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    Benilde short film tops MSFF

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    A student film from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde recently ruled the 19-21 years old category (Further/Higher Education) of the third Manila Student Film Festival at International School Manila.

    “Lilipad Na Si Birdie” by Aki Red (no relation to the Red family of filmmakers) followed up its recent victory at Adamson University’s “REALIFILM 2019: All Sacrifices for Passion” tilt, where it bagged the Bronze Award, Best Supporting Actress for Deena De Guzman, and Best Playbill, with its MSFF win.

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    In the short film, Birdie (Sky Cobres) is an aspiring illustrator obsessed with being perfect in his work. His insecurity leads him to loneliness. However, when a pair of magical glasses are sent from the heavens above, his life changes for both the better and the worse.

    “Lilipad Na Si Birdie” was originally part of a three-part anthology Red wrote and directed as a requirement for one of his General Education classes last year.

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    “The film itself was inspired by a personal ‘hugot’ of mine. I was inclined to write stories related to pursuing dreams or being an obsessed artist. I also got inspiration from a number of shorts in YouTube and from random lines of ideas I save in my notes in the most unlikely situations,” Red revealed.

    The student filmmaker had always wanted to enter his films in competitions, “but they are all usually unpolished after being screened to an audience once.”

    “When I found out about both Realifilm and MSFF, I wanted to take the opportunity to show my work to a larger audience. The theme of the contests coincided with one of my prior shorts, and that’s how ‘Lilipad Na Si Birdie’ came to be. I revisited the film and did some retouches to polish it,” he shared.

    Disconnected still photo
    “Disconnected” still photo

    “Disconnected,” which is directed by Ven Gabriel Potang and written by Kathleen Orpilla, both from the University of Saint Louis-Senior High School in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan, topped the 15-18 years (Senior/High School) age group and bagged the Audience Choice award. The four-minute film tells the story of students leaving their frustrations over a certain school project after a sudden blackout.

    Kung Fu Adolescent still photo
    “Kung Fu Adolescent” still photo

    IS Manila’s Luke Ryan, Patrick Hopkins, Clement Lepage, Eisuke Abeta and Mohammad Affan Alam led the 12- 14 category (Middle/High school) with their entry “Kung Fu Adolescent.” In their short film, a young boy wishes to borrow a book to read, but his hopes are quickly abolished by a thief. Discouraged, the boy seeks out to get revenge, until a wise master teaches him a secret martial art.

    Grade school student Sophia Relf, also from IS Manila, prevailed in the 8-11 age group (Junior/Elementary) for her stop-motion animation “The Cookie Thief” about a snowman trying to steal cookies at Christmas.

    The Cookie Thief still photo
    “The Cookie Thief” still photo

    A Best Animated Film prize was also awarded for the first time in MSFF’s three-year history to “MEOWBOT3000 vs. FISHZILLA” by Michael Angelo “Mio” Dagsaan of UP Diliman. In the film, Meowbot3000, a quick and cheap mecha by the government, is tasked to defend the Meow-Meow City when peace is threatened by a mysterious fish monster which emerges from the sea and wreaks havoc.

    Veteran theater and film actress Monique Wilson, advertising directors Ricky Villabona and Luis Tabuena, and animator Dani Montano judged the entries in the film festival, which celebrates the creativity of young filmmakers by providing an audience for their talent and inspiring student artists.

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