FeaturesCinestudyante 2019: Thomasian Filmmakers’ Triumph In the Local Film Industry This first ever Filipino all-student film festival, Cinestudyante, features forty-three short films by high school and undergraduate students alike—three of which were created by Thomasians. Published 10 months ago on October 11, 2019By Patricia Si Photo from Santolan Town Plaza Facebook page Share Tweet Filipino cinema has been noteworthy insomuch as the popularity of film festivals boomed within the last few years. This is evident in the ever-increasing volume in queues in local theatres, the demand for better if not quality films in contest to mainstream entertainment, and the emergence of new film festivals. Last August was Cinemalaya season, an independent film festival celebrating its fifteenth year. September’s Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), founded just three years ago, promotes locally produced films. These festivals have inspired hundreds of film aspirants. Thus, birthing Cinestudyante. From the partnership of Santolan Town Plaza and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the first permission was held from September 25 until October 1. This first ever Filipino all-student film festival, Cinestudyante, features forty-three short films by high school and undergraduate students alike—three of which were created by Thomasians. Heist School, directed by Julius Renomeron Jr.Photo from Cinemalaya Facebook pageProducer: Last Minute Films, Writers: Julius Renomeron Jr., Johmar Damiles, John Paolo Barrameda, Editors: Julius Renomeron Jr., Johmar Damiles, John Paolo Barrameda, Assistant Director: Alvin Jamora, Keanu Managuas, Production Manager: Klaire Ellise Dulay, Production Designer: Ezren Caneda, Casting Director: Pauline Carlos, Zhino KoeHeist School, a film that debuted in the 2019 Cinemalaya Film Festival under the Short Feature category, was also featured in Cinestudyante. A film about friendship and the role that a school holds in our development as a person, it’s told through the story of a ragtag group of students who tries to steal the answers to their math exam inside the faculty room.“It was also a critique on the educational system in the country and how students’ moral uprightness are shaped early by their environment, especially in school,” director Julius Renomeron Jr. said.In an online interview with TomasinoWeb, Renomeron, the director, shared how the idea for Heist School came about, “It was actually a joke when we pitched it and I wasn’t really that serious about the details of the film itself. […] We’ve had other film ideas for our film production class but Heist School stood out for us. Throughout the development of the script we molded the story from our experiences and struggles in college of passing the exams with my co-writers, Johmar Damiles and John Paolo Barrameda. […] It is also inspired by our friendship since back in college we were always having petty fights because we are dormmates, classmates, and orgmates.”According to Renomeron, prior to the creation of Heist School, he and his friends, who are part of the production team, have been creating short films ever since. Consequently, they lacked funding in the post production process so they had to do everything by themselves. “Malaking pera rin kasi ang kailangan for the production so we had to sell stuff and rumaket ng mga video editing jobs. […] The filmmaking process was complicated but I guess being members of TomasinoWeb helped us in the production process because we were doing video production in the org before we started the project.”On the subject of those struggling with the creative process, Renomeron shared that young creative should have the attitude of always wanting to learn new things. “Wala na kasing original na idea ngayon. What matters is how well you execute your ideas and how much of “you” can you put in your work.”In retrospect, the whole process in creating Heist School was grueling, to say the least, but they were able to pull it off because everyone in the group was passionate about making the film and they took the time to exchange ideas and take into account every single idea that was pitched, no matter how foolish, because it could be valuable to the filmmaking process later on. Renomeron added, “The friendship bled through our script and that’s what made the characters feel more grounded.” Garing, directed by Dan PabloPhoto from Garing ng 1PM Films Facebook pageProducer: Emery Principe, Assistant Director: Charlaine Mutia, Emery Principe, Associate Producer: Ynna Dizon, Screenplay: Georgie Cerbolles, Production Manager: Katarina Mendoza, Production Designer: Cally Calleja, Director of Photography: Dan Pablo, Casting Director: Charlaine Mutia, Alex Garcia, Location Manager: Alex Garcia, Art Director: Barbara San Diego,Another film featured in Cinestudyante, Garing, was the brainchild of a group of friends who shared the same vision for a short film, initially conceptualized by assistant director Charlaine Mutia. According to Screenwriter Georgie Cerbolles, “It is a story of a mother with a love for her child so strong that she loses her judgment to do what is right. It shows the struggles of being powerless while holding on to something as trivial as faith.”Although the film was just a requirement for their film production class, they took the initial concept for the film and from there, they developed it to what it is now. “The first drafts of the screenplay were miles apart from the final script, but we