Student films from the University of the East College of Fine Arts, Architecture and Design are gradually making their presence felt in the international and local film arena.
This year, “Yero” (Corrugated Galvanized Iron) won Best Short Documentary at the third 21 Islands International Short Film Festival in New York. The 13-minute documentary also competed recently at the 21st Ismailia International Film Festival for documentary and short films in Egypt and is part of the official selection of the exground filmfest 32 in Germany from November 15 to 24.
A final project for the video production class under Prof. Richard Legaspi, it reveals the harsh conditions inside a corrugated-iron recycling factory, as seen through the life of two workers, Armando Bucog and Rowil Galicia. UE CFAD Advertising Arts graduates John Lanbert Rafols, Jay Condeno and John Nico Nunag documented the daily struggle of the workers inside the hazardous environment, as they scavenge through metal scraps without safety tools or protection for themselves from persistent hazards and imminent danger.
“Yero” also vied for honors at the 30th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video or Gawad Alternatibo at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and at the 6th Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition or Nabifilmex 6 in Compostela Valley.
Meanwhile, “How the Beasts Got Hyped” by Elvin Jay Macanlalay, Bryan Marticio and Mars Sanchez was part of the official selection of the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival in India, the Kinolikbez X Documentary Film Festival in Russia, the first Philippine International Film Festival in Korea, the 17th Hyperfest International Student Film Festival in Romania, the AFFF Athens Fashion Film Festival in Greece, the Lift-Off Global Network – First time Filmmaker Sessions in the United Kingdom, and the 2019 Music Shorts Film Festival in the USA. Like “Yero,” it also competed at Nabifilmex 6 and 30th Gawad Alternatibo, among others.
The documentary, also a final project under Prof. Legaspi’s class, focuses on the daily routine of “hypebeasts” or people who are “beasts” (obsessed) about the “hype” (in fashion) and their mutual interest in street-style fashion, which provides a sense of community among its followers. Originally focused on showing the day-to-day activities of a group of eccentric kids, it has evolved to become a story that recognizes the importance of collective identity, camaraderie and solidarity in the face of animosity, or just simply rediscovering a lost freedom.
Another UE entry, the animated film “Maling Akala: Ang Misteryo ng Unamuno” by Macanlalay and Arvileen Yongzon, has been recently nominated in AnakTV’s Sinebata 2019. Produced by Piko Productions as a requirement for Prof. Ronwell Bacani’s class, the five-minute animation takes on a legendary Philippine mythical creature named Bungisngis and a mischievous child named Ron Ron, as they journey through the woods after a calamity hits their village, Unamuno. Their paths cross and they go on an adventure together.
“Maling Akala” also vied for awards at Nabifilmex, Gawad Alternatibo, the student category of Pagwanawanan Film Festival, second Manila Student Film Festival, Recoletos Film Festival, 11th Philippine Animation Festival or Animahenasyon 11, and CineKasimanwa: The Western Visayas Film Festival. It was also exhibited at the Sinehan sa Summer 2019 in New York and is one of the 20 finalists in the open category of the 6th Urduja Film Festival in Pangasinan this month.
“Yero,” “How the Beasts Got Hyped,” “Maling Akala” and “Dumbo,” another animated film project under Prof. Bacani’s class, represented UE in the first Cinestudyante Film Festival at Santolan Town Plaza from September 25 to October 1.
“Dumbo” is directed by Jonica “Nica” Aque based on the story and character design by Ariane Semana, produced by Zyon Kierulf, edited by Kim Bautista, production design by Charl Cercado Poyaoan and cinematography by Jessa Victoriano and Matthew Bautista Adolfo. A short traditional animation about a kid who unknowingly becomes depressed from feeling left out, alone and from having inattentive parents, which are too much for him to bear, it was also nominated at AnakTV’s Sinebata 2019.
Another UE student work, Rexie Robles Tamayo’s “Mga Bangkang Papel sa Sapang Delubyo” will compete in the short film category of the 26th Annual Filipino International Cine Festival or FACINE in San Francisco, California on October 26. The short film revolves around Tutoy, a naïve child with a penchant for Greek mythology, who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a tragedy and feuding siblings.