WATCH: Inspiring films on Uber driver, a jazz bar, swimmer with no legs
MANILA, Philippines – Three short films on real-life stories from young filmmakers emerged victorious in this year's Istorya ng Pag-asa (Stories of Hope) Film Festival organized by the Office of the Vice President and the Ayala Foundation.
No less than Vice President Leni Robredo herself attended the film festival's gala night and awarding ceremony held at Glorietta on Tuesday, June 12, coinciding with the country's 120th Independence Day celebration.
A total of 15 films – out of 73 submissions – made it to the final round. The films Ang Biyahe ni Marlon, Tago, and Gawilan were chosen as the top 3 winners.
Florence Rosini's Ang Biyahe ni Marlon was named Best Film. It features the story of Marlon Fuentes, an Uber driver who has Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder characterized by repetitive and involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.
Fuentes' story first went viral on social media after one of his passengers, Mimi Velasquez, saw the sign he put up inside the vehicle, saying, "I have Tourette Syndrome. I hope you understand my condition." Velasquez posted a photo of the sign on Facebook, where her post has gained more than 37,000 reactions and over 13,000 shares as of Thursday morning, June 14.
The Uber driver said he created the sign after noticing several of his passengers were uncomfortable during their trip because of his condition.
Robredo later invited Fuentes to tell his story through the Vice President's "BISErbisyong Leni" radio show on February 11.
Rosini, who is currently taking up her master's degree in media studies, major in film at the University of the Philippines Diliman, took home a P50,000 cash prize, a DSLR camera, and a Samsung S8 phone for her winning piece.
Coming in as first runner-up was the film Tago by professional makeup artist and instructor Margaret Serranilla. The short film tells the story of Nelson Gonzales, who owns the rundown Tago Jazz Café in Cubao.
In the film, Gonzales shares how the jazz café serves as a place for budding musicians to hone their craft. Several of these musicians have since gained international fame after performing at the humble Tago.
Serranilla got a cash prize of P30,000.
Completing the roster of winners is Kelsy Lua's Gawilan, which features the story of swimmer Ernie Gawilan.
Despite having no legs and no left arm, Gawilan kept on swimming, his hard work earning him a spot to represent the Philippines at the 2016 Summer Paralympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Lua, a film and television postgraduate student at the University of Southern California, won P20,000 for her film's second-place finish.
The winning films of the Istorya ng Pag-asa Film Festival will be screened at Ayala Malls Cinemas from June 13 to 30.
Other special awards given during the gala night were the following:
- Best Director for Anna Mikaela Quizon for her short film Pamilyang Bernardo
- Best Cinematography for The Climbing Puppeteer by AR Angcos
- Best Script for Ang Gahum Sang Daku Nga Handum by Demy Cruz Jr
The Istorya ng Pag-asa Film Festival entries were judged by screenwriter Doy del Mundo, filmmakers Dan Villegas and Quark Henares, actress Shamaine Buencamino, and Film Development Council of the Philippines Chairperson Liza Diño. – Rappler.com