JUST A THOUGHT: ‘Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.’ – Oscar Wilde
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FOUR NEW FILMS ON MARAWI: Hope springs eternal in the hearts and minds of a small group of young filmmakers, victims all of the May 2017 Marawi Siege.
In the face of shocking city-wide devastation and snail-paced rehabilitation efforts, Geral Jan Niño Omelio and his fellow students are convinced Marawi remains home to them.
“There’s fear that a part 2 of the war can happen,” Sittie Alyssah Diron said. It’s the reason many residents have opted not to return, resettling elsewhere, such as in nearby Iligan.
Geral and Sittie Alyssah are two in a bunch of young filmmakers tapped by ABS-CBN News Channel to produce their own short films chronicling their own personal take on Marawi after the siege. Both are communication majors at Mindanao State University in Marawi.
Four short films, running for about 8 minutes each, have been compiled by ANC and incorporated into the network’s “New Moon” series. They premiered within the timeslots of “Early Edition,” “Top Story,” and “The World Tonight” on May 21.
The other film makers in the “New Moon” series are ARMM assistant cabinet secretary Omar Ali and MSU-Marawi professor Ali Yusoph. Yusoph, an engineer by profession, said he couldn’t bear to look at his former residence in the heart of town, opting to build new quarters elsewhere, but still quite close.
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UNIQUE STORIES OF SURVIVAL: Sittie, an AB Journalism senior at 20, is behind the film “Matou,” based on the story of Mastora “Matou” Dadayan, a farmer and fisherman living in a small barangay in Marawi City. During the siege, Matou’s wife and unborn child were killed, leaving him alone to take care of their older son.
Geral, also a senior in MSU-Marawi taking up Developmental Communication, produced “Kanlungan” with fellow students. The film tells the story of teenager Zohmaya and her younger siblings. They recall a happier life back when they had not lost their home and lived with different families in the aftermath of the Marawi siege.
Omar’s film “Suicide Squad,” meanwhile, tells the story of a group of rescuers trained for natural disaster calamities. Never in their wildest imagination did they think that one day they’ll be saving people from all walks of life, including terrorists who took under siege their beloved city.
Completing the list is Ali’s “Islam,” which he produced with his wife Sur. Their film tells the story of someone trying to make sense of these virtues amid living through the dire consequences of war waged by fellow Muslims in the name of Allah.
The films were produced with guidance and technical support of ABS-CBN journalists. ABS-CBN news head Ging Reyes said the Marawi films are just the start of more collaborative journalism efforts to be undertaken by the network. More collaborations with on-ground observers from the country’s various regions shall be forthcoming, she said. A grant of 30,000 pesos is awarded the filmmakers.
Anchored by broadcast legend Tina Monzon-Palma, the films will be part of a recurring cycle on ANC.