MANILA, Philippines – Three film majors from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde recently hauled majority of the awards at the annual Realifilm competition of [email protected], a student film organization based at Adamson University.
Award-winning filmmakers Vahn Leinard Pascual and Andre Joachim “Aki” Red led the 1-2 punch of Benilde as sophomore Caitlin Macaraig joined them in the Realifilm “Liwanag sa Dilim” winning circle. They are all taking up Bachelor of Arts in Digital Filmmaking at the DLS-CSB School of Design and Arts.
Pascual’s “Silang Mga Naligaw sa Limot” (They Who Were Lost in Oblivion) bagged the Realifilm Gold Award and Best Director prize, while “Safety Shots” of Anakpula Productions brought home the Realifilm Silver Award, Best Cinematography, and Best Actor for Red.
In addition, “Ihi sa Bote,” written and directed by Macaraig of Kiken Films, secured the Realifilm Award of Virtue, Best in Production Design, and Best Actress for her cousin Mary Grace Macaraig as Elise.
In “Silang mga Naligaw sa Limot,” a girl (Joy Romero Arsola) wakes up after a typhoon surge, recalls the disastrous event that had happened, and later sees a lifeless body lying by the seashore.
Pascual shared that they want to tell the narrative of people who were victimized by typhoons and abused by those who are in the government. “The concept just popped out in my mind when my family decided to go on a beach trip for three days. And with no screenplay and limited equipment – just a tripod, a small camera with kit lens, and my friend as an actress, we decided to make my vision happen.”
In “Safety Shots,” Red focuses on a filmmaker’s attempts to create a film out of unused takes from his previous works, at the height of a creative block brought about by the repetitiveness of pandemic living.
Red, who also acted in the film, shared that he faced a “severe creative burnout” during the pandemic. “Everything around remained just as restrictive and repetitive. Days become harder to differentiate from each other. Frustration was a primary motivator in the creation of this film; frustration from having no control of the inevitable death of passion brought about by an inefficient pandemic response.”
Meanwhile, “Ihi sa Bote” recalls Elise’s childhood trauma as she catches up with her parents and boyfriend one afternoon. As her father brings up her peculiar habit of peeing in bottles when she was younger, everyone laughs at her. However, she feels uncomfortable about it.
Macaraig hopes that matters like this would be given more attention. “This is just a step in creating a world that is far from any form of trauma and it’s about time we initiate healthier conversations. Because to feel is to be human, and no child should feel any different from anyone else,” she stressed.
Pascual was recently cited as Film Ambassador by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and awarded the Ani ng Dangal by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. This after the film got a special mention from the jury of the 14th Tbilisi Sunrise International Youth Film Festival in Georgia.
On the other hand, Red won the top prize at the 19-21 age category of the third Manila Student Film Festival for “Lilipad na si Birdie,” the Bronze Award for the same film at Realifilm in 2019, and the Best Sound Design for “Signal Notice” at the 8th Nabunturan Film Exhibition or NABIFILMEX in Davao de Oro.
Screenwriter Gilliann Ebreo and filmmakers Mike Sandejas and Joselito “Jay” Altarejos made up the jury of the Realifilm competition this year, with the theme “Go Overboard: Withstand Obstacles of Disarray.”