An experimental film from Mapúa University recently won the top prize at the 18th Piling Obrang Vidyo, an intercollegiate film competition managed by the University of the Philippines Cinema, a student film organization based at the UP College of Mass Communication in Diliman.
The triumph of “RAMBUTAN,” directed by third-year Digital Film student Shayla Claire Perales from Mapúa’s School of Media Studies (SMS), was enough to push her school back to its winning ways in the film festival circuit after a long drought during the pandemic.
This is Mapúa’s second Best Film victory at the UP filmfest following Celina Mae Medina’s “Ophelia” in 2019. Mapúan filmmakers Hiyas Bagabaldo (“Sins, Senses and Saints”), Tricia Sotaso (“Ang Pagkalaglag ng Ginintuang Salamin ng Pagkakilanlan”), and Lloyd Reyes (“Ang Mambabarang at ang mga Taong Pinatay sa Limot”) took home POV’s Best Experimental Film prize in 2016, 2017, and 2019, respectively. SMS Multimedia Arts alumna Beverly Ramos also won Best Documentary at POV for “Dory” in 2018.
Perales, who submitted “RAMBUTAN” to Dr. David Corpuz as a project for Experimental Film Production, previously received a Special Citation for Subject Matter for the same film from the VanGarde Experimental Film Festival last year. It is a collaboration between Perales and her fellow writer, cinematographer, and editor Shiela Mae Tanagon. Composer Ryan Mangaliag provided original music.
Perales shared that she cannot express how grateful she is for the award and how unexpected it is. “RAMBUTAN is a very dear film to me because its concept came from my little brother, Shawn. He went into my room before and asked me, ‘Ate, gusto mo Covid?’ and then handed me a rambutan. From there, the film was born!” Her brother likened the appearance of the edible fruit to the coronavirus.
In the film, a rambutan interacts with an orange and suddenly doubles its number. The oranges rot every time they interact with a rambutan. Bananas use their capabilities to clean the rambutans and help address the chaos, to no avail. Fruits start to protect themselves with plastic, but others still die.
Meanwhile, De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde film majors CM Bautista, David Edric Collado, and Xyron Parapara hauled six major prizes this year. Bautista bagged the Jury Prize and Best Screenplay for “Pig’s Game” while actor James Ramada was awarded Best Performance for the same film. Collado’s “Salamin” secured Best Editing and Best Sound Design while Parapara’s “Taya” got the Viewers’ Choice award.
Kukay Zinampan of UP Diliman earned Best Direction for “Nang Maglublob Ako sa Isang Mangkok ng Liwanag,” a tale of two friends who ponder on mundane things during the pandemic. The film also merited Best Production Design and shared Best Performance award for Jzar Tabilin and Serena Magiliw.
Sophie Casasola of Far Eastern University won Best Cinematography for “Waltz of Qualm” by Francis Tavas. “Tara, Laro Tayo!” by Ben Francis De Lima and Patrick Demition of the University of Santo Tomas was awarded Best Music/Original Score.
“Mga Salitang Inanod” by Gabriel Carmelo of UP Los Baños received the Cinemasters’ Choice award or garnering the highest number of votes among UP Cinema members while “An Eidolon Named Night” by Hans Piozon of UP Diliman was given the Lansangan Award for best embracing this year’s POV theme.
The POV XVIII jury is composed of filmmakers Carla Pulido Ocampo and Ligaya Villablanca, actress Therese Malvar, and film critic Jason Tan Liwag.