CineMapúa recognizes PHL’s best student short films of 2021, debuts world section

A still from “Sina Alexa, Xander at ang Universe” from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde

THE 19th CineMapúa Film Festival’s Virtual Awarding Ceremony saw an overflow of unbridled talent and creativity, as it showcased 25 of the best local and international student short films. 

The annual festival organized by Mapúa University’s School of Media Studies drew the interest of budding filmmakers despite the ongoing pandemic. This year the festival received more than 100 entries, where 25 finalists were chosen. 

CineMapúa declared “Sina Alexa, Xander at ang Universe” by Vahn Leinard Pascual from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) winner of the Cardinal Gold Film Award in the collegiate category. 

Meanwhile, “Ilaw” by Aldwin Jerico Atutubo from FEU High School-Morayta earned the Cardinal Gold Film Award in the high-school category.

Other collegiate winners included “Miss Informed” by Earvic Noay from University of the Philippines (UP)-Open University, and “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” by Shiri Francesca de Leon from MINT College, which took home the Cardinal Silver Film Award and the Cardinal Bronze Film Award, respectively. A Special Jury Award was also given to “Silang Mga Naligaw Sa Limot,” also by Pascual.

Aside from “Ilaw,” high-school winners had brilliant pieces such as “Dapithapon” by Ethan John dela Cruz and Marie James Palisoc from Siena College-Taytay which took a Cardinal Silver Film Award, and “Sa Labas:” a piece by Jadrien Marc Morales from MINT College which received the Cardinal Bronze Award. 

CineMapúa also recognized the artistry, hard work, and determination of the people behind each short film. For the collegiate category, Noay was awarded Cardinal Best Director. Jerome Ignacio from UP-Diliman won Cardinal Best Cinematographer for “Lysistrata,” while Corlisse Nicolas from DLS-CSB was named Cardinal Best Film Editor for “Sina Alexa….

Jodie Dantes and Noay from UP Open University jointly won the Cardinal Best Screenwriter for “Miss Informed.” The Cardinal Best Sound and Music Scorer Award went to De Leon, Darlene Ballano, and Bryant Gali of MINT College for their work in “Ang Pagdadalaga…” The Cardinal Best Production Designer Award was given to two finalists: Catherine Chu of UP Open University for “Miss Informed,” as well as DLS-CSB’s Melissa Cuarderno and Ralph Mojica for “Sina Alexa...”

Ruby Ruiz captured the Cardinal Best Performance of an Actress for “Ang Pagdadalaga…,” while Pascual took the Cardinal Best Performance of an Actor.

In the high-school category, Dela Cruz and Palisoc for “Dapithapon,” as well as Morales “Sa Labas,” shared the Cardinal Best Director honors. Stephen Dominic Bonifacio from FEU High School-Morayta was adjudged Cardinal Best Cinematographer for “Ilaw.” Dela Cruz won Cardinal Best Film Editor for his work in “Dapithapon,” while MSU-Malabang Community High School’s Norjannah Haron was awarded the Cardinal Best Screenwriter for “Ahmad and Abdul.” 

FEU High School-Morayta’s Jan Angelo Segador and Donelle Serrano won Cardinal Best Sound and Music Scorer for “Ilaw,” while the Cardinal Best Production Designer Award was given to both Althea Luna Vian Waoi for “Ilaw,” and Amelia Elizabeth Perez for “Sa Labas.” 

Teri Lacayanga of “Ilaw” took the Cardinal Best Performance of an Actress Award, and Abdul Jabbar Boloto of “Ahmad & Abdul” was hailed with the Cardinal Best Performance of an Actor plum. 

Filmmaker Seymour Sanchez, actress Elora Españo, as well as film and music video director James Robin Mayo served as jurors. 

CineMapúa, the longest running student short film festival in the country, also extended special awards that focused on audience impact, animation, and gender sensitivity. “By Catch” from Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta. Mesa won the Animated Narrative Picture Award. Distinguished as Most Viewed Films were “The Congressus” from Mapúa University-Makati for college, and “Dapithapon” from Siena College-Taytay for high-school. 

The Most Gender-Sensitive Film Award went to “Orpheus” from General Santos City National Secondary School of Arts and Trades for the high-school category, and “Lysistrata” from UP-Diliman for college.

Foreign students also joined this year’s festival, as CineMapúa opened the World Short Film section that featured four international films from four different countries: “My Black Heart” by Garush Ghazaryan of the Yerevan State Institute of Theatre and Cinematography in Armenia; “Grandma’s Tale of the Magical Outenga” by Rishab Thakur of Whistling Woods Int’l. from Mumbai, India; “Split” by Kang Zheng Shueen of The One Academy from Selangor, Malaysia; and “Tears of Gold” by Richie Chooi of Shih Hsin University of Taipei, Taiwan. 

Dr. Reynaldo B. Vea, president and CEO of Mapúa University, said: “Filipino students, including those in high school, simply love to tell stories through films. With CineMapúa, we provide a means for them to express their creativity.”

This was seconded by Prof. Benigno B. Agapito Jr., dean of Mapúa’s School of Media Studies and chairman of CineMapúa: “This 19th year of CineMapúa empowers students to continue creating quality stories. [The film fest] reminds them that stories know no boundaries and no limitations, no matter the situation.”

“The students’ film entries this year are visual designs that show the best story forms and styles to best illustrate the possible alternative focus of film production,” Agapito added. “These films reflect the young imagination and creativity of the students toward social realities.”

CineMapúa was first organized in 2002 to give Mapúa students an avenue to hone their creativity and skills in filmmaking and visual storytelling. Since then the student short-film festival has expanded to include entries from around the Philippines and foreign countries.

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