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Award-winning Benilde film “IAMANNIKA” bags int’l prize

“IAMANNIKA,” directed by Dan Verzosa, bested 19 other short films from host country Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, among others, for the said award in the Southeast Asia Competition of Short Animations of this year’s CRAFT AnimFest.

A short animation from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde film department took home the Southeast Asia Audience Award of the third CRAFT International Animation Festival.

“IAMANNIKA,” directed by Dan Verzosa, bested 19 other short films from host country Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, among others, for the said award in the Southeast Asia Competition of Short Animations of this year’s CRAFT AnimFest.

In the film, a 10-year-old student named Annika comes across a school requirement about women while she is attending her online class during the pandemic. As she works on it, she ponders upon society’s expectation of women with her mother, whom she highly looks up to.

Verzosa, who is currently pursuing a degree in filmmaking at DLS-CSB, shared that she and her team from Tuklaw Films worked on the advocacy film “with the purpose of promoting gender equality and empowerment of all women because we all know that we still experience discrimination, social inequality, and unrealistic expectations toward women.”

“The whole team behind ‘IAMANNIKA’ believes that this issue is worth addressing. Actually, if you will look closely at the title of our film, it is not just about the name of our character but also a statement on how many people still treat and look down on women,” she stressed.

CRAFT AnimFest, which ran from October 25 to 30, is “a celebration of craftsmanship and talent, but also to commune with authenticity, diversity, and physicality.”

The film festival, which received more than 1,800 entries from 97 countries, took its viewers on “an unforgettable journey through a diversity of techniques, styles, emotions, and amazing artistic personalities in the contemporary animated world.”

“IAMANNIKA” previously won Best Film Editing, Award of Virtue, and Best Animated Film at the Realifilm inter-school filmmaking competition organized by Adamson University’s Silip@Lente.

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The short animation also got the top prize in the Safe Communities category of the short film competition hosted by the Global Peace Foundation and Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation.

“IAMANNIKA” was also part of the official selection of the 16th International Student Animation Festival in Brazil and the ninth Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival in South Korea.

Verzosa is also behind the award-winning “Malapit Na, ‘Nay!” (Almost There, Mother), a short film on extrajudicial killings which she directed at Far Eastern University Senior High School, the Metro Manila Film Festival finalist and Manila Student Film Festival winner “Sala, Salin-Laway” (Living Room Banter), and “Ang Awit Na Lipos Sa Pangungulila” (A Song of a Yearning Soul).  

Another Benilde film, “CITSALP” by Jean Evangelista, Verzosa’s co-writer for “IAMANNIKA,” also made it to CRAFT AnimFest’s SEA competition. CITSALP is a short animated film on the negative effects of plastic in the world and the responsible consumption and production of plastic.

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