by Rosy Mina
Here is another binge-watch list of short films for the Binging During Quarantine series of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). Last week, we tackled the Vimeo playlist of animated shorts by the Philippine Animation Workers Association. This time, we are featuring some regional shorts that are posted or shared by the Quarantimes: Short Films from the Regions Facebook page. Cineastes will be treated to a wide array of short films on the Quarantimes page, each with a distinct local color.
A screenshot of "Bumili Lang Saglit" by Nestor Anthony Manuel
A screenshot of "Sakaling Tayo ang Bahaghari" by Ruby Rose Valdevarona
Quarantimes: Short Films from the Regions
Organized by the North Luzon Cinema Guild, Inc.
Links or videos are available for free on the Quarantimes Facebook page
Watching short films from various regions of the country in one sitting was such a pleasant experience. Hearing different dialects and seeing new places delighted me while encountering unique stories and multiple genres amazed me. Viewing a total of 18 shorts for this Binging During Quarantine article made me want to discover more about regional cinema. There are so many films from the regions that have yet to be seen, and the Quarantimes page is one way to introduce regional shorts to more viewers.
Quarantimes: Short Films from the Regions came about as a response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation that hindered production work, cancelled film events, and prevented audiences from going to the cinemas. Through Quarantimes, the North Luzon Cinema Guild, Inc. (NLCG) urged filmmakers to continue creating content by holding short film challenges and encouraged viewers to support regional cinema.
A recurring theme of the featured shorts is COVID-19. The title of the Ibanag short film, "Naafektan Ittam Ngamin," says it all. It translates to "We are all affected." Directed and edited by North Luzon Film Festival Director Jerome Dulin, "Naafektan Ittam Ngamin" does not just mention how the pandemic has changed everyone's lives, but calls on the government for concrete solutions and forms of assistance especially for the culture and arts sector.
"Coronavirus" by Ahr Acosta of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte made known the filmmaker's worries about the public health crisis, especially on the uncertainty as to when the pandemic will come to an end. "Virus, Veerus, Beer Us" by Jan Carlo O. Natividad of Dagupan City, Pangasinan lamented the lack of hospital beds and pushed for mass testing. The sights and sounds of San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro during the community quarantine were featured in "Bumili Lang Saglit" by Nestor Anthony Manuel.
A screenshot of "AWAY - Namnama bayat Panagsagaba" by Randy Caliva Gianan, Jr.
A screenshot of "The Platform ni Kap" by Arjanmar Rebeta
Messages of encouragement were conveyed by "Let's Pray for Everyone's Safety and Protection" by Angelene Saladino of Tarlac City, Tarlac, "Sakaling Tayo ang Bahaghari" by Ruby Rose Valdevarona of Roxas City, Capiz, and "AWAY - Namnama bayat Panagsagaba" by Randy Caliva Gianan, Jr. of San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. The 17-year-old Gianan exhibited his humility and wisdom as he discussed how the pandemic affected him, declaring that we should look for the light amidst the darkness.
Comic relief was provided by Arjanmar Rebeta of Quezon City, National Capital Region in "The Platform ni Kap," which shows the amusing journey of a relief goods pack from the hands of a barangay captain to his constituent on the top floor of an apartment building. Rebeta, a 2020 FDCP Film Ambassadors' Night recipient for bagging 12 international awards for several short films, has other #QuarantineKulitanShorts that are posted on his Facebook and YouTube accounts.
"E M P T Y" by Miks de Guzman of Santiago City, Isabela shows empty roads and settings, but it can also make you wonder if the emptiness depicted is the one that is visible or something that comes from within. "PAgKAIN" by Domcar Calinawan Lagto of Nasugbu, Batangas has an interesting story of a father preparing lunch for his family while under community quarantine, plus it features the folk song "Ako ang Nagtanim." A beverage-themed short titled "Kape" is the second contributed film of Manuel from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.
Two films were also submitted by Neo Bryce of Davao City. "The Prophecy" is about an unlikely hero who is destined to fight off the Bakunawa, a mythical "eater of moons." In the face of predetermination, does one really have a choice? Meanwhile, "FREE LANCE," is about a work-from-home graphic designer who gets a job order from a mysterious client named Clean. The film starts out with a simple premise until it churns out an astounding twist. "Now, go and make art because this pandemic might last for a while," said Neo Bryce who is a Marketing and Promotions Officer for FDCP's Cinematheque Centre Davao.
A screenshot of "Empty" by Miks de Guzman
A screenshot of "Limangdaang Piso, Bayani, di Bayani?" by Edmar delos Santos
Mark Anthony Bautista of Imus, Cavite submitted two films as well: "Online Class" and "Midnight Snack," which are muted videos. Brent Navoa of Solano, Nueva Vizcaya only needed 48 seconds to spook viewers via "Casa Embrujada" while Edmar delos Santos of Laoag City, Ilocos Norte used the mundane situation of withdrawing from an ATM to spark a Marcos versus Aquino debate in "Limangdaang Piso, Bayani, di Bayani?"
Finally, Kenneth Pedronan of Claveria, Cagayan featured clips of Holy Week traditions to the tune of an Ilocano song called "Sudario," which serves as the title of his short film. "Sudario" is a Quarantine Kwaresma Challenge entry to the NLCG Online Lab.
The Quarantimes page is currently holding the Online Film Lab for Regional Stories to foster learning and fuel the passion of filmmakers during the COVID-19 situation. Its other recent initiatives are the online film screenings of indigenous stories and talkbacks, Mobile Filmmaking Challenge, Quarantine Cinematography Challenge (#QMatogChallenge), and Quarantimes: Hope in the Time of Corona Short Film Making Challenge. These film challenges have led to the creation of more regional shorts that will be discussed in another Binging During Quarantine entry.
The cover photo is a screenshot of "Let's Pray for Everyone's Safety and Protection" by Angelene Saladino.