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Viddsee fetes PH short films

/ 12:15 AM October 07, 2018

From left: Juror Amir Muhammad, Viddsee cofounder Ho Jia Jian, actress Divine Aucina, director Ruelo Zendo, jurors Cherie Gil and Ben Thompson

Filipino short films are here for the long haul.

According to Nikki Loke, Viddsee’s head of content, the local short filmmaking scene “has grown in many ways—rapidly, competitively and positively.”

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On its second year, the Viddsee Juree Awards continues to celebrate Filipino short filmmakers.

Viddsee, a Singapore-based video entertainment platform that specializes in Asian short films, awarded the Gold prize to Ruelo Zendo’s “Divine XY” and the Silver to Christian Rae Villanueva’s “The Lessons of the Night” in a ceremony held at the FDCP Cinematheque recently.

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Jury member Ben Thompson, shorts programmer of the Tribeca Film Festival, cited Zendo’s work for its “strong and unique voice,” in telling a story “with humor and heart.”

Meanwhile, another jury member, writer-filmmaker Amir Muhammad of Malaysia, commended Villanueva’s film for being “taut and skillfully controlled … the narrative unfolds in an almost elliptical, but wholly satisfying manner.”

Completing the jury is Filipino actress Cherie Gil, who encouraged the 10 finalists to keep pursuing their passion. “Join events where you can meet other artists and filmmakers… These days, anybody can have access to digital film cameras. The short films on Viddsee are just the beginning.”

She noted that she was “impressed with the prizes … things that allow you to continue to network and create more.”

The Gold and Silver winners received film production grants worth P160,000 and P80,000, respectively, along with audio equipment provided by RØDE Microphones.

As bonus, the Gold winner also bagged the Global Film & TV Program, a five-day intensive training package in Los Angeles, sponsored by the Motion Picture Association.

All 10 finalists also received a 12-month Creative Cloud All Apps subscription worth US$560 each from Adobe.

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“Tears of the Stars”

Apart from the top two honorees, an Audience Choice Award was also given to Kenneth de la Cruz’s “Tears of the Stars,” which garnered the most number of “likes” on Viddsee.com during a two-week period.

Loke explained that entries in both the first and second editions of the tilt “mirrored contemporary issues affecting Filipino society.”

“This year’s films, however, showed a mature and nuanced approach to these same issues by portraying how they have affected people’s lives in real and relatable ways,” she pointed out.

Loke asserted that the Philippines is rich in filmmaking talent.

“We see young filmmakers, with bold, inventive and creative ideas, who challenge themselves by thinking out of the box—literally, adopting new technologies such as shooting with drones, like last year’s special mention winner, Glenn Barit’s ‘Aliens Ata.’”

This year’s batch, Loke clarified, tackled “big issues like religion, family, gender identity, poverty and sexuality … from the heart.”

Thompson agreed, lauding the filmmakers for presenting “a wide and diverse range of stories and styles … from horror to LGBTQ to comedy.”

Zendo’s 14-minute comedy follows a young jobseeker who was misidentified as male in her paperwork. Zendo said his film is “a message for people … to be open to other possibilities and accept the changes that could affect their lives.”

Villanueva’s 15-minute drama centers on a depressed teacher who tries to reclaim her baby from her estranged husband. Villanueva elaborated: “This film is a love letter to all single mothers. I grew up with a single mom, so I wanted my film to be about my mother.”

Loke remarked: “Viddsee was founded to curate the best stories from around the world, with an Asian focus. Stories from the Philippines are extremely popular on our platform, and are viewed by many around the world.”

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TAGS: Filipino short films, Nikki Loke, Viddsee, Viddsee Juree Awards
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