The short film Caretaker, directed by advocacy filmmaker Seymour Barros Sanchez and produced by Red Room Media Productions, recently won second place in the short fiction category of the sixth CAM International Festival for Short Films in Cairo, Egypt.
The film, which is co-written by Kristine Camille Sulit and Sanchez, tells the story of a newly hired custodian of a vacation house who finds the gruesome conclusion of a fraternity’s initiation rites too much to handle. Rolando Inocencio plays the title role with John Paul Duray, Raymond Rinoza, Jomari Angeles, Luis Ruiz, Ryan Sy, Vince Rillon, Ron Nacianceno and other actors from the Brillante Mendoza Film Workshop providing support.
The film festival, organized annually by the Egyptian Arab Society for Culture, Media and Arts, aims to promote cinema as a means of combating ignorance, terrorism and poverty.
Plankton by Russian filmmaker Giovana Olmos edged Caretaker for the top prize in the short fiction category while Jasmenco by Syrian director Wathec Salman placed third. The Daughters of Mother India by Indian filmmaker Vibha Bakshi topped the documentary category while Sintel by American animator Colin Levy, Bear Story by Gabriel Osorio Vargas of Chile and Empsillnes by Jakub Grygier of Poland led the entries in the animation category. The comedic film Ave Maria by British-Palestinian director Basil Khalil bagged the Jury Prize. Meanwhile, Morocco’s entry Houkak directed by Younes Yousfi was hailed Best Arabic Film.
Arab Film TV School director and cinematographer Dr. Mona El Sabban headed the CAM film festival jury comprised of members Dr. Nagwa Mahrous and actress Nada Bassiouny from Egypt, film critic Yusuf Shayeb from Palestine and Dr. Bou Shoaib El Masoudi from Morocco.
Jahzeel Abihail Cruz, Third Secretary and Vice Consul of the Embassy of the Philippines in Cairo, received the second prize trophy and certificate from CAM film festival director and chairman Alaa Nasr on behalf of the Caretaker team during the awarding ceremonies last October 13.
Caretaker has also been selected as one of the ten finalists in the Active Vista International Human Rights Film Festival short film competition currently being organized by the DAKILA artist collective. The film previously won the Golden Philippine Eagle award and Best Actor trophy for Inocencio at the third Singkuwento International Film Festival co-organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts last February. It was also shown at the 22nd annual Filipino International Cine Festival (FACINE) at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco, California and the International Film Festival Manhattan at the Producers Club in New York City.
Sanchez is a lecturer at the Digital Filmmaking department of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts, the Department of Communication of Far Eastern University and the Arts and Education program of the College of the Holy Spirit-Manila. He also currently serves as adviser of the FEU Film Society. Apart from graduating from Mendoza’s first directing class, he is also a graduate of Ricky Lee’s 14th scriptwriting workshop and a member of Writers Studio. He previously worked as a producer for CNN Philippines, Solar News channel and TV5.