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Student films on bullying vie in Japan

MANILA, Philippines—Three Filipino student films tackling the issue of bullying have been selected to compete in a regional student competition hosted by the Japanese government under its annual youth exchange program, the Japanese Embassy in Manila has announced.

In a statement, the embassy said the three selected films will compete with the work of other high school students from nine other countries in the Asian International Children’s Film Festival, an annual competition now on its seventh year.

The yearly filmmaking contest is part of the relaunched Japan-East Asia Network of Exchange for Students and Youth (Jenesys 2.0), a youth development initiative initiated by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007.

“The theme for this year is centered on bullying, and the student films deal with the different faces of bullying, the consequences and the challenge to stand up against it,” the Japanese Embassy said.

This year’s Philippine finalists include “Perishable Goods” by David Alexander Tabuena Gordon, Russ Earl Micah Malangen and Justin Daniel de Dios of La Salle Green Hills; “Salamat” by Sabrina Elysha Go Santos, Henzor Dauigoy and Genevie Abarsoza of Southville International School and Colleges, and “If Only…” by Mary Rose E. Brandon, Savannah Maria Lantay and Danielle Angela Montezon of The Living Epistle Christian Academy Inc.

The Japan Information and Culture Center and the Philippines’ National Youth Commission picked the finalists from 11 entries from various Philippine high schools this year.

The nine student filmmakers are set to fly to Japan on an all-expense paid eight-day trip to Japan from Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 to take part in the film festival and other cultural exchange activities.

The Philippine delegation will compete against films by students from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, China, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia and Burma (Myanmar) in the best amateur film category.

Last year, a film by James Francis Conda and Kyle Robert Vergara of San Beda College Alabang bagged second place in the Minister of Foreign Affairs Award at the film festival, the embassy said.

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