Connect with us

Features

Teatro Tomasino stages the triumph of taking chances with “Baka Sakali”

The twin-bill production featured Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, and Kublihan. It is a narrative of trials against time and fate, of waiting, and the triumph of taking chances.

Published

on

Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

There are three kinds of people in the world when it comes to love: those who easily receive the same kind of love they give—the lucky ones; those who do not even care at all—still, one of the lucky ones; and then there are the rest of us—those who need to risk, and take chances.

Maybe we are all gamblers of love—rolling the dice with the fear of being vulnerable, risking everything we have; or the hope of winning and the chances that fate will be in our favour. It just all goes around these two—the risk of losing and the hope of succeeding. 

For their 42nd season, Teatro Tomasino, the official theater guild of the University of Santo Tomas, staged Baka Sakali. The twin-bill production featured Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, and Kublihan. It is a narrative of trials against time and fate, of waiting, and the triumph of taking chances. This year, they celebrated all the paths we take, the decisions we make, and the chances we risk.

Habulan sa Pagitan ng mga Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan, written by Jay Crisostomo IV and directed by Patrick Demition, starred Eudes Garcia as the butterfly; Sofia Miel Ligutom as the princess; and John David Saw as the prince. Habulan tells the story of two immortal souls in an endless journey of chasing. The death and rebirth of two lovers, meeting too many times in different lifetimes—from being a princess, an animal, up to being a rock—only to be separated by fate. 

“A story of two lovers who always find each other in different lifetimes… in the wrong place and the wrong time,” director Patrick Demition shared in an online interview with TomasinoWeb. It is a story of waiting, of chasing, and of faith—a testimony that we take chances for love, and that love can wait.

Kublihan, the second part of the play, was written by Jerome Ignacio. Andrew Santos played Mike while Matthew Villareal and Shingie Taira both played Julio Kublihan narrates the story of a blossoming friendship tested by farewells and goodbyes. 

The desire to freeze time, to stay in stopovers—embracing the passing minutes, but at the same time, the need to continue and face the fleeting life. “Kublihan is [about] discovering yourself throughout the process of something difficult… It also shows the audience that every person has their own story to tell,” Andrew Santos shared his own take of the story in an online interview with TomasinoWeb. A journey of self-discovery and of taking chances despite the fear of the future, it shows the beauty of friendship and the triumph in taking risks.

Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

Baka Sakali is a call for hope to those who are about to risk, or for all the love that has gone astray—never returned. A tribute and a testimony that “love and taking chances aren’t easy,” as Demition believed. 

It is a motivation to gamble, to roll the dice, and to face the possibility of losing. “There is always hope as long as we pursue,” Santos added. There are chances worth taking, and people worth risking for. It is through these narratives that we can keep on clamoring for chances and taking it—for we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

These stories will make us unafraid to face the ultimate test of time, the flipping fortune of fate, and all the possibilities love can ever offer—for fate will always favour the brave.

Comments

Features

QCinema 2019 continues to hold its prime

This year, the QCinema International Film Festival exhibited a new set of entries from aspiring Filipino and International filmmakers, producers and actors who, in turn, showcased their top-caliber skills, featuring it through their unique, creative and enthralling films. 

Published

on

Photo from QCinema Facebook page

“One City. To the World.” 

Carrying ideals from years past to its 7th year, QCinema International Film Festival 2019 ensures stability and a promising future. This year, the film fest exhibited a new set of entries from aspiring Filipino and International filmmakers, producers and actors who, in turn, showcased their top-caliber skills, featuring it through their unique, creative and enthralling films. 

QCinema International Film Festival is the official film festival of Quezon City. Held last October 19 until October 22, the event was first set in motion in 2013 by the Quezon City Film Development Commission (QCFDC) and is the only Local Government Unit that has its own commission in the film industry.

