Day 3 – Lilas Binisaya (Pitching Workshop)

Earlier today, we attended a seminar on pitching for full length films hosted by Lilas Binisaya. The pitching seminar ” How to Pitch for a Full Length Film Grant” was hosted by none other than Mr. Emmanuel de la Cruz, an award-winning director and scriptwriter known for producing some of the most popular mainstream films in the Philippines.

All throughout the seminar, I observed how enthusiastic Mr. De la Cruz was in discussing the films he has watched, is watching, intent on watching, and the films he’s producing. In fact, his frequent catchphrase is “I’m excited” and this excitement is infectious.

He’s a cinephile, but he’s not just any cinephile. He’s a cinephile who’s truly passionate about films and their elements. He’s a cinephile who’ll watch at least 7 films in a week and who’ll perform lines off a musical he loves (he actually sang lines off The Sound of Music during his discussion). He’s the cinephile who’d watch classics over and over again and inspect their elements.

This is what makes him really good at what he does. His excitement is contagious, hence it’s easy for him to convince others to buy his pitches. He also sees the potentials in each pitch given to him. I think, personally, this is what makes him a great filmmaker. I believe filmmakers have to continue to be fuelled by that passion, that excitement, or else the lack of it comes out of every work.

Here are some of his statements I transcribed during the seminar.

“I watched everything I was allowed to watch”

“I really look for the films that are nourishing to me…because they speak a particular voice. They are educational”

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“Studios need a creative think tank. They get the best and turn them into a team of zombies.”

“Actually, we’ve seen themes like these before, but it’s a matter of how these are pitched.”

“We are all great storytellers. We have great stories, but how do we harness them? How do you ignite your passion to create something?

The Filipino society is so driven by story. But it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t do something to make them feel they could relate.”

“The film is a metaphor.”

“If the movie is not something you could connect with, then it means nothing. The goal is to capture the audience and get them to connect with them.”

He also explained that the pitch only involves two primary parts: the Narrative Line and the Thematic Line.

PITCH
Narrative Line
What is the plot? What is the story narrative? How is it different from the other stories? Be specific!!

Thematic Line.
What is the story REALLY about.

The thematic line changes depending on who wrote it. If Shakespeare wrote it, it might be a tragedy. You have to make it real to the audience.

“The chains you have on yourself is stronger than whatever chain any torturer could put on you. The devil is stronger on the inside.”

“An artist will always be a beginner. A great artist is always an amateur at everything and anything s/he does.”

“If you have a good pitch, you have weapon.”

“Go back to your fairy tales”

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Taking a selfie with the one and only Mr. Emmanuel de la Cruz!

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We were also very fortunate to have conversed with Mr. Al Evangelio – one of the pioneers in Cebuano filmmaking. He’s a producer, screenwriter, playwright, and director and he’s also known for the critically-acclaimed Calamba Joe (a play about the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal).

He attended the seminar and expressed how delighted he was to see so many young and interested students. He expressed his dismay about the lack of financial support for local filmmakers because he knows and understands just how difficult it is to make good film.
We were basically fangirling over him. Jennie and I asked him if he’s okay with us getting a photo with him, then he asked if we also participated in the film competition.

We explained that we did and when we told him that we made “Erlinda”, he remarked that he “enjoyed” our film and that he liked it as much as he liked the award-winning Cebuano film “Saranghae, My Tutor”.

He told us that he appreciated how we tried to put depth in our film. He then asked us what camera we used since we told him there were only 4 of us in the team. He actually looked quite amused when we told him that we only used a cellphone camera for the filming of “Erlinda”. Indeed, resources are scarce and we told him that we’re really just amateurs (to which he replied with “that’s how we all start”).

We felt elated as soon as we had the photo.

When he told us he appreciated our film, that is truly more than enough for us. We explained that our only goal is to have our film screened in the cinema and have people see it. So, for him to say that is truly a big deal for us.

Imagine, a film veteran actually thought nicely of our film! I mean, we’re happy to have had it screened, but to actually hear it from someone you admire as an artist…wow. No words can express our feelings. We felt like crazy fangirls who received a wink from their pop idol!!

He told us to keep in touch and when I messaged him to express our gratitude, he sent this response:
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Gaaaaaa!!! All our feels! Hahaha

No words can express how happy we were. I mean, I’m easily pleased. I get happy over the tiniest things. But this, this is a big deal. This is a really cool message from one of the artists we look up to! He’s amazing!

Needless to say, we were all quite delighted and inspired.

Win or lose, we’ll keep on making films.
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xoxo
Sheree

Kuting-Kuting (2010) Trailer

http://vimeo.com/m/47162263

Pia, a History student and aspiring filmmaker, meets a mysterious musician on the streets of Iloilo, and proceeds to make him the star of her class documentary. But as she struggles to finish her documentary, Pia soon discovers that the music he plays is quickly becoming as elusive as the musician himself.

