Sinepiyu Steers Aspiring Filmmakers

Written by Bernard Santos

With the movement and flow of the global health crisis gripping the country, Sinepiyu navigates the social currents and plugs in the life support for film industry. Short film is a good start for aspiring filmmakers to exhibit their creativity.

Now in its 14th year, Sinepiyu is Far Eastern University’s film festival that has maintained a benchmark of credibility as a university-based film competition, offering two divisions – All Tamaraws, and Interschool, which has three categories, namely Narrative, Documentary, and Experimental.

For this year, all the short films were streamed on the FDCP Channel. The festival had a lot to offer in terms of genre: coming of age, social commentary, family drama, comedy, science fiction, and experimental. Watching these short films makes us realize that the fire is still alive for students to showcase their creativity and tell their own story through cinema.

As a follower of university-based short film festivals, I can see that there is progress in terms of the diversity of stories that the filmmakers are telling, as well as in the technical aspects of the film like editing and cinematography.

The following are some of the notable Sinepiyu films that I was able to catch:

“Ilo” by Serafin Emmanuel Catangay is a scifi short film that showcases the art of driving the audience to imagination through stunning effects integrated with the heart of the story: the love of a father for his son and for the community.

“Bulawan” by Jermaine Tulbo shines with its simple yet powerful message on poverty and capitalism. The film holds you from start to finish and despite its shocking premises, it’s a good short film that deserves a watch, primarily for its good take on depicting two characters conflicting emotions.

“Lilibeth” has a sensitive subject matter, but director Shai Colanse tells it in a uniquely witty manner. You can hear the voice of the youth in this film, which leaves quite a mark with its strong social commentary.

“Pempem at ang Bomba Magazine” by Migs Ruallo is an audience pleaser that everyone can relate to. It’s a feel-good coming-of-age film that captures the feelings of curious young girls on the brink of adulthood.

“Ang Amomonggo Sa Aton” by VinJo Entuna stands out from the pack with its unique style of storytelling. The visuals, treatment and beat of the film are fresh, innovative, and progressive. It also gives us an interesting subject matter to think of in the form of a creature that is said to be the culprit behind the series of killings in a community.

Finally, “Top Fans” by Vien Dimaculangan is a very timely political satire and social commentary that has its fair share of laughs. It somehow summarizes what has been happening on social media during the campaign period and in so doing admirably serves its purpose of stirring its audience to reflect on the events surrounding us.

Despite the added challenges in filmmaking today, it’s good to know that we can still hear the voice of Pinoy cinema’s future visionaries in these university-based festivals. Fueled by artistic expression and limited only by its runtime, short films will continue to flow as an important part of storytelling and culture.


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