This year, there were more than 60 film entries including three featured Filipino films in the competition under Asian Next Wave; Cleaners, Babae at Baril, and Kaaway sa Sulod. The film fest aired for one week in various cinema venues within the city which included Trinoma, Gateway Cinemas in Cubao and Robinsons Galleria and other micro-cinemas around the city. 

Within these 60 film entries, awards will be chosen among the best stars, hence, the film festival also gives annual pylon awards to the actors, producers and the entries that showed remarkable and exceptional performance.

The Filipino film entry “Cleaners,” garnered three awards, winning under the category of Asian Next Wave as The Best Film, Audience Choice Award, and Best Screenplay of the year. It was directed by Glenn Barit, who did a remarkable job as the film went beyond the standards of filmmaking. Barit dived deeper into the imagination—directing the film by photocopying the 43, 000 frames, painting the scenes and digitally arranging it in a way that gave the film its retro-vibe. 

One might wonder, what’s with all the neon lights in the monochromatic film Cleaners? The pictures of the characters were highlighted, hence, it appeared pleasing to the eyes of the audience. This creative strategy made it stand out among the rest. Moreover, the story was set circa 2007 to 2008 in a high school in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. The film showed the accuracy of how students struggled in this era, and the different kinds of people you will meet— making anyone feel nostalgic of their high school days. 

Photo from QCinema website.

In an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, instructor Marc Kevin Romulo, a National Service Training Program lecturer in Quezon City University expressed his sentiments towards the film Cleaners. “Wala akong masabi but standing ovation talaga yung movie,” he remarks.

Romulo is in curriculum development and has actively supported indie films since 2013, including Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP). He was amazed when he found out that the film was made in an entirely different manner. “The best film kasi ang ganda ng pagkakagawa, especially the creativity.”

Romulo exclaims after seeing the film, further commenting on its timeliness—especially for the youth. “Yung message ng movie is very quite related sa curriculum instruction development. Ipinakita rin kung paano nagaadapt yung mga bata ngayon sa mga problems, encountered feelings and kung paano sila gumagawa ng kanilang sariling mundo,” he added. 

In addition, Romulo’s take on the film’s title is centered on responsibility “It [Cleaners] shows our duty as being human and as a part of the society na lahat ng feelings and mistakes kaya nating linisin.” Assuredly, the film is a must-watch for all ages, leaving an impacting conclusion. 

Another interview with TomasinoWeb, instructor Marc Kevin Romulo also watched Babae at Baril and admired its concept which portrayed the harsh reality for a woman, “Ipinapakita doon ang realidad ng buhay—it’s a kind of indie film na ipinapakita yung pagkamatotoo sa nangyayari sa buhay ng tao.” 

Bagging the Gender Sensitive Award is another film entry under Asian Next Wave. “Babae at Baril” directed by Red Rae and produced by Iana Bernardez. Rae Red was victorious as the Best Director while the leading lady of the film, Janine Gutierrez won the Best Actress Award. 

The film speculates the reality amidst toxic masculinity in society, clearly illustrating how women are faced with discrimination, harassment, and unfairness—suffocating them in a life that could lead to the worst possible scenario: violence. The day that the meek sales lady, played by Janine Gutierrez, found a gun on her doorstep and clutching it in her hands,  a rush of empowerment went through her: the life that she knew starts to shift. 

Photo from QCinema website.

In an interview with TomasinoWeb,  Jholo Baybayon, an electrical engineering student and head editor chief of LIKHA Production at Quezon City University explained his depiction of the film’s setting, “The world is really cruel if you look into the deeper side. ‘Pag tumingin ka sa marginalized sectors, doon mo makikita ‘yung mga anomaly na ginagawa nila. Sa Babae at Baril, it’s unusual to see a woman that uses a gun. Pero dahil sa sitwasyon ng bida (Janine Gutierrez) nakita ko kung bakit niya kailangan gamitin ‘yun.” 

Gutierrez’s character as a timid sales lady went through work discrimination and sexual abuse. The gun was her way of finally defending herself, to feel empowered, and to be free from the shackles of the harsh environment she constantly lives in. 