This is UPV Indie Org’s entry in the very first Ilonggo Short Film Competition. 2010 (c).

Directed by Myra Escoro and Sheree Tampus
Written by Genevieve Caberte and Erlyn Bayonita
Featuring Virgilio “Pirot” Pecheller, Genevieve Caberte, Rhoda Garzon
Edited by Myra Escoro, Sheree Tampus, Stephanie Suarez, Candy Flor Talidano, Jimma Totesora, Wila Mentino
Master Editor: John Raymund Macahilas

xoxo
Sheree

Day 2 – Lilas Binisaya Film Festival

It’s Day 2 of the film festival and a lot of people turned out to support the respective films in competition! Of course, I’m waaaaay biased so I only took photos of our film.

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But you really can’t blame me. This is the first time I have personally seen one of our short films screened on an actual cinema!

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This is the first film produced by Comfortable Confusion Productions, so we’re all seriously psyched.

I actually teared up a bit when I realized this is our production’s first cinematic debut.

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I almost cried when I realized how historic of a moment this is. We’re watching our first Comfortable Confusion film in the oldest movie house in Cebu!

This is also the first film we made that we’ve personally witnessed in a cinema. It’s the culmination of weeks of hard work (and cramming!). Imagine shooting videos using phone cameras, and only a total of 4 people in the production crew!

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So many of our friends were also very supportive. Some of them actually went to the cinema to watch the film (they were also biased so they thought ours was “the best ever”) and I’m just so happy they were there. So many people also supported us in our Facebook page too. It’s just so overwhelmingly exciting! All the love, baby. All the love!

Oh dear, it was honestly very overwhelming.

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It’s just…this is our baby and people are actually watching it AND they think it’s funny! They actually think it’s funny! Our humor isn’t that dry after all!

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We actually don’t care if we win or not. Truth be told, there are lots of amazing films screened in the competition and they deserve to win in their own right. I’m actually rooting for a few. I’m just personally very happy that we got to do this and we managed to show it in front of so many people. Also, just the fact that we witnessed our film on an actual cinema screen is an award in an of itself (how often do I have to repeat that?).

Oh dear…all my feels!

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Oh, wait, do you hear that annoying sobbing sound? Yes, that’s me wailing and bawling my eyes out crying tears of happiness. Excuse me as I embarrass myself for crying and going sentimental.

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Okay, I’m fine. I can breathe normally now.

Thanks for enduring this post with me. I just finished hyperventilating. I’m okay now. Haha

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xoxo
Sheree

Day 1 – Lilas Binisaya Film Festival

Today marked the first day of the Lilas Binisaya Film Festival at Cine Oriente Theater in the Colonnade Mall.

Before the event started, my brother bought me this gift!

It’s a clapper! It’s a fucking clapper!! Oh gosh, no matter how the festival turns out, I’m happy. My brother is the best ever!

The event started at 5pm. The film directors for the participating films were requested to register and were each given festival kits. Each kit contained a copy of the program schedule, a free Lilas Binisaya shirt, stickers, and 2 film festival publications. Unfortunately, the kits are only available for the directors of the participating films. Since I’m the only one who could get a kit for the Erlinda production team, the kit’s contents will be divided amongst the members of Comfortable Confusion Productions.

Since I arrived relatively early, I had time to go around and get to know some of the organizers and participating filmmakers in the event. In fact, the first person I actually managed to talk to as soon as I arrived was the event’s Festival Director, Ms. Maria Victoria Beltran, who also introduced me to Mr. Carey Rothman – one of the judges in the short film competition and the head of Film Media Arts International Academy (FMA) in Cebu. The FMA will award a film scholarship to whoever wins the short film competition. This is just one of the prizes to be given to the competition’s grand winner, along with the chance to participate in Cinema Rehiyon + P10,000 grand prize.

After the registration, the participating filmmakers were asked to join the ribbon cutting for the culmination of the festival. Several of Lilas Binisaya’s media partners took photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony and of the activities in the event itself.

During the cocktails/snacks, I was fortunate to have had a chance to meet one of the Philippines’ award-winning veteran actress, Ms. Pilar Pilapil.

In her speech later on at the event opening, Ms. Pilapil expressed in Cebuano her faith in the Cebuano’s ability to enrich culture using pelikulang binisaya. She encourages every struggling Cebuano artist, filmmaker, actor/actress, screenwriter, producer, and dreamer to “always strive for excellence because we are all capable of it”. She also expressed her belief in the skills and talents of every Cebuano, encouraging each and every one of us to immortalize the culture of Cebu and showcase it to the nation. After all, Cebu is one of the earliest haven for artists and filmmakers and that’s how she believes it should continue to be.

