Student filmmakers from the University of Santo Tomas have recently registered their mark in different local film festivals.
The short films “Heist School” (Last Minute Films) and “Gáring” (1PM Films) and the documentary “Beyond the Mats: The UST Salinggawi Journey” (Tiger Media Network) have competed in different film festivals such as Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, Cinestudyante, Maginhawa Film Festival, One La Salle Film Festival, and De La Salle University’s Indie Un-Film Festival.
“Heist School” bagged the Audience Choice award at this year’s Cinemalaya short film category. It also won Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Trailer and Best Sound in last year’s Sine Reel competition organized by the UST Communication Art Students’ Association. In addition, it was also officially selected to the IUF, the inaugural edition of the One La Salle Film Festival and the first Maginhawa Film Festival.
The short film tells the story of two best friends who form a group of students to steal their teacher’s answer key to their examination from the faculty room. Joedel (Jemuel Cedrick Satumba) and Omar (Bryan Bacalso) pull off every trick available to them as they try to save their friendship and themselves from the brink of failing high school. Providing support is Teri Lacayanga as their teacher Ms. Suzy, Ella Mae Libre as Reymarie, Son De Vera as Jerique, Brylle Parzuelo as Jacob, and Kevin Ramos as Edward.
Director Julius Renomeron Jr. teamed up with his classmates Johmar Damiles, Klaire Ellise Dulay, John Paolo Barrameda, Alvin Jamora, Keanu Managuas, Ezren Caneda, Pauline Carlos and Zhino Koe. They have been friends who have created short films long before their film production class in UST.
“Gáring,” on the other hand, brought home Second Best Picture, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Actress for Chin Jongko and Best Trailer at Sine Reel this year. After winning at Sine Reel, it was officially selected to the IUF and Cinestudyante. The short film tells the story of a loving mother who faces the hardest challenge of her life, pushing her to the brink of how far she will go to save her son.
Director Dan Pablo also took charge of lighting and editing the film, as he got ample support from production manager Katarina Mendoza, screenwriter Georgie Cerbolles, associate producer Ynna Dizon, assistant director and casting director Charlaine Mutia, fellow A.D. Emery Principe, production designer Shaira Calleja, casting director and location manager Alex Garcia and art director Barbara San Diego.
Meanwhile, “Beyond the Mats” is a documentary on the inspiring story of the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe. Dan Angelo Eligado directed, photographed and edited the documentary, with the help of executive producer Gwen Segarra, supervising producers Jomari Hernandez and Pauline Linsangan, writer Oscar David Poblete, co-editor Ma. Lynette Pamintuan, and production assistants Mivel Ambas, Charlene Jaranilla and Clarissa Sulit.
Aside from Sine Reel, UST holds two other student film festivals in the campus. Sine Abierto, formerly Sine Tomasino, is founded in 2015 and organized by the Thomasian Film Society, which counts Renomeron and Damiles as alumni. It was initially restricted to UST filmmakers, but after a year, a category was opened to non-Thomasians. On the other hand, Sining Sine is a film competition of the UST College of Fine Arts and Design for students enrolled in a film elective.
TFS President Kathleen Doblado hopes these film festivals will discover fresh new talents from among the Thomasian community and encourage them to join film festivals outside UST.