At the start of 2020, the pandemic threatened to lock us down inside our homes. We were to have little to no access to the outside. We were to be alone with our anxiety-ridden thoughts. It was a scary prospect then, but now it’s our reality – it has been for quite some time.
In Amaya Han’s unnerving yet prescient fable, Handuraw sa Kahilitan, that feeling is captured, in vivid detail, as a young girl comes to terms with her irrational fear of people and human connection. Joy Love has anthropophobia or the fear of people. She is then persuaded by her only friend, Chickie, a Philippine Eagle stuffed toy, to prepare for her birthday.
What is seemingly a lurid look at trauma manifesting as ghastly visitors turns into a rather hopeful story about people looking out for one another. And much like in our fight against COVID-19, in Handuraw sa Kahilitan, just one person finding their way out of the woods makes going above and beyond worth it.
Handuraw sa Kahilitan received the Best Picture (Short Film) award at the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival in 2015. It bagged the Golden Philippine Eagle Festival Director’s Choice Award and Best Screenplay at the 2016 Singkuwento Film Festival. It most recently screened at the 4th Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino in 2020.
Amaya Han graduated cum laude from the University of San Carlos – Fine Arts in Cinema Program. She is currently taking up her Master in Business Administration at the University of Mindanao, and studying International Film Producing at the Busan Asian Film School International Film Business Academy.
For more Filipino short films, watch Si Astri maka si Tambulah, Pusong Bato, and Contestant #4 on Act One. – Rappler.com
Act One is Rappler’s platform for Filipino short films, empowering filmmakers and advancing causes. A new title comes out every month. Subscribe and watch on Rappler’s YouTube page.
As in any story, Act One marks the beginning.