By Sean Sy (Class 2023)
Last February 3 to February 5, 2018, local cinephiles, enthusiasts, and mental health advocates saw the finalists for the short film category of the Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health take on the silver screen at Cinematheque Theater Manila.
Now on its third iteration, viewers The festival, organized by the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity, stood to celebrate the talent of local independent filmmakers whilst advocating against the stigma surrounding mental health.
There were fourteen finalists for the short film category. Amongst the finalists were Aldrich Rosano’s A Thousand Year Stare, which relayed the experiences of a soldier suffering from PTSD, and Brent Michael Ignacio’s Alone, about a middle aged man and his struggles with severe clinical depression.
Paulito Del Mundo’s Ang Nawala, Naligaw, at Nagpakalayo shared the story of strangers who accidentally became friends on a biking trip, while Auntwo Susan by Mia Rosero and Andrea Arias was a story of a 50-year-old woman and old neighbor settling problems about home.
Another finalist was Jethro Joquino’s Bedtime Paradox, which tackled substance abuse and dependence in the case of a budding musician. In Comfort Room, Leia Reyna Pasumbal shared the story of two girls hiding away in a comfort room, sharing their pains to one another and becoming close through mutual support.
David Gutierrez’ Eman dabbled into the life of Domeng, who is plagued by hallucinations and tormented by the people around him, telling him he was being spoken to by demons. Two of the finalists, Iced Coffee by Ruby Rose Baldevarona and Jordan by Vic Acedillo Jr., both tackled bullying, but in differing ways. The former was about the endeavors of an office worker who suffered from bullying in her childhood, and the latter was about the effects of bullying on a ten-year-old named Jordan.
Clarisse P. Marquez’ Kaktus was an immersion into the life of a child who suffered from an autism spectrum disorder. Psychonaut by Jomz Ramirez was about the addiction and struggles of an inquisitive teenager who gets into the habit of illegal substance use. Kristoffer “Tops” Brugada’s Rekuwerdo, on the other hand, was about the struggles of a 79-year-old man suffering from prostate cancer.
The Tides by Malaya Roxanne Ad Castillo, delved into the life of a newlywed couple whose relationship was experiencing strain due to Mira’s bipolar disorder. Finally, Jea Catcutan’s Xaria was about the life of a woman living with an unwanted pregnancy.
The festival also featured Imahe, a photo exhibit further providing varying perspectives on mental health.
The winners of the Imahe photo exhibit
(taken from the Quisumbing-Escandor film festival’s facebook page)
The winners for Best Short Film, Best Documentary, the Imahe exhibit and the grand winner of the Gawad Quisumbing-Escandor festival were crowned on February 10, 2018 at the Carlos P. Romulo Theater in Makati City.
Rekuwerdo by Kristoffer “Tops” Brugada was the recipient of the Best Short Film award, while Mark Anthony B. Norella’s Hawla that won the Best Documentary award.
For the Imahe exhibit, it was Daing di Naririnig by Hazel Advincula that bagged first place, followed by April Denise Catarina’s Unheard in second place, Charisse Misola’s Scream of Silence (S.O.S.) in third place.
Finally, Leia Reyna Pasumbal’s Comfort Room was the entry that brought home the 100,000 peso prize and the honor of being crowned the Gawad Quisumbing-Escandor grand winner.