Film and Television can be viewed online at Viddsee.com.
The top two entries will win production equipment including a Blackmagic URSA Mini 4.6K Digital Cinema Camera EF (Gold Award) and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel (Silver Award), LaCie Porsche Mobile drive 2TB (Gold) and LaCie Portable Drive 1TB Apple exclusive model (Silver), a one-year Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, RØDE microphones and audio accessories, and a five-day Film Immersion Course in Los Angeles, California from the Motion Picture Association.
Each film shortlisted for the competition will be judged by an international panel of jury composed of Loïc Valceschini, festival programmer of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival and Locarno’s Semaine de la Critique or Critics’ Week, Vietnamese film producer and Yxine Film Festival founder Marcus Manh, and Filipino filmmaker and writer Antoinette Jadaone, who is known for directing That Thing Called Tadhana, Love You to the Stars and Back and Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay, just to name a few.
The Viddsee Juree program will start off with talks and film screenings at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde on November 24. There will also be workshops, talks and screenings of the ten finalists together with a Q&A session with the filmmakers on November 25 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila before culminating with the awarding ceremonies on the same day and in the same venue at 6 p.m. The finalists and out of competition films will also be screened at Cinematheque on the following day. All these are free and open to the public.
Viddsee Juree Awards, which is part of the online entertainment and technology platform’s commitment to celebrate and support filmmakers and film communities in Asia, is held to celebrate the jury’s picks of Asian short films from all genres: fiction, documentary and animation. The initiative is supported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
The Juree aims to bridge the gap between digital filmmaking and distribution by working closely with local film communities as the Filipino audience grows and the network of creative content producers from the Philippines expands.