ultimately wanted to keep the religious and motherly elements of the story,” Cerbolles shared.Deciding which direction to go was one of the most troubling parts in the process, secondary to the tight budget and the lack of time. “It was our first time to do a short film with a budget and we knew that it wasn’t going to be perfect. Decision making was a hit or miss since we lacked the experience,” director, editor, and director of photography Dan Pablo added.There was also an instance where they almost gave up and considered taking on a different story. “But in the end, we knew we had to go with Concha’s story, no matter how challenging it was,” assistant director Emery Principe said.No easy step was found in the making of Garing: pre-production required the group to be confident in what they were about to do, and where they failed to do right by the story, they made up for it during post-production. “Every stage of production felt different. […] But it was fulfilling to finally witness the result of what your team has been working on in the last three months,” said Dan Pablo.One of the film’s challenges was the fact that ideas could come anywhere and from anyone, so it was equally important for the group to collaborate, and in turn, move to create their vision for the film. The important takeaway for the group during the filmmaking process was that hard work alone isn’t enough to craft a good story—it takes collective effort.“It takes time. It will always take so much time and energy to do something as impactful and wonderful as a film. If you’re given great material and happen to be around the right people to work with, it will all come together in the end,” said Cerbolles. Beyond the Mats, directed by Dan Angelo EligadoPhoto from UST Tiger TV Facebook pageExecutive Producer: Gwen Segarra, Supervising Producers: Pauline Linsangan, Jomari Hernandez, Writer: Oscar David Poblete, Editor: Ma. Lynette Pamintuan, Dan Angelo Eligado, Director of Photography: Dan Angelo Eligado, Production Assistants: Mivel Ambas, Charlene Jaranilla, Clarissa SulitBeyond the Mats is a documentary about the University of Santo Tomas Salinggawi Dance Troupe—their journey and remarkable legacy in the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The film started off as just an idea, but the group found that Salinggawi had a promising story to tell, especially since the dance troupe has went through a great deal of experiences. “Noong una, it was Ma’am Faye’s vision to create a documentary for Salinggawi. Since ako ‘yung Sports Unit Head that time ako ‘yung tinap niya for this project,” said Jomari Hernandez, one of the supervising producers.The team for the production of the film was the sports unit under Hernandez. He shared, “Nagtulungan kami in producing this film kahit na we’re bombarded with lots of deadlines and requirements. Nag-outsource rin kami ng mga tao from the operations and we tapped our Junior Producers para pag-graduate naming, alam nila ang galawan sa paggawa ng documentary.”Before the production of the actual film, Beyond the Mats was actually a part of a larger series called Routine to Redemption, but because Salinggawi didn’t make it to the podium, it was discontinued. As a result, Beyond the Mats was created to show Salinggawi as they truly are, warts and all, as they enter UAAP Season 81.“Kaya in the end, we made sure to highlight Salinggawi’s value na they are more than cheerleaders, they have the passion to serve for UST,” Hernandez added.According to the group, the most troubling part about the creation of the film was when Salinggawi lost because the vision for them and for the film was that they would win and they would get to do their podium finish. Although this led to the difficulty of redirecting the film to a different angle, they believed it told the story of Salinggawi as it should be, and that the process towards that goal justified it.Because the documentary was about Salinggawi, the group had to immerse themselves in their lives—their training, their life outside the dance troupe. “Feel nga namin Salinggawi na kami eh,” Hernandez remarked.Other than the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, the group was inspired by all the other student-athletes in the university—they believed that all of them had a story worth telling, that they are so much more than student-athletes. There were so many opportunities to tell a different story, but they chose to tell this one—one that hasn’t been told yet.“Always be resilient and put your heart in your story,” Hernandez stated, “Kailangan mong mahalin para maging matagumpay sa isang bagay.” READ LTC dominates four Central Student Council postsThese films are a telltale that the Filipino youth have the ability to amplify their own stories. The ways in which they communicate their brilliant ideas transform into something greater. Cinestudyante, even on its first year, has become another platform to champion the local film industry. Comments Related Topics:1PM FILMSBEYOND THE MATSCinestudyanteGARINGheist schoolLAST MINUTE FILMSsalinggawiTIGER MEDIA NETWORKust You may like #Quarantrends: What took over the internet amidst the quarantine Media profs, students decry House ‘murder’ of ABS-CBN UST releases ‘new normal’ FAQs page FeaturesWalking in unity for this year’s #SONAgkaisa However, instead of attaining the needs of every Filipino, it seems that those people in power had focused their priorities towards issues that shouldn’t be tackled in such difficult times. Published 1 