Stories of Hope Film Fest promises viewers a break from toxic conversations

By Raymund Antonio

Filipinos may take a short break from the daily toxic conversations by watching 10 real-life inspiring stories from young filmmakers during the Istorya ng Pag-asa (Stories of Hope) Film Festival to be held on June 8.


The Office of the Vice President uploaded on Facebook the trailers of the top 10 short films or the finalists to the INPFF's gala night and awarding ceremony.

The entry to the gala night on Saturday at Cinema 7 of Ayala Trinoma Mall is on an invite-only basis.

The INPFF will feature Breaking Through The Darkness by Ronald James Baculo, Maestro Ng Pag(b)asa by Immaculate Estepa, Litratista by Allan Lazaro, Obra by Geneva Bernal Mali, and Modern Day Hero by Roy Robert Rusiana.

The others are Hijabs and Hopes in Quiapo by Demie Dangla, Maglabay RA in Sakit by Mijan Jumalon, Yapak by Romel Mondragon Lozada, White Helmet Rescuers by Analisa Puod, and Ka Dodoy by Margaret Serranilla.

The Office of the Vice President organized the nationwide, all-digital film competition for original short documentaries in partnership with Ayala Foundation Inc. and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

The Istorya ng Pag-Asa project started as a traveling photo gallery featuring different extraordinary and inspiring stories of Filipino people.

This aims to “spread the perseverance, dedication, and warmth of ordinary Filipinos amid life’s adversities” and inspire people.

"We can change the conversation and build our nation with the hope that transcends gender, social status, political party, religion or region, or business affiliation," Vice President Leni Robredo said.

Robredo said the shortfilm "Breaking Through The Darkness" shares the unique story of dealing with depression through breakdancing.

"Hijabs and Hopes in Quiapo" tells the story of Amanah Busran Lao, who was born in Marawi City, but moved to Manila in 2008. She is an advocate of human rights and involved in a cultural tour of Muslim Town in Quiapo.

"At its heart, this film aims to show that despite cultural and religious differences, we are all still part of one nation," she said.

The "Maestro ng Pag(b)asa" is a documentary which depicts the inspiring story of a public school teacher Ryan Habitan Homan, who launched the Balsa-Basa initiative in a remote Sorsogon village.

"Litratista" is about Nanay Fely, who found her niche in photography after she became the official photographer of public elementary schools in Manila.

Through this inspiring story of "Ka Dodoy," Robredo said the filmmakers hope to let more people know about the struggles of fisherfolk, and to know that something has to be done to save Philippine waters.

"Obra" is a short film about artist Alexander Quizon, who was consumed by drugs but eventually found his life’s purpose.

"Yapak" tells the story of Rodrigo and Robinson Rada, blind brothers from Maasim, Saragani Province whose livelihood is to harvest and dehusk coconuts while the "White Helmet Rescuers" is a collaborative effort with International Alert Philippines, with the purpose of championing the heroes of Marawi.

"Maglabay RA in Sakit" tells the story of Khalid Hamid (RkJun), a 23-year-old Tausug rap artist, who is determined to pursue rap music, even as he is beset by the challenges of poverty, loss, and the effects of terrorism in Southern Mindanao.

“Modern Day Hero” is about SPO4 Bill Felisan, who was a street child in the 1980s.

"This film hopes to inspire people, and shed light on the cases of children in conflict with the law who deserve a second chance," said Robredo.