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Benildeans lead CineMapúa winners anew

Student filmmakers from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde asserted their mastery of “the longest-running student film festival in the Philippines” by taking the top two prizes and more during the 20th CineMapúa International Student Film Short Film Festival awards night held at the Mapúa University Gymnasium in Intramuros.

Student filmmakers from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde asserted their mastery of “the longest-running student film festival in the Philippines” by taking the top two prizes and more during the 20th CineMapúa International Student Film Short Film Festival awards night held at the Mapúa University Gymnasium in Intramuros.

“Saan Aabot ang Dapithapon?” (Where Do Sunsets Go?), written and directed by Trixie Vertera and Carissa Sierras of DLS-CSB, garnered the Cardinal Gold Film Award, Best Performance of an Actress for veteran singer-actress Celeste Legaspi, Best Production Design for Paurine Shibata, and Best Sound Design for Orion Flynn at CineMapúa 2023’s intercollegiate category.

“Saan Aabot ang Dapithapon?” focuses on a grandmother (Legaspi) and her granddaughter (Kat Galang), as they search for a missing spark plug in a garage filled with mementos to bring an old car back to life, and into the streets again. The short film centers around life, death, and finding meaning to it.

“Pig’s Game,” written and directed by their fellow Benildean CM Bautista, bagged the Cardinal Silver Film Award, Best Performance of an Actor for James Ramada, and Best Screenplay for Bautista and co-writer Tristan Aguilar. The film revolves around a run-of-the-mill theater actor caught up in an audition for a government propaganda. “Pig’s Game” also brought home the Jury Prize, Best Screenplay, and Best Performance last year at the 18th Piling Obrang Vidyo, an interschool film tilt organized by UP Cinema.

Moreover, “Alingasngas ng mga Kuliglig” (The Gossips of Cicadidae) written and directed by Vahn Pascual, also from DLS-CSB, got the Cardinal Audience Award and Best Original Music for Karl Arthur Javier and BenildeFilm alumna Nik Rosacay. In the film, a boy who is forced by his father to become the next folk healer of their town, secretly despises his conventional boring life. This until he falls in love with a tikbalang, a Philippine mythological creature which has the head and hooves of a horse.

Pascual ruled the previous edition of CineMapúa when his film “Sina Alexa, Xander at Ang Universe” got the Cardinal Gold Film Award, Cardinal Best Performance of an Actor for himself, Cardinal Best Film Editing for Corlisse Nicolas, and Cardinal Best Production Design for Melissa Cuarderno and Ralph Mojica. In addition, his other short film “Silang Mga Naligaw sa Limot” received the Special Jury Award. 

Organized by Mapúa University’s School of Media Studies, CineMapúa received 2,892 film entries from 108 countries. Fifty entries were selected as finalists, with 15 of them competing in the intercollegiate division, five in the high school category, 10 in the all-Mapúans group, and 20 for the World Film section.

Other short films from Benilde, namely “Makoko sa Baybay” (I am Going to the Beach) by Mike Cabarles and “Lilip” (Hem Stitch) by Yanie Cruz, also made it to the list of finalists which were all shown onsite at the newly constructed 150-seater Mapúa Cardinal Cinema, Francisco N. Cervantes Hall, and MPO508 at the Makati campus, and the audio-visual and seminar rooms at the Intramuros campus from March 13 to 18. The films were also screened online at www.yfilms.ph from March 22 to April 5.

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Award-winning filmmaker Arvin Belarmino, former Film Development Council of the Philippines chairperson Ms. Liza Diño, and Bulgarian director, screenwriter, and journalist Yana Lekarska comprised the Board of Jurors this year for CineMapúa, which had the theme “Festivity of Global Cultures through Visual Storytelling.”

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