week ago on July 30, 2020By TomasinoWeb Photo courtesy of Philstar.comNumerous organizations walked around UP Diliman, holding various placards and displaying humorous forms of expression that declares their many concerns for the nation. Uniting with the protestors from UP Diliman, alongside with the online hashtag: #SONAgkaisa, the online community also voiced out their calls through different social media platforms. Despite being in the midst of a pandemic, now with a law that also banned mass gatherings, youth groups still flocked over to UP Diliman. They assured the general public that they would follow the health protocols like wearing face masks and ensuring the practice of social distancing in order to steer clear of the possible transmission of the coronavirus. Not only youth organizations joined the protest, but also numerous labor and health workers, as well as advocates for women’s rights, had presented themselves as they marched in unity towards the University Avenue. Several hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech for his 5th SONA, different progressive groups that congregated for the protest tackled a lot of issues including the government’s inadequate response towards the coronavirus global pandemic, the franchise refusal of ABS-CBN that ended up officially shutting down the operation of the channel, and also the controversial process of validating the Anti-Terror Law. Some who attended the protest brought props that showed satire as they intensified their voices in the rally. One of the most striking and humorous displays was activist-artist Mae Paner who imitated Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque by sporting herself in a rash guard while carrying three inflatable dolphin toys. This impersonation was meant to ridicule Roque when he went to a dolphin park in Subic despite the on-going community quarantine. Her exhibit topped the topic trends in different social media sites, giving a good laugh to many netizens.On the other hand, people who showed their art during the protest gave away masks with statements that defended press freedom; these masks implied that despite being covered, they are not to be silenced. The youth organization, Youth Resist PH, assembled trash bins in the University Avenue in order to show the government’s misplaced priorities in the midst of the pandemic. This is clearly evident when the administration focused their resentment towards human rights and civil liberties instead of bringing their full attention to improving health care in the country.Anakbayan also showcased their protest by drawing red crosshairs on a transparent canvas, indicating that literally everyone could be tagged as a terrorist because of the recent passage of the Anti-Terror Law.The protest was of course not brought out completely in a peaceful manner because of several police actions against activists and protestors. After a week of approving the Anti-Terror Law, many groups had feared that the usage of power by the Philippine National Police (PNP) would be abused, and eventually, the criticism against the administration will further be constrained.Examples of some incidents that occurred were the arrest of jeepney drivers of Piston in Quezon City. They were on their way towards the SONA protest at UP Diliman when suddenly, their vehicle was flagged by the police along East Avenue. Protest materials were also confiscated in Quiapo Church when some people brought placards with written slogans against the Anti-Terror Law. A video that circulated around the internet angered many netizens because the policemen were forcefully seizing their bags and tearing down their placards. The party involved claimed that despite not displaying the placards during mass, the cops still insisted on confiscating it. They said that they’re going to file a complaint against the policemen who took their protest materials.Participants from the protest voiced out their calls in regard to the deteriorating problems that many Filipino individuals had been experiencing during the pandemic, which continuously worsened because of the government’s actions in response to the Covid-19 struggle. Alongside these concerns, are also plenty of students who protested against the decision to push through online classes. They said that they have been struggling to attain needs for their education even way before the pandemic, and now it only became more difficult because of the increase of their tuition fees and lack of some requirements for the “blended learning.” National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) national president Raoul Manuel said in an interview with Rappler, “Bago pa man ang pandemya, marami nang mga kabataan ang biktima ng mahal na edukasyon at ang binansagang terorista sa pangangarap na makamit ang mapagpalayang edukasyon”. His statement proved that not only had the pandemic made fellow students’ education and lives at stake but also the education system itself is clearly flawed and the implementation of Anti-Terror Law only worsens the situations of student activists who fight for their educational rights. Not only the students were present in the protest, but also private and public school teachers showed their designed umbrellas that proclaim their stance about the resuming of classes. They joined the call for the safe reopening of the academic year and a call to provide financial aid to those who lost their jobs because of the pandemic.Amongst the protestors was also the veteran broadcast