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FFC 2013: Professionalism and Craftsmanship

“MOST people are not aware that they are using outdated technology and needs to be poked about it.” – Thomas Gorissen

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     “MOST people are not aware that they are using outdated technology and needs to be poked about it.” – Thomas Gorissen

     Web enthusiasts and experts once again gathered as the Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO) held its fourth annual web conference last November 9 and 10 at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts (DLS-CSB SDA).

     Aside from our local industry frontrunners, this year’s Form, Function and Class (FFC) was made special with invited foreign speakers, Thomas Gorissen and Paul Burnett.

     Singapore-based Thomas Gorissen uses his expertise in web technology in helping startup businesses. He discussed the statistics about the different web browsers, saying that Safari “by far is the bestselling browser.” He also reminded the participants that visitor numbers is not their only metric, thus, it is not the sole basis of a browser’s success.

     Paul Burnett, an APAC evangelist at Adobe, enlivened the crowd with his talk about the relationship between web designers and web developers.

     “I don’t know if you realize this, but designers and developers hate each other,” said Burnett, soliciting sounds of realization and agreement from the audience.

     “If you’re a designer, walk up to one of those developers and just give them a little hug,” he added. He then went on to discuss the new Generator feature of Adobe.

     “Everything is going mobile,” said Anthony Santos as he started talking about the best practices in UX and UI design for mobile applications.

     He gave the audience useful tips on creating, maintaining, and selling mobile apps.

     Santos advised the audience to entice the users first, then create gradual engagements from there. He also said to keep the app design simple yet consistent.

     Levi Tan Ong, one of the winners of last year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup Game Design Competition, provided the audience lessons through technical discussion and demonstration about optimizing one’s workflow with pre-processors.

     Lindsey Grande, a second-time FFC speaker, kept her talk quick but detailed. She tackled about style branding. She cleared out to the audience that the logo is not the brand. She gave three particular reminders when it comes to branding – clarity, consistency, and communication. Grande encouraged the audience to “ask more questions and build more answers.”

     The last speaker for the first day was Mark Lacsamana who talked about Data Driven Design.

     “Data is what brought us to where we are today,” said Lacsamana. He said that there is no Math involved in data, that it is just about “looking at what is greater.”

     He then raised the question why Filipinos don’t read in Filipino, saying that less than 5% of the social networking site Facebook users in the country use the Filipino language setting.

     The second day of FFC was packed with interactive activities and workshops for the participants to further enhance the knowledge they had acquired.

     Ralph Vincent Regalado started the series of workshops with HTML5 lecture and elaborated its elements, giving a crash course on 2D and 3D animation at the same time.

     The second speaker, Aaron Cajes, demonstrated on stage the different features and possibilities that comes when unlocking the web with Firefox OS. Being a Filipino mobile application developer, he expressed different pointers on devising applications for this generation of gadgets, one of which was advising the audience to design apps that are touch-friendly.

     User Experience Engineer Mica Diaz de Rivera gave helpful hints on Qualitative User Experience Design while emphasizing that “any form of testing is better than not testing at all”.

     “Let people comment on what you can actually do better [on].” said Diaz de Rivera.

     Lastly, Andrei Gonzales, Creative Director of Hugo Manila, discussed how Typography is an art and the importance of Art Direction. He also gave the participants insights on Design Issues.

     “Whatever you design reflects on your work.” Gonzales said to the crowd.

     His advice to young web designers is to keep pushing beyond their comfort zones in order for them to keep up with the ever-changing trends online.

     “It sounds really cliché but that’s it. [If they’re] feeling what they do to be repetitive, it means that they’re not exploring more.” Also on his second year as a speaker in the event, Gonzales shared his opinion on how FFC has improved in the past years, “The topics have become more sophisticated. I guess in a way, mas maganda. The community is coming together. We’re tackling harder topics as a tighter unit.”

Web innovation and audience interaction

     As web innovation techniques were discussed in the two-day conference, interaction between the participants and the speakers were maintained through the open forum held either after every speaker or after every batch of speakers. Also, the participants were kept connected on the internet through wifi, letting them log on to their Twitter accounts and use the #FFCph hashtag to share their knowledge and opinions to the non-participants all over the internet.

     The first official FFC conference was held on 2009. Since then, the PWDO has strived to keep their annual web conference parallel to the demands of today’s technology.

     Sponsors and partners of the said event are Globe Telecommunications Inc., Adobe Camp, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, GeekMuch Shirts, PortfolioMNL, Mozilla Firefox, GitHub, DLS-CSB Association of Information Management, Ateneo De Manila University GRIDS, WhenINManila.com, Adobo Magazine, Inquirer.net, Campaign Monitor, Developers Connect, and University of Santo Tomas’ Junior Philippine Computer Society and TomasinoWeb.

