AFP filmmakers: the camera is fiercer than the gun

Carlos Santamaria

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Soldiers take a course in basic filmmaking as part of efforts to help improve the image of the Philippine military

Soldiers during their filmmaking course. Photo by Manie Magbanua

MANILA, Philippines – The pen is mightier than the sword, and the camera is fiercer than the gun.

Nineteen members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have recently completed a workshop in basic filmmaking, in a new attempt to bring the military closer to the public.

The project is part of a broader strategy of tapping into multimedia to shore up the image of the institution, tainted by accusations of human rights abuse and corruption.

Rappler interviewed the 4 soldier-filmmakers picked to each direct a short movie that features different aspects in the life of a serviceman as a son, a parent, a friend and a doctor.

A premiere for the films – Bagong Tsinelas, Drawing, Pangarap, and Kinse – was held on Wednesday, June 28, at the AFP Theater in Camp Aguinaldo and attended by AFP chief of staff Gen Jessie Dellosa and other officers and soldiers.

Bringing the AFP closer to the people

The aspiring filmmakers view the course as a chance for them to communicate to the civilian population what it is really like to be a soldier.

“This filmmaking workshop that we attended is a good opportunity for us, not only to express what we’ve seen and what we’ve felt in the field, but to be able to share it with the rest of the Filipino people,” explained Army captain Mark Andrew T Posadas, director of Bagong Tsinelas.

Posadas and his group received practical training in film analysis, scriptwriting, directing, production management and design, cinematography, sound design, and editing from April 23 to May 3 at Camp Aguinaldo.

The workshop was conducted by the Filipino Pictures film school, in cooperation with the Civil-Military Operations (CMO) School and the Public Information Office of the AFP.

Lieutenant Lady Chatterly Alvaro-Sumbeling (Kinse) was thrilled by the opportunity to do something different and recover her passion for cinema, which she took up in college before she joined the Armed Forces.

“The AFP is discovering other areas, not only for combat, but we are discovering untraditional roles, so that can be more closer to the people,” she said.

New role for the military

Although they were trained to fight, not make movies, the soldier-filmmakers believe this new role for them is still part of their constitutional mandate to defend the nation.

“Typically, the AFP films are expected to have gun battles, blood, gore death. We decided to take an alternate route from that,” said Navy Lt Commander Michael G. Barrion.

The director of Drawing added that “we decided to paint a much milder picture” of the military at a time when many saw it is losing the propaganda war against the New People’s Army.

Communist rebels have been very effective in their use of modern technology to spread their message, and now the AFP not only wants to counter that campaign but also downplay their alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings and corruption through multimedia resources that will reach the general public. (Read: Act on military abuses, group tells PNoy.)

“This is the humanization of armed forces, so we want to show people or to our fellow Filipinos that we are still humans like them, who survived different challenges that came through our lives,” noted Major Rocky Rosaria, director of Pangarap.

Rosaria added: “We just want to show them how we as soldiers, are Filipinos too.”

Investment in multimedia

Dellosa fully supports the new multimedia strategy of the AFP and has approved the purchase of P18-M worth of equipment to improve photo coverage of the military’s activities.

Not only will the military buy 200 high-end digital SLR cameras, but also 200 modern desktop computers to be distributed to field units nationwide so the CMO staff can work on the images without having to send the material to Manila.

“These films feature the different facets of our soldiers’ lives that many do not see often,” Dellosa said during his speech at the AFP Theater.

“Through the creation of short stories that the public can more easily relate to, we endeavor to capture the usually undocumented acts of heroism, not only our soldiers, but of every patriotic Filipino whose dreams and aspirations we fight for 24/7,” Dellosa said. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!