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SMS hosts 19th CineMapúa Student Short Film Festival

Article by: Alexandra Isabelle G. Delavin and Robert Kobe T. Garcia


Continuing the celebration of student filmmakers amidst the pandemic, the School of Media Studies (SMS) held its 19th CineMapúa Student Short Film Festival with 25 local and four international short film finalists via YFilms of Yuchengco Museum last November 23 to 28, 2021.


Conceptualized by SMS Dean and CineMapúa Chairman Benigno B. Agapito, Jr . in 2002, CineMapúa is the longest-running student short film festival in the country. The student short film festival event aims to showcase the students’ skills and appreciate the value of filmmaking. This year, the committee also introduced the World Short Film Section for international student filmmakers. Adding to this feat, the competition received over a hundred entries – the highest it has received since the film festival was established.


Advocacy filmmaker Seymour Sanchez, actress Elora Españo, and film and music video director James Robin Mayo were the panel of judges for this year’s CineMapúa.


Graphics by: Cristelle S. Corpuz and Andreah Faye G. Lapinid


Collegiate Category


For the collegiate category of the film competition,  “Sina Alexa, Xander at Ang Universe” by Vahn Leinard Pascual from De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) bagged the Cardinal Gold Film Award, Cardinal Best Performance of an Actor (Vahn Leinard Pascual) and Cardinal Best Film Editor (Corlisse Nicolas), and Cardinal Best Production Designer (Melissa Cuarderno and Ralph Mojica). The said film is about two siblings who set up their room similar to a Miss Universe pageant and secretly pretend to be one of its contestants.


Relaying a story about a female nurse who wants to help COVID-19 victims, “Miss Informed” by University of the Philippines (UP) Open University’s Earvic Noay received six awards, namely the Cardinal Silver Award, Cardinal Best Director (Earvic Noay), Cardinal Best Screenwriter (Jodie Dantes and Earvic Noay), Value of Social Reality Award, Cardinal Best Production Designer (Catherine Chiu), and third place for Most Viewed Film.  


“Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” by Shiri Francesca de Leon from Meridian International Business, Arts and Technology (MINT) College garnered four awards during the event. The short film about an old woman who was labeled as the “Old Virgin” in their town was given the Cardinal Bronze Award, Cardinal Best Performance of an Actress (Ruby Ruiz), Cardinal Best Sound and Music Scorer (Shiri de Leon, Darlene Ballano, and Bryant Gali), and was also the second most viewed film. 


Based on the ancient Greek comedy of the same name by Aristophanes, “Lysistrata” by UP Diliman’s John Patrick Manio won the Cardinal Best Cinematographer (Jerome Ignacio) and Most Gender-Sensitive Film Award. Meanwhile, “The Congressus” by Mapúan Jan Darryl Villafuerte was the Audience Choice for Film Teaser and was the most viewed film during the festival. The said film centered around a kid who tries to escape his own doppelganger. 


Winners for other special awards include “Manyaok” by Kate Villanueva from UP Visayas the recipient of the Cultural Heritage Award, “Blood Stew” by Aaron Neil Domingo from Far Eastern University for Audience Choice for Film Poster, “Bycatch” by Jerico Felicilda from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines for Animated Narrative Picture Award, and “Silang Mga Naligaw sa Limot” by Vahn Leinard Pascual from DLS-CSB with a Special Jury Award.  


High School Category 


As for the high school category, “Ilaw”, which is about a woman who is a caretaker of a destructed and colorless house and two mysterious lost children, by FEU’s Aldwin Jerico Atutubo received the Cardinal Gold Film Award. The film also received five more awards including Cardinal Best Cinematographer (Stephen Dominic Bonifacio), Cardinal Best Sound and Music Scorer (Jan Angelo Segador and Donelle Serrano), Cardinal Best Performance of an Actress (Teri Lacayanga), and Cardinal Best Production Designer (Althea Luna Van Waoi) and the Cardinal Excellence in Film Award.


“Dapithapon” by Sienna College of Taytay Rizal’s Ethan John Dela Cruz and Marie James Palisoc is about the main character’s struggles including moving forward from her sister’s untimely death. The said film bagged six awards including the Cardinal Silver Film Award, Cardinal Best Director (Ethan Dela Cruz and MJ Palisoc), Cardinal Best Film Editor (Ethan Dela Cruz), Audience Choice for Film Poster, Audience Choice for Film Teaser, and was the most viewed film. 


Following the story of a young man who has lived in a bunker his entire life but suddenly connects with the outside world in the year 2037, “Sa Labas” by Jadrien Marc Morales from MINT College won the Cardinal Bronze Film Award, Cardinal Best Director (Jadrien Morales), and Cardinal Best Production Designer (Jadrien Morales and Kyle Bryan Bumatay) with their entry “Sa Labas”.


“Ahmad & Abdul” by Mindanao State University - Malabang Community High School’s Muhaliden Cawi garnered four awards during the ceremony. The short film about the two young men dream to end the problem on clan feud took home the Cardinal Best Screenwriter (Norjannah Haron), Cardinal Best Performance of an Actor (Abdul Fais Boloto), Value of Social Reality Award, and ranked third for the Most Viewed Film. Moreover, “Babo Kikasoy” by Nabelah Dimaocom from the same school secured the Cultural Heritage Award with a story revolving around family. 


Portraying a story of two best friends who got into a quarrel, “Orpheus” by General Santos City National Secondary School of Arts and Trades’ Vince Ivan Vesiete was awarded the Most Gender-Sensitive Film. Furthermore, “Lente” by University of Perpetual Help System Laguna Campus’ (Tereon Jay Tulaña), the second most viewed film, tells a story of a street photographer who witnesses a crime that leads to a consequence.


World Short Film Section


Alongside the collegiate and high school categories, CineMapúa recently introduced the World Short Film Section, an exhibition category that is open to all foreign student-filmmakers globally. This year, four international films were chosen, namely “Grandma's Tale of the Magical Outenga” by Rishab Thakur from India, “My Black Heart” by Garush Ghazaryan from Armenia, “Split” by Kang Zheng Shueen from Malaysia, and “Tears of Gold” by Richie Chooi from Taiwan.


First, “Grandma's Tale of the Magical Outenga” is about an elephant apple fruit born to a king and queen. Next, “My Black Heart” tells a story of a resident of Yerevan who struggles financially but prepares for his father’s 100th anniversary. “Split” focuses on the protagonist who has a split personality. Lastly, “Tears of Gold” centers around a woman who receives a call from her fiancé’s mother that changes her perspective.


During the awards night last December 4, SMS Dean Agapito emphasized how the film festival has empowered students to create quality stories despite the pandemic. “CineMapúa reminds them that stories have no boundaries and limitations […]  film narratives are there to shape up people’s lives and characters,” he said. 


CineMapúa Vice Chairman Dr. Melvin N. Espineda also imparted an inspirational message to all the winners. “What tonight means is not the highlight of create or prosper of such an award received, but instead, accentuating the individuality on how far you set your limit,” he stated.

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