'World-class!': MMDA chief wowed by talented Pangasinan student-filmmakers

Published April 29, 2021, 7:24 PM

by Betheena Unite

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Benhur Abalos congratulated on Thursday, April 29 the group of students from Pangasinan who bagged the “Best International Documentary Film” award at the recently concluded Fresh International Film Festival in Ireland.

MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalos (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

“I want to congratulate the students from Alaminos City National High School in Pangasinan who created this award-winning film. They are proof that Filipino-made films are world-class,” Abalos said, referring to the students’ work titled “Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong.”

Abalos bared that the students who created the documentary were participants in the Metro Manila Film Festival’s (MMFF) student short film caravan.

With this, he encouraged other student-filmmakers to join the MMFF student caravan, which will have an online set-up this year.

The film caravan will provide students an opportunity to learn from distinguished filmmakers on the basics of filmmaking, cinematography, script writing, acting, directing techniques, viability considerations in producing films, and other filmmaking aspects.

A short film competition will also be held to showcase the young filmmakers’ masterpieces.

“Through the student short film competition, we give chance to our young filmmakers to have their works be seen by bigger audiences by pairing it together with full-length films,” said Abalos, the concurrent MMFF chairman.

He also shared that the MMFF was preparing a student shortfilm handbook, which would provide students with general insights into both the aesthetic and technical demands in filmmaking. It is meant to complement MMFF Film Making Caravan and Workshop.

“The future of our local film industry looks very promising in the hands of our young filmmakers. And the MMFF is committed to help in honing their skills on movie making,” Abalos said.

“We wish to see a new generation of filmmakers, exploring fresh ideas and stories worth-telling that will capture the hearts not just of Filipinos here and abroad, but also of the international film industry,” he added.

“Sa Layag ng Bangkang Paurong,” which depicts the challenges of students working as boatmen in Hundred Islands–a popular tourist spot in Pangasinan–has also been recognized in the Children’s International Film Festival in Bangladesh and 3rd Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival in Japan.

It also earned the “Best Advocacy Statement” and “Best Documentary Film” awards in the Streets to Schools National Film Competition of the Association of the Rights of Children in Southeast Asia last March.