Honoring young talents in filmmaking

Acclaimed director Brillante Mendoza was one of the jurors at the recently concluded CineMaybank Short Film Competition, a flagship event that honored budding filmmakers from the country’s top colleges and universities.

Despite his busy schedule, Mendoza still allotted time to mentor the students who participated in the film event. From screenplay to post production, the 57-year-old film director made sure that participants were well guided and that they had the proper tools to meet the requirements of the inaugural short film competition. He critiqued them in a positive manner and motivated them to come up with better ideas and viewer-friendly masterpieces.

“Early this year, executives of Maybank approached and asked me for my idea about putting up short film fest. Then I said I wanted to get involved from conceptualization to editing process. I wanted to train the participants especially when I learned that it’s open to young students,” Mendoza told Manila Standard after the awarding ceremony held on Friday at the Maybank Performing Arts Theater in BGC in Taguig City.

Maybank President Choong Wai Hong (leftmost) and Brillante Mendoza (rightmost) join the crew of Blind Production, the student film outfit behind the short film “Bente”

Reason why the film director was hands-on in training the students was because he wanted the participants to come up with “professional works.”

“Our goal was to inspire budding filmmakers because they somehow reminded me of my experience when I was making my first film. I had no proper tools and the kind of support these students were getting right now. So, we believe we can produce good films through this event.  Although they’re still students, we wanted them to come up with professional work that if people saw the films, they wouldn’t think that they’re just student projects. It’s a good thing that Maybank’s vision is aligned with my film foundation’s vision that’s why it’s easy for us to collaborate in this program,” he added.

And surprisingly, Mendoza further said, the films produced were very insightful and seemed to reflect the collective mindset of the young filmmakers. The themes were varied and reflected a close affinity with society’s day-to-day issues.

“It’s a mature viewpoint. It’s obvious that the students were very serious in becoming professional filmmakers in the future,” the director added.

CineMaybank Short Film Competition winner, “Bente,” a film directed by Micah Andrea Donesa of San Sebastian College – Recolletos

According to Mendoza, he had worked closely with the CineMaybank participating students for almost five months. They had gone through a film workshop with him for two months and another three months for the conceptualization of their films before they went to the final touches during the post-production.

Out of 24 entries from 10 participating schools, four students were honored during the culmination of the event on Oct. 18 for the individual category. The winners were: Micah Andrea Donesa, Outstanding Direction for Bente (San Sebastian College – Recoletos; Al-Jhun Romel Virgo, Outstanding Screenplay for Pasasalamat (Polytechnic University of the Philippines Manila); Jamilla Chua, Outstanding production design for Avenida, Napupuno Ka ng Gracia (Far Eastern University); and Andrew Bon Lentejas, Outstanding Performance for Pugay (Ateneo de Manila University).

For the major awards, three films were honored as Best Short Films: Gunita, an entry from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde was awarded 3rd Short Best Film and won P15,000; Pasasalamat from PUP won 2nd Best Short Film and walked home with P30,000; and Bente, San Sebastian College – Recolletos, was recognized the Best Short Film and won P50,000.

“The winning film is heart-lighted take on children’s values as three boys take an adult-like attitude in coming to terms with the best use for a 20-peso bill they found in the playground. The film also met the criteria the competition was looking for,” Mendoza said.

The CineMaybank Short Film Competition is a flagship event that celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Maybank whose humble beginnings stand as strong pillars of its leadership in Asia today. The competition was created to discover visionary artists in this digital age.

“As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we wanted to give back and honor the best creative works. This film event was borne from our vision of humanizing financial services which hopes to widen the reach on enlightened film audience among our students,” said Choong Wai Hong, president and CEO of Maybank, in his welcome remarks during the CineMaybank’s awards night.

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