By Stephen J. Pedroza
OUT of the 13 filmmakers from all over Northern Mindanao who submitted their works, “Ika-3 Putahi” by Joeromer Bacus and “Wa Ko Kakita” by Eastine Charles Taneo emerged as victors during the 6th Cinemagis Digital Short Film Festival.
Under the banner of Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts (XCCA), this year’s festival had 5 entries for the professional category and 8 student films screened at Xavier University Little Theater (XULT) and SM CDO Cinema 3 from January 24-25.
The awarding ceremony was held at SM City Event Center during its last day.
“Ika-3 Putahi (Recipe No. 3) was hailed as the Best Short Film- Professional Category and it also garnered 6 other awards: Best Art Direction, Best Story, Best Editing, Best Sound Scoring, Best Director for Joeromer Bacus and Best Actor for Rusty Quintana.
As a psycho-thriller, “Ika-3 Putahi” underscores the consequences of an unrequited affection and tells a journey to the limitation of one’s sanity.
“Lugdang” (Drowned) by Gray-em Erezo received the 2nd Best Short Film award and reaped the awards for Best Cinematography and Best Actress for Kris Gebe.
The Special Jury Award for Social Responsibility on Climate Change also went to “Lugdang” for tackling the aftermath of Typhoon Sendong.
The 3rd Best Short Film went to “Hello” by Kevin Nico Surposa from Iligan City.
“Panamilit” (Farewell) by Tat Soriano won the Best Poster.
Winners for student category
On the other hand, the Best Student Short Film went to “Wa Ko Kakita” (I Haven’t Seen It) by Eastine Charles Taneo from Liceo de Cagayan University (LdeCU). It also won 3 other awards: Best Story, Best Director for Taneo and Best Actor for Ray Anthony Vacalares.
‘Wa Ko Kakita’ is a film patterned after the legend of the pineapple but with some interesting twists and a modern appeal to the audience.
“Kaon Ta” (Let’s Eat) by Richard Mars Caberte from XU landed as the 2nd Best Student Short Film, along with the awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography and Best Editing.
Inspired from a real cannibal from Japan, Caberte’s film deals with perversion over the human flesh and the appetite-stirring horror that comes with his character’s uncanny obsession.
“The Perfect Girl” by Janine Banday from XU got the 3rd spot for the Best Student Short Film.
Jocell Sedigo won the Best Actress award for her role in “Binibining Cancer” by John Solomon Legara, also from XU.
The award for Best Trailer went to “Perla” by Angel Frances Borres from Xavier University High School (XUHS).
Lastly, Tracy June Dy of “The Perfect Girl,” Rhea Arroyo of “Panamilit” and Alger Macud of “Lugos” were the Stars of the Night.
The festival had a special screening of “Crossfire” by Davao City’s Arnel M. Mardoquio, one of Mindanao’s prized assets in the realm of independent filmmaking.
It was shown during the opening ceremony on Jan 23, 6pm at XULT.
The film underscores the complicated and grappling realities lingering the Mindanao landscape such as wars, conflict on ancestral domain claims, exploitations in the indigenous communities and corruption yet it challenges the audience to take part in the solutions to these problems.
In addition, this year’s Cinemagis featured 3 special citation pictures— “Backwash,” a Sendong aftermath documentary film by Jose Alfonso Sendaydiego, the award-winning film thesis of Glenn Mark Doromal, “Walang Katapusang Adlaw” (Infinite Sun) and a documentary film on CDO’s “Hapsay” governance, “Street Vendors” by Joi Gacayan.
Cinemagis served as the springboard for short films coming from Northern Mindanao to be screened during the 6th Cinema Rehiyon, the national film festival organized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), to be hosted by XCCA on Feb 18-22.
“Wa Ko Kakita,” “Unawa,” “The Perfect Girl,” “Kaon Ta,” “Lugdang,” “Ika-3 Putahi,” along with Butuan City’s “Diskonek” and “Ang Walay Kahumanang Adlaw” will represent the region in the event.
Cinema Rehiyon forms part of the National Arts Month (NAM) celebration in February.
In addition to giving Northern Mindanao filmmakers national exposure, Cinemagis also aimed to promote local talents, voices and culture.
To this end, the festival jurors, Dr. Steven Patrick “Tibo” Fernandez, Felimon B. Blanco and Rudolph Alama Gutierrez, together with XCCA director Hobart Savior and Davao filmmaker Oliver Bantayan, conducted a forum with the filmmakers to share some insights and tips on how to improve one’s cinematic language and aesthetics.
“What is very important is the passion to pursue filmmaking. Keep on elevating your standards and prepare yourself for criticisms because that’s the only way to improve your craft,” Dr. Fernandez said, adding that today’s generation of filmmakers must challenge the mainstream cinema.