PUP Sta. Mesa students win MMFF 2019 top prize for short film

John Philip Bravo
PUP Sta. Mesa students win MMFF 2019 top prize for short film
'Pamana ni Lola' tells the story of Alissa, a teenager who is slowly discovering what it means to grow up in their household

MANILA, Philippines – Pamana ni Lola, a 5-minute short film directed by students Bradley Jason Pantajo and Regin De Guzman from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines Sta. Mesa (PUP Sta. Mesa) was awarded the Best Student Short Film at the recently concluded 2019 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) Gabi ng Parangal at the New Frontier Theater on Friday, December 27. (READ: FULL LIST: Winners, MMFF 2019 awards night

With the theme “Philippine Mythology and Regional Stories,” Pamana ni Lola tells the story of Alissa, a teenager who is slowly discovering what it means to grow up into a woman in their household. Belonging to a family who still subscribes to old-fashioned beliefs, Alissa is torn over whether to live on her own terms or abandon her family altogether. 

Pantajo said that he needed not to look far to find inspiration for their MMFF entry. The idea for the film came to him in the summer of the 2019 as he thought about his hometown in Rodriguez, Rizal. 

“Marami pong nababalitaan na mga aswang at manananggal [sa amin]. And naisip ko what if hindi lang sila maligno? [What if] hindi lang sila kumakain ng tao  – na kahit sa isang pagkakataon, at some point in their lives, naging tao talaga sila na may nararamdaman at marunong magmahal?” Pantajo recalled.

(There were stories about aswang and manananggal in our hometown. I thought – what if they aren’t simply monsters? What if, at one point in their lives, they lived a normal human life, feeling regular emotions like anyone else.)

The freshman performing arts student also shared that what made the production more difficult was the script, which was lengthy for a five-minute video. 

“Dumaan kami sa butas ng karayom, ginawan talaga namin ng paraan lahat. Sobrang hirap kapag shoot kasi ang iba sa amin ay may part time job na at hindi pa kami magkakaklase. Maging finalists lang dito ay sapat na. Ito ang alay namin para sa sining at mamamayang Pilipino,” he shared.

(We went through several challenges and we made sure to find ways around them. The shoot itself was challenging because some of us had to maintain part-time jobs and we are not always classmates. For us, simply to qualify for this festival was enough. This is dedicated to our craft and to all Filipinos) 

Pamana ni Lola partnered with Mindanao, an official full-length entry in this year’s MMFF starring Judy Ann Santos and Allen Dizon, directed by award-winning filmmaker Brillante Mendoza 

Other finalists include “Dating App” (University of Makati), “The Lost Sitty” (Adamson University), “Tabako” (University of Saint La Salle – Bacolod), “Huling Kembot ni Fernando” (Centro Escolar University – Manila), “Hipos” (Sagay National High School – Negros Occidental), Manggagalaw (Centro Escolar University – Manila), and “Bronze, Silver, Gold at Anting-anting” (De La Salle University – Integrated School Manila). – Rappler.com 

 John Philip Bravo is a Rappler Mover from Manila. He is currently studying in University of Makati 

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