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PH short film director returns to Cannes

/ 12:15 AM April 22, 2018

Max Eigenman (left) with Brillante Ma Mendoza (seventh from left) and Raymund Ribay Gutierrez (eighth from left) on the set of “Judgement”

Young Filipino filmmaker Raymund Ribay Gutierrez returns to Cannes, where his latest work, “Judgement,” will vie for the top honor in the short film competition.

It’s Gutierrez’s second time to compete in the world’s glitziest festival, since his debut, “Imago,” which was also part of the short film tilt in 2016.

Gutierrez, who is a protégé of Cannes-winning director Brillante Ma Mendoza, told the Inquirer that he is “excited” to revisit the Palais. “It always feels like it’s the first time,” he quipped.

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“Judgement,” which tells the story of a battered wife (Max Eigenmann) who files a case against her husband (Kristofer King) will be up against short films from the United States, Iran, France, Poland, Japan, China and Australia.

The 25-year-old director, who has won various awards all over the world for “Imago,” explained that his latest film’s story hits close to home.

“I live in an environment where spousal abuse happens often. Sometimes, the case gets settled in an informal way; sometimes, money is involved. It bothers me that the community is not taking this problem seriously,” he remarked.

He feels strongly about the issue of domestic abuse, which has become “rampant” among Filipino couples.

“It’s as if it has become an accepted way of life in our society. There’s a deeper problem to be addressed once the victim comes out in the open and cries for help,” he noted.

As always, his mentors, Mendoza and acclaimed scriptwriter Armando “Bing” Lao, were on hand to guide him every step of the way. “Direk Brillante always gives me tips on directing, on how to make the characters more real.”

Lao, for his part, pitches in during the script development stage. “He’s very hands-on.”

His first Cannes experience, although exhilarating, was “exhausting,” as well, as he had to juggle several meetings and screenings at the same time. Learning his lesson, he said that he “would try a different strategy this time, to keep up with the schedules.”

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He plans to meet with potential coproducers for his next project in this year’s Cannes, which will be held in France from May 8 to 19.

“I cannot predict what will happen in Cannes,” he conceded. “I’m just going there to learn more about the film industry.”

In the last two years, Gutierrez believes he has become “more mature in handling topics, more precise in fleshing out the narrative, and more responsible in choosing which stories to tell.”

Is he raring to make his full-length feature film debut soon?

“That has always been the plan,” he asserted. “But I’m taking things slowly and waiting for the right time.”

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TAGS: Cannes, Judgement, Raymund Ribay Gutierrez
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