Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Q Short Film Festival

Take note of the Awards Night!

I'm no film critic. But due to the nature of my course, I'll play one for now....

After our 11am dismissal last Friday, I had four options: 

1. Go home early--because it was a Friday and it went with the hype of the Nazareno feast on Sunday; 
2. Stay at our office at Pax Romana for no concrete reason at all; 
3. Help out and chat with my colleagues at TOMCAT till I get bored; or 
4. Watch the film entries of the Q Short Film Festival--besides, January 7 is the last day of public screening for Thomasians.... 

Of all these, I chose the last out of curiosity. 

And because I watched the film entries of the different colleges (unfortunately, only a half of them), I'm compelled to pick the Top Five of my list: but that doesn't mean I rank 'em according to order! 

Anyway, let's start.... 

Lakbay (Journey) 
Produced and Directed by Christian de Leon 
Entry of the Conservatory of Music 

Basically, it's a story of a poor kid who aspires to be the greatest of violinists, and despite the barriers that block his dreams, he succeeds in doing so in a step-by-step matter. (Blogger's Note: the actress behind the character of the protagonist's mother--Ma. Antoniette "Tata" Cruz--is a friend of mine....) Winning factor: the music the fiddler played was AWESOME!

Guys...Baha Na! (Guys...It's Flooding!) 
Produced and Screen-played by Jayson So 
Entry of the College of Science 

As every Thomasian knows, the Sampaloc area--where the University stands--is a catch-basin of rainwater in downtown Manila; and in the mini-flick, a group of students are supposed to conduct their experiment should their professor show up, which didn't. Rain fell hard and floods rose and now, the group were trapped inside the Main Building, which is believed to be the most haunted of all structures in the campus due to its antiquity. What seemed to be a misfortune was aggravated and turned into a fight for survival, as they were abducted by an unknown ghost one by one, until they were nowhere to be found. Lesson: When in doubt, stick together.(?) Winning factor: The Ondoy experience was still fresh in the minds of those who were trapped inside the campus when the real thing happened; and So saw to it that the horror theme aggravates the psyche of the viewer.

Produced and Directed by Efraim Fernandez 
Entry of the College of Rehabilitation Sciences 

Nelson is a fictional(?) character who is an uneducated social outcast that lived outside UST's premises. Despite his illiteracy, he is trying hard to learn and study by himself. He also has one wish that he writes in a piece of paper and sends it into the air with a baloon: "Gusto kong mag-aral." (I wanted to study.) Winning factor: The quality of the clips and the message of social awareness that Fernandez attached in it. 

Krus (Cross) 
Directed by Rajiv Kalbit and Jake Bonnie Briones 
Entry of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery 

Kalbit and Briones' film is very Catholic among the entries because they interspersed parts of the Holy Mass in the individual sub-plots that transpired the short film: a Med student who didn't passed the Board Exam while the Kyrie is sung; a Tigress (specifically a female athlete on Volleyball) who is torn between reputation and responsibility with the Alleluia and Gospel Reading as a backgrounder; a seminarian who left behind the life of his father's shame to respond to the Lord's call as interpreted in the Offertory song; and an ex-scholar Engineering student and his desperate father in a dialogue while reciting the Pater Noster. These four characters have crossed their paths in a jeepney stick-up (Agnus Dei), and in the end, soon realized that the crosses they bear were necessary and instrumental for their fates: the first became a doctor; the second remained moral in letting her child live; the fourth was seen as an engineer while her father is serving his sentence for robbery and shooting the third character, who was later ordained as a priest. Winning factor: Colorful story and a very Catholic plot.

Behind the Scene
Produced by Jose Margo Flores
Entry of the Faculty of Arts and Letters

I describe this film as more than a "pa-simpleng" instructional video on how to produce a film. As it was described, it is a "QFilm within a QFilm". Though the story is typical--adventure mixed with romance and technicalities--Flores made a twist on this by infusing the painstaking challenge of five people to make an entry to the QFilm Festival (Take note: they are making their best in only three weeks!). With all the pressure of film production, and the stirred-up emotions of the casts, the entry also unleashes its reflectional worth by telling its audiences that the self is "the producer, director, cameraman, actor, and editor of one's own life" [sic]. Behind the Scene is exceptionally above the rest because it is more than a reflection of Thomasian life: It was connected to the challenges, setbacks, and successes of pre-production, production, and post-production in making a movie. Winning factor: Perkiness of the actors and actresses, exceptionally different storyboard from the other entries and its relativity to Thomasians as far as video projects are concerned.

So, there you have it: my Top Five mini-flicks with stories depicting the Thomasian life.

Now what's yours, or as the theme says: Ano'ng kwentong UST mo?

--Shoutout to the Facebook page of the UST Q Short Film Festival for the pics. God bless you, guys, and may the best film win!

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