After Ms. Pilapil gave her inspiring speech, the Lapunti Arnis de Abanico gave a very exciting performance.
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They proudly showcased the traditional Filipino martial arts in graceful strokes. I actually kinda wished I knew how to fight using Arnis, and they just made that wish burn stronger in my heart lol.

By 8:30pm, the film Ang Manok ni San Pedro was screened. According to the Q&A regarding the film, it was originally shot using 8mm film and was formatted to meet the standard 35mm film size back then.

Watching this film is like going on a ride on a time machine. For one, Ang Manok ni San Pedro is one of the first technicolored films in the Philippines. It’s also the first technicolored film in Cebuano. This was a big deal back then because most of the theaters showcased black and white silent motion pictures.

What also makes the film screening even more interesting is the fact that it was screened in the Cine Oriente Theater owned by the Avila family. The theater has had a long, long history in Philippine cinema. Located in the heart of the first commercial street in the Philippines, Colon Street, Colonnade Mall’s Cine Oriente Theater was established in 1895 by governor Inocencio Junquera as Teatro Junquera and was used as an appropriate venue for plays and musicals. Eventually, it came to be known as Teatro Oriente and it became the Cebuanos’ favorite venue for stageplays such as Vicente Sotto’s Gugma sa Yutang Natawhan (Love for the Motherland).

By 1939, the Teatro became Cebu’s premier playhouse for silent cinema. It was renamed Cine Oriente by Don Jose Avila when he purchased it in the 1920s. Eventually, the theater burned down during the Japanese invasion and has since then been through several major renovations. Among these is the installation of Dolby Digital Surround Sound, new digital projectors, and the management of the Colon Heritage Realty Corp.

Best of all, one of the veteran pioneers im Cebuano filmmaking, Mr. Julian Daan (who also stars as the lead character, Teban, in Ang Manok ni San Pedro) graced us with his presence. He was even very accommodating and helpful in providing insightful ideas into Cebuano filmmaking and adapting to the changing demands of the Filipino public. He passionately supports local films and is truly an inspiration to each and every Cebuano filmmaker.

As such, the film screening is the closest thing to traveling through time at that moment. Imagine, watching one of the pioneering Cebuano technicolored films in the oldest movie theater in Cebu at the first commercial street in the Philippines. That in itself is amazing.

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Now, imagine this historic site as a venue for our films on the 29th! Just the thought of seeing our film expanded to the big screen is exciting! It will be the first time we’ll personally witness a film production on a real movie screen, so…OMG! It’s overwhelming!

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Our film, Mga Huna Huna Ni Erlinda, will be screened on the 29th of November at the Cine Oriente Theater in Colonnade Mall! It's for free, so go watch it!

xoxo
Sheree

Shopaholic

Most girls love shopping. I’m not an exception.

I love the thrill of looking through clothes, shoes, and bags, sniffing the wonderful “newly stacked” fragrance wafting through the “Sale” aisles. I love the cut of each fabric, the feel of each texture against my skin, the bold cuts and colors…even the tiny price tags attached attached to them. I love them all.

What I love the most? Sales and Bargain Sales!

What I love better? Prizes that go along with every purchase!

I know, it’s totally materialistic. If you’re cringing at how similar this is to “Confessions of a Shopaholic” then I can understand and I can’t blame you. I love shopping, but even I cringe at that book and movie. It’s too materialistic and shallow…and I’m afraid I could be like that sometimes.

I’m afraid I can’t justify my love for shopping and express my distaste for “Confessions of a Shopaholic” because that would make me hypocritical. I can only say that I honestly and truly empathize with both sides of the coin. I dislike the shallowness of the “shopaholic” protagonist but I can’t blame her for her love of shopping.

I love shopping, I’m not going to deny that. It makes me feel happy. I believe in retail therapy, but I also know my limits. Whenever I overspend, I feel terrible. I could have bought more important things with the same amount of money.
But when I spend my money on a good cause or something that truly means a lot, then the cost hardly matters.

Fortunately, the book series and the movie are satires. I doubt anyone could be truly that shallow, and the protagonist tried to be less comical and less selfish in the end, which is good.

Personally, I try my best not to end up like her. I know there are more important things that could be bought by money, but I’m certainly not denying that I always feel elated when I go on the occasional retail therapy…because nothing just feels as good as buying something you truly want for yourself.

With that said, I won’t deny that I spent a lot when I went shopping last week. There was no occasion. I just had a card and we decided to buy things we usually couldn’t (because of time, etc). I bought jeans for a wardrobe update since I usually just have more shorts and skirts in my closet. I ended up getting a free travel journal from Wrangler, with the help of my sister and brother. We also bought shoes and shirts because, well, we rarely could. We also bought our little brother and our beloved nephew toys and gifts.

I feel bad for spending too much, but somehow, this week’s purchase was worth it. Besides, that 2015 travel journal looks lovely.

xoxo
Sheree