Shorts fest as creative protest
It is hardly coincidental that the Pink Shorts film festival will be held in the same weekend as the 32nd anniversary of the Edsa people power revolution.
As festival director Rhadem Morados would put it, an event that showcases LGBT-themed short films is a form of “creative protest against those who want to silence and push us into the shadows.”
Morados explained that the fest, which is part of Manila Biennale, aims “to lend a voice to and provide a platform for emerging LGBT artists and stories … to empower the community to become ambassadors for the cause.”
The first-ever Pink Shorts Manila is organized under the auspices of Short+Sweet International and is made possible in partnership with the Australian Embassy. Established in Australia, Short+Sweet is a global festival brand that champions various forms of artistic endeavors—from theater to dance and music.
In the Philippines, Short+Sweet is spearheading a festival of plays and short films, set on Feb. 24 and 25 at the Teatrillo in Casa Manila, Intramuros.
Morados pointed out that the six short films in the lineup “revolve around the family, tackling issues like childhood trauma, sexual orientation and identity discovery.”
He admitted that there were not so many LGBT short films in the Philippines. He tapped various industry insiders to recommend possible entries and he narrowed down the list to six.
Included in the shorts fest are Ralph Lauren Quincena’s “Ma?,” Glib Baldoza’s “Nandito Naman Tayo Para sa Isa’t Isa, ’Di Ba?,” Adeline Clemente’s “TRANSParent,” Chloe Veloso’s “Ang Gugmang Ti-unay ni Daniella” (Daniella’s True Love), Cha Roque’s “What I Would’ve Told My Daughter If I Knew What to Say Back Then” and Carl Adrian Chavez’s “Sorry for the Inconvenience.”
“Ma?” centers on a boy looking for his mother during a blackout. “Nandito Naman Tayo” follows a drug-dealing gay couple as they celebrate their anniversary in a time of Tokhang. “TRANSParent” focuses on an OFW dad who returns home as a woman. “Ang Gugmang” recounts a gay person’s misadventures in searching for true love.
“What I Would’ve Told My Daughter” is an experimental documentary inspired by the filmmaker’s failed attempt to come out to her child. “Sorry for the Inconvenience” tells the story of a meek teener who fights back against a bully, only to end up mired in dire consequences.
Morados asserted that it was vital to keep telling LGBT stories onscreen. “Representation is always important.” Whenever inspiring and thought-provoking LGBT films are shown locally, “it gives the community a sense of empowerment, to continue living free and true …”
Through these films, viewers will learn about the lives and struggles of the members of the LGBT community. “Just like the rest of us, gay people are also capable of loving and believing in a better future.”
He also hopes that this venture will motivate other artists “to create more LGBT plays and films, to support the movement.”
The annual Short+Sweet International Film Festival will be held in Los Angeles in June. “We usually bring a filmmaker to Hollywood, to experience the scene and screen his films in front of a bigger and wider audience.” The occasion will also allow the filmmaker “to network and find potential investors for his or her next project.”
Perhaps the Pink fest will also have the chance to expand in the near future, Morados remarked. “By keeping this festival going … it will hopefully become a place that members of the LGBT community can call home. We no longer need to live in the shadows—alone and silent.”