journalist Ces Drilon who spoke onstage about defending press freedom for the first time and said, “Hindi po ako tagapagsalita ng ABS-CBN. Hindi ako tagapagsalita ng mga kapwa ko manggagawa pero kaisa ko po sila na nagsasabi na kami po ay biktima ng isang mapaniil na administrasyon.” Drilon pressed on the issue about the denial towards the ABS-CBN franchise.Aside from speaking up about ABS-CBN, Drilon also mentioned the cases that have been filed against Rappler, a social news network, and the arrest of Reynaldo Orcullo for his criticism online against Duterte. She said that even after these issues involving the oppression of press freedom, a lot of people were still indifferent. She asked when would Filipinos start speaking up, and so, she encouraged the people to take away their silence and start calling out the government for their deliberate sabotaging of press freedom.Human rights lawyer, Chel Diokno had tweeted in his Twitter account, “Nagpunta tayo kanina sa #SONAgKAISA kasama ng iba’t ibang lawyers’ groups para magbantay, at para makiisa sa iba’t ibang mga organisasyon na nagtipon. Ang panawagan natin: katotohanan, pananagutan, at katarungan para sa mga ordinaryong Pilipino.” He declared that their reason for the protest was only to be united in calling the truth and justice for the ordinary people. The country had faced many struggles for the past few months due to the health crisis that surfaced and affected the lives of many. However, instead of attaining the needs of every Filipino, it seems that those people in power had focused their priorities towards issues that shouldn’t be tackled in these difficult times. This protest is one of the ways that Filipinos voiced out their deepest empathy for those who are in need of truth and justice. After barely passing through the half of 2020, many are still choosing to be clueless about the true situation of the country, but despite that, there are also many people who are now compelled to fight for a better Philippines. Bianca LabraqueComments Continue ReadingFeaturesI was eighteen It was April 2019 and I was in Los Baños for an academic conference. Published 4 weeks ago on July 13, 2020By TomasinoWeb Artwork by Ana Victoria EreñoEDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains sensitive content which some people may find triggering. The author and names are hidden for confidentiality.I was eight. I was fifteen. I was seventeen.I’m sure you have read those tweets. In my case, I was eighteen.This is a story I do not tell many people because I am scared. What else could I feel right now? Victorious? Apathetic? Healed? I’m not sure if I’m the one to tell. Only a few people know about my story and even some of my closest friends don’t know about it. I carry the trauma every time I go out with my friends or even when I am in the bedroom with my boyfriend. Moments of that night when I was eighteen would come back to haunt me. Undesired and unwanted. Tricked and trapped. Panic and pressure. That’s all it was. It was April 2019 and I was in Los Baños for an academic conference. I have been looking forward to this for more than half a year. I was going to be with my friends, I would be presiding as part of the board of dais, and I fulfill my shallow teenage fantasy: late night trips to McDonald’s and secretly imbibing with friends in our hotel room. I won’t bore you any longer: the conference was a great experience for me. I will always go back to that memory when I look back again in thirty years when I reminisce about my youth.However, I will remember everything especially that second night I got inebriated.I wish I had the courage to tell you everything. I want to illustrate what happened that very night, just how I narrate stories of injustice. But isn’t this injustice as well? I want to write about this with the same brevity. I sat here for what seems like twenty minutes as I try to muster what has happened to me.I was in my friend’s bedroom and we were with two other friends. We bought drinks. I laid down on the bed after four glasses, as I was already inebriated. I asked my friend James* if we could cuddle and nothing else more. The next thing I know is that I was trying to catch my breath. I was lying down and I wanted to move. However, I couldn’t move because of the influence of alcohol. I heard chatter and laughter. Two of our other friends and their mom were also in the same room.Thankfully, some of my friends who were in the hotel fetched me an hour and a half later. By the time I got back, I was tucked safely in bed. The next morning, I woke up to see an empty brown paper bag. I had the same clothes on from last night, and I still wore the same socks. I was taken care of, at least. And that was it. I don’t expect you to be angry or to be compelled especially with the way I wrote my story. There’s not much to explain here, really. Since punctuality is my strong suit, I woke up early the next morning to stroll under the soft sunlight to process events from the previous night as I walk to the building where we would resume the conference. I later discarded the thought and proceeded with the work I had to do here. Everything else was fine until I saw him again in the afternoon at the auditorium. I did not bother speaking to him, nor did he. I confronted James after an hour or two outside of the building we were in. We sat at the benches underneath the trees. No one was around and it was serene. I looked hard at the gazebo a couple of feet away from us to prepare myself for this conversaton. I sat in a straight posture, looking clean, prim, and proper but inside, I felt wronged and dirty. Yet, I still don’t know what to feel. I told James that I wanted to leave this problem in Los Baños. I could’ve been there in the auditorium taking photos with friends or probably confessing to my conference crush. But I was there, confronting a problem I thought I could probably leave in Los Baños.