Filipino students' short film wins award in Seoul

Posted at 01/21/14 9:53 AM

The Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO), a group of Filipino students, participated in the 48-Hour Film Project-Seoul (48HFP).

SEOUL -- A short film made by a group of Filipino students in South Korea recently won an award at the 48-Hour Film Project-Seoul (48HFP).

A team led by the Pinoy Iskolars sa Korea (PIKO) joined the competition, which is open to amateur and professional filmmakers who are supposed to create a short film from scratch and finish it within 48 hours -- from scriptwriting, shooting to editing. Each team is assigned a genre, character, prop, and one line of dialogue which has to be included in the film.

The team's short film "Watching Over", a story of a girl who encounters an unexpected hero, received the Best in Cinematography award last December 14.

"Winning the 'Best in Cinematography' award is such a great deal for us, particularly in a competition where majority of the participants are professional production companies," said PIKO Team Leader Eva Marie Wang.

"This experience taught us that collective effort and aspiration can be rewarded in ways we can't imagine. What is needed is the initiative to step forward, risk and believe," she added.

Seoul was one of the many stops of the 48 Hour Film Project 2013 tour, which is said to be the world's largest timed filmmaking competition.

PIKO was the only Filipino team that participated in the 48HFP-Seoul, which started on November 29, 2013. Prior the competition, PIKO was also one of the two 48HFP teams which were given special sponsorship from Rauhmel Fox of whomentors.com, a US-based company for the team's registration fee.

PIKO was challenged to create a short film with “superhero” as a genre. As part of the competition, the short film had to include required elements: a jobless character, a cup of coffee as prop and the dialogue, "That's how the ball bounces".

After 48 hours, 25 teams out of the 32 participants submitted their short films on time.

PIKO submitted the short film "Watching Over" with only 15 minutes to go before the deadline.

Mon Garilao, a Filipino exchange student at University of Seoul and an Asian Film Academy 2013 Fellow, served as the team’s director.

"Participating in the 48Hour Film Project in Seoul with PIKO was truly a unique and unforgettable experience. I have never imagined staying up all night outside, shooting a film, on a negative four degree weather! Despite the fact that we were in a foreign country, our "Bayanihan" spirit was very evident while we were working under pressure and that helped us overcome the challenges of this competition," said Melanie Adan, an MA Mass Communication student who served as the second assistant director for the team.

The 23-member cast and crew also included Cherish Maningat, a Filipino professional musical theater actress in Korea, as well as three Koreans and a Romanian.

"Despite various difficulties and differences, we were able to work together in completing the film. Last year’s experience served as a good lesson for us. And despite being an amateur group, the trust that people have extended to us, especially in raising production funds motivated us to challenge ourselves forward," Wang said.

There are plans to submit "Watching Over" to other film festivals in the US this year.