Raiza Masculino, a Digital Cinema graduate of Mapúa University, takes pride in her film “Amusin Pa,” one of the finalists in the Short Film - Student category of the 2018 CineFilipino Film Festival.
Initially created for Masculino’s undergraduate thesis, “Amusin Pa” is a story of the physical and emotional struggles of the young boy protagonist who became deeply infatuated with an older woman.
The title of the film was derived from a southern Tagalog term used for kids who are “gusgusin” or unkempt. It was shot in Marinduque, in Masculino’s hometown, to highlight the culture and the tradition of the island province.
“As a regional filmmaker, Marinduque is my identity. I wrote my screenplay, which is specifically set in Marinduque. The characters speak in Marinduqueño, and the tradition is also present,” said Masculino.
Among the seven short films that made the cut in the student category, Masculino’s “Amusin Pa,” was the only entry that used love as its theme. To her, it is what sets her film apart from the other short-film finalists.
The film was influenced by Masculino’s interest in romantic comedy movies. This inspired her to create and write stories different from the typical and predictable storylines and plots we commonly see in this genre.
“I made love the theme of my film because I love romantic comedies. That’s the reason why I made this film. I wanted to do a story that is very different from the conventional rom-coms (romantic comedies),” she said.
Producing the film wasn’t easy for the 19-year-old aspiring filmmaker. Since most of the scenes had to be taken outdoors, the endless rainfalls encountered became a major setback in the filming of “Amusin Pa.”
“I had only two interior scenes. I wanted to extend the shooting days, but I couldn’t afford to do that because of a limited budget. My team and I had to compromise,” said Masculino.
According to Masculino, her training in Mapúa University helped her overcome unforeseen situations during her film’s production. Being an active student in college, Masculino believes her experiences in the field helped her to effectively and creatively direct her film.
“During my DC (Digital Cinema) days, I had always been a production manager. Those years helped me in my thesis, to work on a tight budget, to compromise, but still end up with good logistic and creative decisions.”
Masculino’s “Amusin Pa” was awarded Best Thesis, screened in Cinema Rehiyon, and now in CineFilipino.
On empowering women and filmmakers
As a rookie in the film industry, Masculino believes that she still has a lot to master to continuously develop her craft to succeed in her chosen career path. For her, quality takes time and that filmmakers should always remain patient in conveying their stories.
“I’m still trying to figure out my path as a filmmaker,” said Masculino. “But for now, I plan to make more unconventional rom-coms, write screenplays that empower women, and encourage regional filmmakers, like me, to love their craft and identity.”
The CineFilipino Film Fest ran from May 9 to 15 in selected cinemas: Gateway, SM Cinemas, and Greenbelt 1. The awarding ceremony took place at the Kia Theatre on Saturday, May 12.
(L-R) "Amusin Pa" Director of Photography Glenn Averia, Director Raiza Masculino, Actress Elora Españo, Production Manager Hannah Maur, and Wardrobe Supervisor Vanessa Daquis receive the plaque for CineFilipino Film Festival 2018 official selection last April 10.