by Rosy Mina
After “Birdshot,” “Signal Rock,” “Bayaning 3rd World,” and “Bar Boys,” the Binging During Quarantine series of the Film Development Council of the Philippines puts the spotlight on animated short films made by Filipinos. Now, this is something that you can really binge-watch. The Philippine Animation Workers Association (PAWA) introduced a playlist of short films through its “free to watch, pay what you can” project that aims to spread good vibes during the quarantine period and encourage viewers to donate to charities such as the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Medical Foundation, Kaya Natin, People for Accountable Governance and Sustainable Action (PAGASA), and #PARaSCIBayan.
Animated Shorts to Get You Through The Lockdown
Playlist by the Philippine Animation Workers Association (PAWA)
Available for free on Vimeo
Donation details for the frontliners are on the PAWA Facebook page.
The PAWA playlist, which has 35 short films so far, will take you on a rollercoaster ride. The selection of shorts has different themes and varied techniques. There is drama, comedy, action, romance, and suspense in the playlist. Despite running on just five minutes or less, with a handful exceeding 10 minutes, all of the short films have a clear message. It was thrilling to binge-watch these shorts because they had interesting stories and laudable animations. These short films are testaments to the creativity, imagination, and artistry of Filipino animators and filmmakers.
Stories on the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of children are featured in “The Crate Escape” by Elisha Pablo and Danielle Rayos which is about a girl and her stuffed toys, “Pluma” by Adrian Cruz which tells a tale of a boy and a magical pen, “Pandan the Preowned Robot” by Alyssa Dalangin which is about a girl and a faulty robot, and “Bata Bawal Diyan” by Clarita Joy Cailan which deals with a boy who got lost in a forest.
Friendship narratives are tackled by Animahenasyon PH: The Philippine Animation Festival 2016 entry “Let’s Go” by Anabelle Laureola, “Simple Decisions” by Aaron Formilleza, “The Big Date” by Vei Louise Maniego, Karizza Capulong, and Julie Mari Pagurigan, and “Papel” by Mariel Sayuno. In 2013, “Papel” had screenings at the Puchon International Film Festival, Animateka, and Cartoons Underground while it was shown the following year at Animation Torrent, International Animation Film Festival (IAFF) Golden Kuker-Sofia, and Animation Block Party.
Other films were about the unlikely friendship between humans and animals or mythical creatures: a girl and a dragon in Chelsea Roasa’s “Gone,” a man and a bird in “Darwin & Plop: Of Boats and Worms” by Jose Paolo Bobier, Savyna Lalo, and Anabelle Laureola, and “KALEH & MBAKI: The Hornbill and the Shaman” by Dennis E. Sebastian.
A screenshot of “RE-” (Remembering Memories) by Toni Mae Batac
Animals took center stage as they played the lead roles in several shorts. “Billy & Bonnie in All Shapes & Sizes” by Cy Vendivil, Karla Circe Consolacion, and Mookie Tamara is about a square dog and an orphan dragon. It bagged the Jury's Special Citation and Grand Prize in Animahenasyon 2019. The simple story of a husky puppy in “Heat Rush” by Rica Diaz even sent a message of encouragement to viewers.
If you are a cat lover, you will enjoy watching these three shorts: “Bad Animation: Family Day” by Aika Velasco, “Fusion Confusion” by KALBO featuring Cheddar the cat, and “MEOWBOT3000 vs FISHZILLA” by mio which was hailed as the Best Animated Film in the 2020 Manila Student Film Festival.
The playlist has a lot of unusual characters, all with amusing or compelling stories. “Crush” by Michelle Anne Marquez has 3D anthropomorphic food characters like hotdogs, a burger, and a pizza. Fruits and vegetables act it out in “Fruity Party” by KEAT while adorable button mushrooms headline two shorts from Mushroom Movie: “lost mushroom movie video” and “office works.”
“OLD VS. NEW” by John Paul Bonoan as Experimental Animation Supervisor has pieces of media equipment for characters, with the old ones about to be replaced by new gadgets. It won the Best Non-Narrative Animation Award (Professional) in Animahenasyon 2018. Carl Joseph Papa’s “iNay,” meanwhile, has a robot for the protagonist. The title is a play on the Filipino word for mother and the use of “i” to denote technology.
A screenshot of “Crush” by Michelle Anne Marquez
A screenshot of Carl Joseph Papa’s “iNay”
A screenshot of “Smoocher” by Didi
Other films with touching filial stories are “RE-” (Remembering Memories) by Toni Mae Batac, “‘Wag Mo ‘Kong Kausapin” by Josef Gacutan, “ANAMAMANA” by Christine dela Paz, “Golden Hour” by Gab de la Cruz, and “Himbing ng Hele” ng Reynard Joson.
Things turn more serious with “Chill Pill” by Kaila Mendoza which is about depression, “Billy” by Mitzi Comia which deals with bullying, and “The Ditch” by Cowonkey Productions (John Paul Bonoan, Stefanie de Leoz, and Kimberly Mas) which tackles violence, child abuse, and bullying. “The Ditch” bagged the Best in Technical Excellence and Best Student Short Film citations in Animahenasyon 2013. It was aired on HERO TV channel in 2014 and was exhibited at the Ayala Museum in 2018 at “100 FILMS FOR ONE HUNDRED YEARS,” The Hidden Cinema: The Virtual Experience of Philippine Cinema's Centenary that was curated by film historian and filmmaker Nick Deocampo.
To balance it out with the shorts with gripping themes, there other lighthearted films to turn to such as the kilig films “Smoocher” by Didi which is about what happens after a guy accidentally sends a message to his crush and “Love Bites” by Carl Joseph Papa which shows what happens when an elderly man and old woman meet in a pub. The QCShorts entry at QCinema International Film Festival 2017 was the Animahenasyon 2018 Grand Winner, also bagging Best Storytelling, Best Production Design, and Best Technical Award.
Wrapping up the PAWA playlist are “Vinta” by Mitzi Delima which reminisces about love in a beach setting, “Sorcerace” by Sofia Abellera which tackles a broomstick racing competition saga, and “Remnant” by HARP (Ray Joshoa Dulay and Andrea Grupe) which tells the story of a French baker and his apprentice. All these Filipino-made short films can be watched for free, so kindly try to donate what you can to charities upon watching the PAWA shorts playlist.
The cover photo is a screenshot of “The Ditch” by Cowonkey Productions (John Paul Bonoan, Stefanie de Leoz, and Kimberly Mas).