By Chleobel D. Birginias and Mia Rosienna P. Mallari
Photo taken by Joshua P. Lugti

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Sila-Sila in its spectrum

Being under the constant waves of change, companionship paves through distances and personal struggles. The movie emphasizes that ‘ghosting’ also happens between friends and rekindling episodes are a challenge.

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Screengrab from Sila-Sila movie trailer

Giancarlo Abrahan’s entry for Cinema One Originals Film Festival Sila-Sila is a groundbreaking film that sprouts a queer narrative molded by queer people. Anchored to the intimate stories of real people, this ghosting film pierces through the lens of post-breakup experiences.

Its lead actors, Gio Gahol and Topper Fabregas had a harmonious rhythm as Gabriel and Jared inside one frame. With Gab being helplessly displaced and Jared as someone who craves settlement, they were in an endless loop of push-and-pull, making every scene burst in different colors of expectations.  

The film revolves around the story of Gab (Gahol), as he tries to reconcile with his friends (Phi Palmos and Dwein Baltazar) and his ex-boyfriend, Jared (Fabregas) after ‘ghosting’ them for almost a year. Fueled by guilt and regret, the old lovers find themselves igniting a fire that once burned the bridges that connected their lives.

Five minutes in and the sensual relationship between Gab and Topper will cuff the audience with its bare exposure of same-sex actualities. These characters played by both theater artists allow the scenes to flourish with remarkable nuance.

The scenarios in the film allow you to peek at realities that manifest through Gab’s life as a person who fails to find his roots being settled in one place. As his portrayal walks you through the story of uncertainties, the progress of the film lets you trace into a deep contemplation whether or not you may be the Gab or Jared in your own story.

Despite having fragments of scenarios that lowers the momentum of the film, it serves as a breath of fresh air as Gab undergoes the phase of vacillation. Gab’s journey of finding a home in people he once felt was is a cycle anyone can relate to. His doubts linger in trust issues and the feeling of not belonging. It soon uncovers that the quest of settling in places, people, and experiences will be unending unless one finds their sense of home.

Phi Palmos and Dwein Baltazar’s characters are spices to the story as they portray a decade-long friendship of overcoming tendencies. Being under the constant waves of change, companionship paves through distances and personal struggles. The movie emphasizes that ‘ghosting’ also happens between friends and rekindling episodes are a challenge.

Sila Sila won the Best Picture Award. Its undeniably well-plated palette satisfies the eye of the audience. A lot of scenes will tickle one’s humor especially if you are used to friendships that blatantly roast each other as a way of showing one’s love language.

Alongside its award-winning cinematography, Sila Sila also received the Audience Choice Award and Best Screenplay by scriptwriter Daniel Saniana. Also, Fabregas was recognized as Best Supporting Actor for his role.

“We’ll always love each other, however it manifests, it’s just always going to be there.”, this line by Jared carves through the hearts of those who had to let go of a person but never the love that they have for them. Gab’s relationship with Jared shows that there is never just one way of loving someone. Every day, with every version of themselves, love prevails. 

Distance can never make things small. It only deceives you from thinking that you’ve escaped your troubles. One way or another, you will find yourself crawling back because time never lets anyone off its claws—Sila-Sila teaches this. Furthermore, sometimes, having no closure is not the closure.

The character of Gab serves as an example that a person will remain trapped in the past unless they find closure from people and from themselves. People are bound to face the naked truth that we need to find our sense of home in this world that is full of broken fragments of imperfect individuals.

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Metamorphosis, a film that challenges the conventional

Tiglao tells this story through the never-before-seen character of a Filipino intersex teenager, and he tells it almost flawlessly, with the scenes that make you nostalgic, like you’ve been there before—a sort of déjà vu.

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Screengrab from Metamorphosis Trailer

As a coming-of-age film that probes more extensively into the adolescent psychosexual conflict, J.E. Tiglao’s Metamorphosis is dangerously daring. The film stirred a wave of controversy when the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) classified it as X-rated for exploring intersexuality, later on, it was reclassified into R-16, permitting its screening in local cinemas. 

It opens with a scene at a waterfall in a 1:1 aspect ratio and ends in the same setting, where we find the protagonist, Adam, exceptionally portrayed by Gold Azeron, no longer irresolute. Supporting actress Iana Bernardez, who plays Angel, complements Azaron almost naturally—Adam isn’t without Angel, vice versa. However, the gorgeous visuals of Metamorphosis overshadow the disarray that’s often ignored in the film.

Tiglao tells this story through the never-before-seen character of a Filipino intersex teenager, and he tells it almost flawlessly, with the scenes that make you nostalgic, like you’ve been there before—a sort of déjà vu. Apart from the brilliant footwork of Tey Clamor, the film’s cinematographer, the musical score by Divino Dayacap, from the University of Santo Tomas Conservatory of Music, gave the film its oomph: as if the music understood the complexity of emotions portrayed, and the aesthetics with it.