“Why did you do it?,” I asked.“I did it because I have feelings for you.”I was at a loss for words. I left Los Baños an hour after with a suitcase of great memories as I tried to suppress this one, and I did. After a few months, I thought I had forgiven James. I fooled myself thinking it was just a drunken mistake. I realized a couple of months after that I was taken advantage of. I was sexually harassed.I’m not sure what else to tell you. All I know is that I have carried this burden since the past year. I remember what my breathing felt like. I remember that my thighs and my legs were unable to move. I remember the unconsented proximity. I remember who watched and who did it.I am nineteen now but there will forever be a part of me where I was eighteen. It took me almost a year to understand what it was. Now, it’s clear and no apology can take that night away from me.Comments Continue ReadingFeaturesThe Scent of Force It was just an ordinary night and I was home away from home. Published 1 month ago on July 7, 2020By TomasinoWeb Artwork by Fernardine HernandezEDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains sensitive content which some people may find triggering. The author’s name will be hidden for confidentiality. It was just an ordinary night and I was home away from home. After dinner, I was tasked to deliver a document downstairs. Familiarity, the echoing of my every step on the tiled floors, and the sense of security filled the hallways. I am safe because I am home. I pressed the elevator button going down while I clutched the brown envelope on my chest. There was another person inside, standing at the farthest left. The elevator was quite spacious, on a busy day, it could fit six up to nine people. My feet began to move. Elevators don’t have signals inside so I decided not to use my phone but instead, look straight, not at anything, but to only look straight. His perfume lingered every inch of the four corners of the elevator. I tried not to crinkle my nose for he might mistake my sensitivity for disrespect and until he spoke, there was only silence. He attempted to break the silence by saying “Normally, compliments make me a tad awkward but his words made me clench my jaw. I was told that I had beauty in me and that he liked my eyes. In fear, I took in his words like nothing just to kill the conversation. The elevator ride became much longer until the doors finally opened. As soon as it opened, I walked out and took a whiff of the sleeves of my sweater which made me crinkle my nose. I didn’t care if he saw me, I knew I was already a few feet away from him. He went inside the convenience store which made me relax my shoulders. The delivery service wasn’t there yet so I waited. While I was browsing my phone, a figure stood right beside me. My jaw clenched and my palms became cold. “Maybe he is waiting for something too.” I assured myself to keep my mind clear and balanced with my emotions. Using my phone, I pretended to talk to someone and make me look as if I’m busy but that didn’t stop him from asking questions. “Maybe he’s trying to become a nice building neighbor.” I assured myself again. He kept asking if I lived there, but I didn’t, I was only visiting my uncles. That’s a fact. His expression looked as if he was doubting me. He asked how old I was. I answered seventeen when in reality, I was nineteen. It was a lie but red alarms keep going off in my head. The advice of the women in my life kept ringing in my ears, “Just be polite, and eventually, they’ll leave.” No questions escaped from my lips, only answers. “Where do you study?” I answered, “Manila.”“So, where do you live?” I repeated my response. “Do you have a boyfriend?” I answered yes even though it was a lie. “Really?” He was in doubt again.“What is your name?” I nervously chuckled in response. “Do you want to go to my unit?” Finally, the delivery service arrived. I blinked twice to jolt me back to my senses. After handling the envelope, I started to walk only to be approached by the same man again. He asked me if I was available. I said no. He asked again and insisted that we go upstairs and go to his unit. I shook my head. Numbness took over me as he suddenly hugged me and kissed my temple. His scent made me crinkle my nose. At his touch, my body felt like it was not mine anymore. At his grip, I wanted to cry. At his release, I felt weak. The proximity and the gesture weren’t called for. I know for a fact that he wouldn’t not care if I refused and he had the audacity to act as if he owned me. I was frozen for a moment that felt like an eon. His scent was on my body, clothes, and skin. As I went back inside the building and entered the elevator, I was alone. There was nothing. I rushed to the bathroom and broke down in tears. I turned on the faucet and scrubbed as hard as I can to get rid of his touch until my skin became irritated. All I felt was the ice-cold water splashing on the burns of my arms. I looked down on the bathroom floor. Trembling at the fear that history might repeat itself. 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