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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Saturday, August 17, 2013

entry arrow6:00 PM | Shorts!

So we did it again. Last August 12, we showed ten short films of varied appreciative levels—but nonetheless, together, they spoke volumes about how much we are trying to do to create a grassroots community of filmmakers in Dumaguete. Regardless of the challenges, of the risks, of the continuous possibility of being branded by others as “hopeless dreamers” without anywhere to go.

The roster that constituted Dumaguete Shorts 2: A Festival of Short Films By New Dumaguete Filmmakers included Ramon del Prado’s I Am the Superhero from Tuldok Animation, Melfred Casquite’s Kalooy Man and Francis James Kho and Carl Ivan Caballero’s Asa from Foundation University, Antonio Dago-oc’s Josephine from Negros Oriental State University, Mel Bermas Pal’s Jeepney, Jo Simone Vale’s Ugma na Lang, and Stephen Abanto’s Have You Got Time for a Story? from Silliman University, Razceljan Salvarita’s Confession from Indie*Go ArtHub Films, and Theodore Boborol’s Ang Asawa Kong si Nikulet from Star Cinema ABS-CBN.

We began Dumaguete Shorts two years ago to answer a challenge posed to us by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, when Teddy Co—the spirit behind Cinema Rehiyon, the annual festival of films made from the regions—asked me during the Cinemalaya Congress in 2008: “Are there any films being produced in Dumaguete?” And my answer was a sad “No. Not really.” Of course, there were the rare efforts of Jonah Lim, but that was it: there was no such thing as a grassroots effort. Which is why we were in Audio-Visual Theater 1 in Silliman University last Monday night, to answer that question once with a a final and a resounding “Yes.”

Let me be clear, however. A few months ago, some turk of a critic decried in a Mindanao website that what we are producing in Dumaguete are “failures” of cinema—which just shows how shortsighted he was about the efforts we are trying to do here. I’ve always understood something fundamental about the making of art: to get to the brilliance of the diamond, you have to contend with the cuts you have to make to tease out its luster, its brilliance.

And that’s what we have been doing in Dumaguete Shorts 2—encouraging local efforts of filmmaking, just to make a start. It is always better to start with something than with nothing. And soon enough, we will have filmmakers who are more daring in their themes, and brilliant in their uses of their language of cinema. Many of the films we have seen are the efforts of students from the universities of Dumaguete—from NORSU, Silliman, and Foundation, each of which has its own short film contests, and last Monday we saw many of the products of those competitions held during the past year, augmented by titles by independent filmmakers. All of these truly make this short film festival a melting pot of our local cinematic efforts.

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