Deviating from heavy dramatic themes, an Australian film entry, Top End Wedding, addresses the life struggles and culture within a family through comedy. Directed by Wayne Blair, co-written by Miranda Tapsell and Joshua Tyler, and starring Gwilym Lee and Miranda Tapsell.

Top End Wedding is a story about Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) and Ned (Joshua Tyler), an engaged couple euphoric on thoughts of their dream wedding. However, they are faced with the conflict of saving a marriage that is on the verge of falling out where Lauren’s (Tapsell) mother disappeared somewhere in the northern part of Australia. 

Photo from QCinema website.

Audience member Sofia Palmiano shared her views with TomasinoWeb. Stating that the film was unexpectedly beautiful, “[] nagustuhan ko yung twist. Nung yung mother ay naghanap ng alone time para makahanap ng courage to face her family, at noong broken siya eh bumalik pa rin siya sa family niya.” This portrayed how unbreakable their family bond is. When asked if she will recommend this film to her friends, her reply was a definite yes. 

Sketching a picture of cultural diversity welcomed wholeheartedly, the film’s marital nature played true to its word with the wedding scene. Samantha Palmiano, another audience member, recalls, “[…] pinaghandaan talaga yung wedding and with all the struggles, they were finally married.” Ensuring the reality of your dream wedding is truly a fairytale. Top End Wedding showed that no matter the conflict thrown your way, as long as you have your loved ones, you will find a way to resolve it. 

Generously bestowing grants to its entries, 1.5 million in peso was granted to the featured films under Asian Next Wave by the film fest. The chosen featured documentary entries received 500 thousand pesos and 200 thousand pesos was under QCShorts film competition. 

There were twelve deserving entries that received these grants under their respective categories. The winners from Asian Next Wave Competition are Cleaners, which won the Best Film Award, Audience Choice Award, and Best Screenplay. Babae at Baril as Gender Sensitivity Award and its director Rae Red as Best Director and Janine Gutierrez as Best Actress.

Best Actor was given to Por Silatsa of the film Long Walk. NETPAC Jury Prize was given to Suburban Birds directed by Qui Sheng. Best Artistic Choice Award for contribution in editing under Asian Next Wave Competition was won by Lee Chatametikool from the film Nakorn-Sawan. 

The winning entries under QCShorts film competition are Judy Free directed by Che Tagyamon as the Best Film,  Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss directed by Sonny Calvento as the recipient of Audience Choice Award and Tokwifi directed by Carla Pulido Ocampo as the winner of Special Jury Prize.

Truly one of the dazzling highlights in Quezon City, the film festival embraced local and international films of all genres, and provided a wide yet creative perspective fitting to all movie enthusiasts. The festival serves as a bridge to show the beauty and artistic capabilities of local and international filmmakers. 

QCinema is a perfect opportunity for anyone yearning to step up their game and showing their exceptional skills—leaving a mark in the film industry. 

Comments

Continue Reading

Features

Behind aesthetics are stories waiting to be unraveled

Being one of the oldest museums in the country, the UST museum has contributed to arouse the Filipino heritage and to represent the Thomasian identity. 

Published

on

In the quest of finding the path of your journey, it is important to look back to where and why you started. The history of what has been bleeds knowledge and contemplation. 

Upon entering the UST Museum, flashes of the past unveil the seed of a now verdurous institution. It is a reminder of how centuries were built on each other to establish a home for thousands of new dreams and ambitions. 

The University museum houses its natural history collection, some of its ethnography collection, paintings by Filipino artists, and religious objects. As one of the oldest museums in the Philippines, it has contributed to arouse the Filipino heritage and to represent the Thomasian identity. 

October is declared as the Museums and Galleries Month on the strength of the Presidential Proclamation no. 778 s. 1991. This provides an avenue to cultivate the national awakening of the Filipino culture and to also promote the rich and diverse artistic expressions of Filipino artists.

