Mapúan entry hailed best film in 18th UP Cinema Piling Obrang Vidyo
Mapúa University Digital Film student Shayla Claire Perales’s experimental film “Rambutan” won the Best Film award in UP Cinema’s 18th Piling Obrang Vidyo (POV) held last March 12 to 18. “Rambutan” was made to indirectly tell a story about the pandemic the world is facing but through a more bearable manner – stop-motion animation of fruits.
“It is a very dear film to me because its concept came from my little brother, Shawn. He went in my room one day and asked me, 'Ate, gusto mo COVID? (Big sister, do you want COVID?)' and then handed me a rambutan. From there, the film was born,” shared Perales.
The film features rambutans interacting with oranges, which leads to the destruction of the latter. As the rambutans continue to multiply, the oranges rot. The rambutan resembles the microscopic image of the Coronavirus-19, which is the filmmaker’s clever starting point to produce a film that is a metaphor to the outcomes of infection, either recovery or death.
“We focused on the collective suffering caused by the virus that invades bodies and pass the virus from one person to another through interaction. This film shows the process from being infected to either recovery or death,” she added.
Experimental film is a mode of filmmaking where filmmakers veer away from conventional and traditional techniques and executions and explore non-narrative forms or alternatives in producing a film. “Rambutan” shows a distinctive style of an experimental film in a very simple yet meaningful way of disseminating knowledge and information on COVID-19 virus transmission.
“The visual narrative is emblematic that details the visual truth on how the virus is contagious and fatal. The filmic exhibition of ideas is graphical and very illustrative that can add more interest to the audience,” shared Dean Benigno Agapito, Jr.
“Rambutan” is a collaboration between Perales and her fellow writer, cinematographer, and editor Shiela Mae Tanagon, who shared the same burdens, difficulties, and efforts to finish the project. The film features an original music composed by Ryan Mangaliag.
“When Perales and Tanagon pitched the concept to me, I knew that the short film will be noticed if executed properly. The filmmakers displayed creativity and technical expertise. It was created through stop-motion animation of fruits, which required hard work and a lot of patience,” said Dr. David R. Corpuz, the students’ adviser for experimental film.
Additionally, for Dr. Corpuz, “Rambutan” winning the Best Film award in the UP POV showed that there is a place and audience for non-traditional forms of filmmaking. “This exposure is important because cinema is evolving at a fast rate. The training of students allows them to explore and discover their strengths and embrace the type of films they want to make,” he said.
Shayla Claire Perales, director of “Rambutan” during the virtual awards night ceremony last March 18
Apart from filmmaking, Perales also has the same passion for dancing, given that she’s also a member of NEXUS Cardinals, a school-based dance group, and Legit Status, a renowned hip-hop group in the country and abroad. She aspires to one day be able to incorporate both forms of art in one film project.
“The film world has yet to showcase different types of dances, especially here in the Philippines. I am excited by the thought of translating it into the film language. At the same time, I want to continue on reflecting issues that need to be known by the world,” she said.
Mapúan filmmakers have been active participants in local and international film competitions. It is one thing that SMS encourages its students to partake in, as it hastens their abilities while acquiring experiences to appreciate their craft even more and know its relevance.
“The success of our students is a clear indication that Mapúa’s media and film instructions are highly competitive and can earn due recognitions from other institutions. By joining such competitions, our students enhance their skills and become aware of the importance of film arts in the academe, community, and the world,” said Dean Agapito.
It is Mapúa’s second Best Film victory at the UP film festival following Celina Mae Medina’s “Ophelia” in 2019. Mapúan filmmakers Hiyas Bagabaldo (“Sins, Senses and Saints”), Tricia Sotaso (“Ang Pagkalaglag ng Ginintuang Salamin ng Pagkakilanlan”), and Lloyd Reyes (“Ang Mambabarang at ang mga Taong Pinatay sa Limot”) also took home POV’s Best Experimental Film prize in 2016, 2017, and 2019, respectively. SMS Multimedia Arts alumna Beverly Ramos also won Best Documentary at POV for “Dory” in 2018.
The POV jury was composed of filmmakers Carla Pulido Ocampo and Ligaya Villablanca, actress Therese Malvar, and film critic Jason Tan Liwag.