July 29, 2007. I attended three of the five 3rd Cinemalaya Film Congress panels last Tuesday and Wednesday. My blockmates and I have been attending (or have been required to attend) this Film Congress ever since the first one, when we were sophomore film students in 2005. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of the competing feature-length films in Cinemalaya, though I’ve seen some of the short film entries, when they were screened as thesis short films in UP.
Anyhow, I just noticed how the same questions appear to be asked year after year. After three years of going through it, one would naturally expect the discussions to be different every year, but the discussion on mainstream versus independent films persists.
Admittedly, the discussion progresses and points of view have become more varied, but somehow the forum continues to be an open consultation period for some Mass Comm students from different universities and their short video class projects. It can get pretty frustrating, especially when you’re itching to ask something you deem relevant then someone takes much of the open forum time asking a technical query on how to effectively light a subject for their class project.
Anyway, after the third panel discussion last Wednesday, I approached one of the panelists, Mike Sandejas, director of last year’s Cinemalaya Best Feature-Length Film Tulad ng Dati. He’s a fraternity brother in the Upsilon Sigma Phi. After introducing myself to him as a brod and a film student he immediately offered an invitation for me to work with him or help out in his productions. He now apparently works as a production manager and director for Unitel Pictures of Tony Gloria, another brod in the Upsilon. He also introduced me to another brod who was there with him, Lawrence Espinosa who’s a program director in the International Academy of Film and Television in Cebu.
During the second Cinemalaya Film Congress, it was Kidlat Tahimik who was present. Kidlat Tahimik is also an Upsilonian. Well, I wasn’t a brod yet back then and I didn’t have the guts to approach him. It can feel quite redeeming when you meet brods from your own field, just to prove that the frat isn’t really all lawyers, doctors and politicians as some people think.