In an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb, Professor Carlo Sayco, Assistant Director of the UST Museum shared that museums and galleries should be celebrated because they offer alternative learning and education to students and to citizens. He also added that museums and galleries spearhead the promotion of the Philippine culture.

“‘Yung importance nung proclamation na ‘yon for me is actually establishing facilities like this, to further educate people na hindi ka lang confined sa four corners of the classroom, but also, you have alternative ways to learn with you seeing objects with their interpretations,” Prof. Sayco said.

Visual learning becomes an effective approach to advance the knowledge acquisition of a person. It enables a person to work their imagination and understanding at the same time. 

Furthermore, Sayco emphasized that art is beyond visuals. It is beyond aesthetics. Each work offers a rich story. Different connections and interpretations between the artwork and its visitors are evidence of its overflowing treasures. “Maraming makukwento ang bawat object, ang bawat artifact. And of course, ‘yung kwento rin ng bawat makakaintindi sa kanila, mag- iiba and that’s what makes it diverse, that’s what makes it rich,” he added. Art appreciation is established by having a personal view of the art and its interpretation—this is how art flourish and diversify.

An exhibit in the museum featuring works of art painted on acrylic eggs. Alexa Taay/TomasinoWeb

In terms of maintaining the museums, Sayco stated that the biggest challenge is to safekeep the collections. “Kapag may collection ka, especially nakikita mo ‘yung paligid naten, puro sila stuffed animals. Kailangan kapag may ganyan tayo, periodic ‘yung cleaning natin, periodic ‘yung maintenance natin.” Temperature and lighting also plays a role in preservation. The museum is set on a specific atmosphere or temperature to avoid ailments on the paintings and objects.

“So sa maintenance, I think periodic maintenance sa lahat ng collections ang ginagawa namin. That’s why every Monday, half of the day, the museum is closed.” On Mondays, their conservation team cleans the museum and checks on its content to prepare for a week of exhibit.

When asked about who is responsible for this task, Sayco answered, “We have a pool of people sa Conservation Lab namin, that are trained by our resident Conservator Ms. Maita Reyes, chemist s’ya. And then, s’ya ‘yung nagturo ng conservation theories and practices na ginagawa ng University to clean our objects.” Maita Reyes teaches conservation theories in Cultural Heritage Studies at the UST Graduate School. She spearheads the conservation aspects of the University. 

The team cleans and restores the objects that are impaired. For paintings that has acquired molds over time, it is cleaned and then painted on the damaged parts. “So parang nilinis mo muna, tapos finishing touches mo, hahabulin mo ‘yung kulay so that it could at least restore its original appearance kahit hindi na sya ‘yun ‘yung mismong kulay, pero at least man lang mahabol mo para bumagay sya,” Sayco explained.

The University museum securely harbors its collections for the succeeding batches of Thomasians to appreciate. Students of the University of Santo Tomas are encouraged by Sayco to visit and trace back the culture and history of the University. As the UST museum shelter the roots of the Thomasian identity, it strengthens the Thomasian spirit and pride. 

“The best thing is that abot-kamay mo na ‘yung UST museum. Andito ka lang. And besides, if you’re a Thomasian, this is your museum,” Sayco said. 

Immersing in different museums lets the students grasp the foundation of their community. Prof. Sayco advised, “Visit the ones inside your own home. You integrate the experiences you get here, you get from another one, and you get from another one. Then that makes it the whole complete museum experience.”

Comments

Continue Reading

Features

Cinestudyante 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

on

Photo from Santolan Town Plaza Facebook page

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 page

Producer: 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 Koe

Heist 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 Pablo

Photo from Garing ng 1PM Films Facebook page

Producer: 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 Eligado

Photo from UST Tiger TV Facebook page

Executive 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 Sulit

Beyond 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.”

 

These 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

Continue Reading

Trending