Award-winning Filipino filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Richard Soriano Legaspi won the Special Honor Mention at the 6th edition of the 21 Islands International Short Film Festival (21 Islands ISFF) in New York City.
Legaspi added another feather to his cap when his experimental short film “Job Order” was announced the winner of the special prize during the festival’s awarding ceremony last February 23.
The film reflects on the daily journey of migrant workers in Taiwan as it shows the geography and culture of the island through a fast-moving narrative and as a reflection of their limited time.
The 21 Islands ISFF features animation, experimental, and live-action films “from island nations, island states, island cities, and island territories around the world.”
This year, it also screened selected films from Australia, Canary Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Madagascar, Madeira Island, Malta, Manhattan, Montreal, Puerto Rico, Sardinia, Sicily, Singapore, Taiwan, Tenerife, United Kingdom, and Vancouver Island.
“We showcase short films that depict stories that express cultural, philosophical, and aesthetic perspectives shared by artists living and producing their work in islands and their respective audiences,” 21 Islands ISFF curator, filmmaker, and media producer Melisa Ramos explained.
“Job Order” was selected “from thousands of multilingual submissions originating in hundreds of qualifying locations worldwide.” The experimental film was previously shown at the 17th Athens Digital Arts Festival in Greece last October.
Completing the circle of winners are “Hedy” directed by Andy B. Clarke (Ireland), Best Film; “Martin’s Vantage Point” by Chedey Reyes (Canary Islands), Best Script; “Before the Beauty is Gone” by Mackai Sharp (Vancouver Island), Best Editing; “The Hole” by Fang Hsin Kai (Taiwan), Best Animation; “Hello” by Oldren Romero (Cuba), Best Cinematography; “Nostos Algos” by Juan Diego De Leon (Dominican Republic), Best Direction; “Pacing the Pool” by Radheya Jegatheva (Australia), Best Documentary; and “Cacos” by João Brás (Madeira Island), Audience Award.
The festival, which shines a spotlight on island life in its richness and diversity, was presented by Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, “a multigenerational performing ensemble, multidisciplinary arts presenter, and owner/steward of bilingual arts facilities” in The Bronx and in Manhattan, NYC.
“A diverse cross-section of the community served by Pregones/PRTT participates in the festival selection process. Artists, activists, scholars, audience members, and neighbors of diverse age and cultural heritage evaluate over 1,500 multilingual film submissions from more than 200 islands worldwide,” the organizers revealed. The finalists then competed for both Festival Jury and Audience Choice awards.
Legaspi is a three-time Gawad Alternatibo awardee of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, winner in the screenplay category of the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, and a recipient of the UNESCO-Aschberg Laureate, eventually becoming a resident artist of the Università delle Idee, Cittadellartez-Fondazione Pistoletto, and winner of the ILLY Can Prize Design-Art for Social Change in Italy.
His other films have competed and won in different film festivals in the Philippines and around the world.