Occupying seven of 12 finalist slots in this year's Piling Obrang Vidyo (POV) XIX, Benildean filmmakers Vahn Pascual, Diokko Manuel Dionisio, Leia Amidala Santos, Josh Mutia, Ryan Miguel Capili, Augustine, and Josef Edward Tafalla shared their insights and thoughts before the competition. Nominated in all three major categories of the competition—Narrative, Documentary, and Experimental—get to know these talented individuals and their experiences with POV XIX.
Piling Obrang Vidyo is an annual inter-school competition hosted by the University of the Philippines Cinema. This year POV screens seven Benildean-made films online from March 14 to March 23. Following a theater screening of the films, winners will also be announced on March 24 at the UPFI Film Center-Cine Adarna.
The Benildean had the opportunity to sit down with six Benildean finalists to discuss their projects, individual experiences entering the competition and personal goals and expectations for POV XIX.
For ID 119 AB Digital Filmmaking student Vahn Pascual, this is far from his first film festival experience. He shared that, “Sa tuwing sumasali ako sa mga film festivals, lagi akong natutuwa sapagkat mas lumalawak ang mga makakanood ng aming pelikula,” also adding that it’s a great opportunity for him to meet other filmmakers. His nominated short film, Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig, began in the Mit Out Sound: International Film Lab Grant in 2021, where Vahn and his team were awarded ₱75,000 to mount the film. Later, it was also nominated for Best Director and Best Film, with Vahn and his team bagging the latter.
When speaking about his expectations for POV XIX, Vahn put forward that the only things he hopes to win are the hearts of the viewers. Though many of the other Benildean finalists have praised Vahn and his film, expecting it to do well in the festival.
For Diokko Manuel Dionisio, ID 118 AB Digital Filmmaking student, making it into the Top 12 in his first festival along with his Benildean colleagues has been an “ecstatic” experience for the filmmaker. “This film is very personal to me so whatever award it will receive will be a reward not just for me but for the people who are behind the film's success,” adding that, “...as the director of this film, it's very hard for me to conclude what my audiences would feel since it's very subjective and this film will give you a roller coaster ride of emotions.”
Diokko also shared his support for the other Benildean films in the festival, expressing, "I believe that all of them are capable and well deserving of an award for their craft and visionary pieces.”
ID 118 AB Digital Filmmaking student Leia Amidala Santos disclosed, "As a film student, I always felt inadequate, and I never really stepped out of my comfort zone because I was scared of setbacks and rejections.” With POV XIX being her debut film festival, Leia shared that she hopes her work will leave audiences “informed, hopeful, and driven.” Leia added that she’s confident in the documentary category, where all four finalists are fellow Benildeans.
Similarly, ID 118 AB Digital Filmmaking student Josh Mutia finds his first try at a film competition through POV XIX. “I have not joined any since I was focused on finishing my studies at Benilde. But since I am now “grad-waiting,” I had spare time to submit my film to different film festivals,” he says, later on, sharing how his submission and thesis film Balde at Brotsa was ranked as the highest scoring documentary thesis film as they hope to win the Best Documentary Award at least.
He described Balde at Brotsa as “agitated, enlightened, and spirited,” sharing how euphoric their production felt as the film got in as a finalist. Excited about the future of non-fiction filmmaking in the College, he expresses his gratitude for the film program’s support of different specializations.
On the other hand, ID 121 AB Digital Filmmaking student Ryan Miguel Capili shares how his film Elehiya para sa mga Memoriya was made on a whim during Christmas break. “I really just made it on a whim during Christmas break, I figured It’ll be my Christmas gift for my grandmother,” he shares, entering the competition from his friends’ recommendations of POV with a film he describes as “sad, mournful, and existential.”
Making it to the final list in their first competition outside of the College, ID 118 AB Digital Filmmaking student Augustine describes The Secret Band of Thebes with the words “alarmed, troubled, and intrigued.” Their team hopes to win the Best Documentary Award, not just for the satisfaction of a win but to let the film get a bigger platform and have its call to action become louder.
“With the ever-changing times and the uncertainty of the future, we will never become masterpieces,” says a post written on POV’s teaser for the only Benildean film under the experimental category, People Fade as Colors Do by ID 118 AB Digital Filmmaking student Josef Edward Tafalla. The film presents an eerie atmosphere paired with the foggy visuals of the painting.