Tiglao almost easily got away with poor writing by compensating for the other elements in the film. Instead of sustaining its relaxed delicateness, it lost its momentum when Adam’s exploration into his intersexuality was hastily overturned by uncalled-for predatory themes, and sexual awakening was realized by means of harassment.

The film relied heavily on aesthetics while leaving the plot unsustained and undernourished. It undermined the audience’s capacity to understand beyond the script because there was very little depth to it—the metaphors were surface-level and revealed themselves too easily. Some scenes appeared to over-explain themselves because expository writing was brought to an excess. Nevertheless, the film communicated what it sought to: the magnitude of embracing your own uniqueness in pursuit of self-acceptance.

Perhaps one of the most moving scenes in the film was when Adam’s father, a conservative Catholic and a pastor with a strongly-held vision for Adam to reverse his intersexuality – an “Ok, boomer” moment – abandons his unyielding bigoted principles at long last, giving Adam the autonomy to decide on and for his own. Here, the conservative adult matures with the troubled adolescent—and it is this shared acceptance that is unique to Metamorphosis.

Although the film suffers from tacky dialogue and some questionable subplots, it does exactly what a coming-of-age film is supposed to: the audience becomes an echo chamber, where we feel for the protagonist while accompanying him into growth and resolution. 

Metamorphosis, along with its stillness and vulgarity, makes for an ample directorial debut. The “I” in LGBTQIA+ rarely gets talked about, but Tiglao changed that by giving us Metamorphosis: it contests machismo without overemphasizing the feminine, it astounds without unnerving, and most of all it is unrestrained. Metamorphosis, even with its sloppy writing, is sufficiently beautiful—it questions and challenges the conventional, and it does it without fear.

 

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Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo: An Endless Cycle

Falling in love in this generation is like using a trial and error method that gets you nowhere. In the emergence of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble and websites like Omegle, finding a prospective partner has become fairly easy but also quick to lose.

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Screengrab from Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo official trailer

Labels. There is a silent debate going on about whether labels are important or a factor for complications. Though there is a need to define relationships to know where to draw the line between friends and lovers, it is often terrifying to know what the truth really is. The word ‘commitment’ may seem an intimidating word for some, but it is also loved by many. 

Tayo Muna Habang Hindi Pa Tayo is one of the entries for the Cinema One Originals 2019. Written and directed by Denise O’Hara, who won an award for Best Director in this year’s Gawad Urian for a movie called Mamang, a film about dementia and the struggles of remembering one’s life. 

The film festival ran from November 7 until November 17 in selected malls and microcinemas. Starring Jane Oineza and JC Santos as Alex and Carlo, the story portrays the characters’ struggle in the process of falling in love, falling out, being confused, and being sure at the same time. 

Falling in love in this generation is like using a trial and error method that gets you nowhere. In the emergence of dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble and websites like Omegle, finding a prospective partner has become fairly easy but also quick to lose. 

Alex, played by Jane Oineza, is a woman with big dreams and ambitions, eager to prove to the world that she is more than just a pretty face. Carlo, played by JC Santos, on the other hand, is your typical go-with-the-flow kind of guy who works in the field of graphic design and freelance work. The story progresses as the two create something that neither of them knows what is and what to call. 

By slowly cracking her shell and breaking down her walls, Carlo manages to see the parts of Alex that no one really sees. Underneath her cold gazes and intimidating aura, lies a sappy and marupok girl. One night, after planning and talking about the design for Alex’s upcoming project, a cockroach scare prompts a rush to the bedroom; ensuing a somewhat emotional conversation that turns the atmosphere into purple and red hazes. 

After that night, awkwardness sits between them in the office. Alex, trying to figure out what happened, asks Carlo directly; as to his reply, along with the words “Masaya pa rin naman ‘diba?” creates a questionable feeling both to the characters and the audience. 

Stemming from the title itself, the movie—from start to finish—draws a problematic and complicated cycle that reflects dating and almost-dating. The dialogues lacked a bit of emotional appeal and the concreteness of thought cannot be easily grasped. The movie has a back and forth sequence, showing the past and the present, how the moments came to be, what arguments were thrown out to get to the scene where they chase each other in the sidewalk with pain and hesitation in their eyes. 

Cinematography-wise, the color palette of the film shifts along with the emotion that is being presented on the screen, making up for the lack of substance in the exchange of dialogues. It is a mess, paralleling to Alex and Carlos’ relationship, the shaky camera angles and the abrupt shift from one scene to another provides support in pulling off the movie’s complicated narrative. It could have had more backstory and fewer gaps in the storyline but it somehow works as it leaves you hanging and still questioning what happened. It keeps you in the cycle even though you have stepped out of the cinema already. 

Filled with contradictions and trouble waiting to happen, O’Hara’s work garners attention from those who are in the same position. The film dwells on complex-minded characters, pretty much like our generation, and their decisions on whether they should leave or keep fighting for something that is vague. It is a ticking time bomb of tears and regret or maybe, just maybe, something magical and worthwhile. 

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