McJim Classic Leather’s viral short films under its Get Reel online advocacy campaign are now competing in eight prestigious international film festivals in the US, Italy, and Australia.
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“Pitaka,” the first of the three short films, has been officially selected to participate in film festivals in Italy and the US, namely the San Mauro Torinese International Film Festival 2018; Cefalu Film Festival in Palermo; Diwa Filipino Film Showcase of Seattle 2018; and Culture of Life Film Festival 2018 in Memphis City.
Through “Pitaka’s” strong and relatable narrative, brought to life by the Kuya (Karl Medina’s character) who sets aside his personal dreams to provide for his younger brother (played by Art Artienda), the world gains appreciation for the Filipino’s propensity for nurturing.
The storyline celebrates sibling relationships and what older members of the family do out of love for them. Aside from extolling Filipino family values of sacrifice and perseverance, Pitaka’s emotional impact was enhanced by the use of the Filipino language in its collaboration with Palanca-winning poet Louie Jon Sanchez and by its excellent cinematography and production quality.
Another internationally acclaimed viral video is “Bag,” an out-of-the-box and gay-themed short film that follows an openly gay young professional’s (Ross Pesigan) seemingly unending quest for love. In the wake of subsequent heartbreaks, Pesigan’s character finds refuge and comfort in his straight best friend (Wayne Avellano), who makes him realize that not all soul mates are romantic partners.
For its honest portrayal of straight-gay friendships and other social realities faced by the LGBT community, “Bag” has been invited to join international film fests that include the First International LGBTQ Coming of Age Short Films Festival, which will be held simultaneously in Paris, France, and San Francisco, U.S.A, in September this year; the Los Angeles CineFest 2019; the 2018 LGBTQ Shorts Film Festival; and the International Shorts Film Festival (Australia) 2018.
The third viral video is “Sinturon” and it features Kiko Matos and Mercedes Cabral, who likewise created a big buzz on social media with its theme of marital fidelity.
Chris Cahilig, director and producer of the viral videos, maintains that the success of the three videos proves that even branded shorts can be at par with big-budget, commercially released films.
“That our short films garnered millions of views on social media simply validates the Filipinos’ warm reception towards stories they can relate to,” he said.
What sets McJim’s viral videos apart from the rest, Cahilig asserted, is how these depict real-life experiences of people on the ground without the need to sensationalize for the sake of views.
“Through the powerful medium of filmmaking,” Cahilig concludes, “a brand breaks into the new media to advance its social cause and deliver good value and entertainment to its audience, showing that today’s Filipino gentleman has become more confident and mature as portrayed in these stories.”