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FEU short film “Pua Iyam” goes to US, China after local wins

An award-winning short film from Far Eastern University was screened as part of the Diwa Filipino Film Showcase at Seattle Center Armory Loft 1 in the US this June and competed at the ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival in China, also this June.

“Pua Iyam” (Coming Out), a film about a Filipino-Chinese student (Rowi Du) who discovers his true identity and feelings for his childhood friend (Raphael Cruz), further spreads its cinematic reach to other countries. This comes after it bagged the Best Screenplay and Best Actor in a Lead Role awards at the 9th Largabista Film Festival in Tacloban City, Leyte and a special citation on gender sensitivity from the first Palawan International Film Festival.

Written and directed by Juan Pablo Pineda III, the film previously won several awards from different student film competitions starting from its home turf in FEU then moving on to De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, University of the Philippines-Diliman and Mapua University.

“Pua Iyam” kicked off its victorious run last year by winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Performance and Best Poster in the Black Reel category of FEU’s Sinepiyu 2017. It won for Pineda the Outstanding Direction trophy and for the production team of IndieGo Pictures the Gold Award for Best Picture and the Design Excellence and Technical Excellence awards in the Sibol Category of DLS-CSB’s CineSB 7: The Main Installment.

This year, the film took home the Best Cinematography award and another special citation from UP Cinema’s Piling Obrang Vidyo XIV “for being able to incorporate identity and culture in one film that meshed together tastefully.” It bagged the Cardinal Bronze Film Award, Best Film Editing and Best Cinematography in the intercollegiate category of CineMapúa 2018.

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The film was also selected as part of CineMakulay Film Festival 2017, 29th Gawad CCP for Alternative Film and Video at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the Indie Un-Film Festival at De La Salle University-Manila. It was also shown as part of Eksena 2017 organized by Dalubhasaan ng mga Umuusbong na Mag-aaral ng Araling Pilipino (DANUM) DLSU.

“Pua Iyam is a film that is close to my heart. There are reasons why I should not give up — my goals and my brother, who’s in a comatose condition. As soon as he wakes up I would like to give these awards to him,” the writer-filmmaker said.

Pineda got ample support from Du, who also line produced, edited and designed the sound for the film, and their classmates — associate producer Maria Alanna Cargullo, production manager Lyka Valerie Dela Cruz, camera team members Karla Relis, Jose Miguel Ramirez and Amiel Ona, production designers Reina Rizz Esguerra and Kyla Lodriga, wardrobe and make-up artist Mickey Ponce, assistant director Zahara Depaling and script continuity supervisor Krystel Saguit. Mentor Seymour Sanchez served as creative consultant.

The film was shown as part of Diwa Filipino Film Showcase’s “Queer Stories” along with “Orlie” by Avelino Mark Balmes, “Queer Transnational Love in the time of Social Media and Globalization” by Adrian Alarilla, “Act Like A Woman” and “In This Family” by Drama Del Rosario, and “Akalingwan Nang Rosa (Rosa Forgets)” by Max Canlas. The film festival is made in cooperation with the annual Pagdiriwang Philippine Festival, celebrating the Filipino spirit wherever it resides by sharing Filipino and Filipino-American stories to the Seattle community.

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“Pua Iyam” vied for international recognition at the ShanghaiPRIDE Film Festival, which supports emerging Chinese filmmakers and also brings cutting-edge international queer cinema to Shanghai. The ShPFF earlier worked with the Beijing Queer Filmfest to host film screenings and discussions before offering a wide array of events, as well as opportunities for filmmakers.

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