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April 29, 2016

Short Film Festival propels students to great achievements

True to its commitment of being the steward of young film-makers towards success in the local motion picture industry, Black Barong Film Festival (BBFF) showcased the best short films at The BBFF: Invitationals 2016.

In partnership with SineReel X slated last April 20, 21 and 22 at the Thomas Aquinas Research Center Auditorium of the University of Santo Tomas (UST), Manila, the event marked the festival’s first extended run since its inception in 2009.

“We received an overwhelming response from students in different colleges and universities, and because there were many excellent entries, this year’s three-day festival aimed to provide the avenue for young talents to celebrate their achievements and compel them towards future excellence,” said Executive Director Nico Hernandez.

More than creating a platform to exhibit student films, Hernandez added that BBFF believes that peer recognition is essential for the youth to gain confidence in their chosen craft. 

With a mission to support, promote and fuel the passion of the new breed of film-makers, the festival premiered works by students of San Sebastian College Recoletos-Manila, University of the East (UE), Far Eastern University (FEU) and the University of Santo Tomas (UST). 

“We started with less than 10 entries, and we’ve grown to about 60 short films on average each year. The selection of finalists is a critical process. We invited the schools in the University Belt which were able to produce excellent and winning films in the past.”

Sharing the vision of producing and presenting top quality Filipino movies, ABS-CBN Star Cinema rallied their industry veterans to take part as the festival’s 2016 judging panel. Esteemed jurors included Star Cinema’s Creative Manager John Paul Abellera, Head of Production Marizel Samson Martinez and Creative Supervisor and Screenwriter Roumella Nina Monge, internationally acclaimed writer-director Antoinette Jadaone, and award winning cinematographer for film and television Herman Claravall.

“To encourage the students to pursue a career in film making, this time around, the winners will have intership opportunities with Star Cinema. We are happy and grateful for this partnership because with their support, they will also hone and refine the skills of these fresh talents,” Hernandez stated.

Among the 41 finalists featured, the short films produced by FEU garnered the most awards.

Top rank was given to Keep Right, collecting awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Production Design and Best Musical Score. The film also earned Best Direction for neophyte director Yesh Burce, and Best Actress for Divine Aucina. The Special Jury Prize, considered as the closest contender for Best Picture, was awarded to the short film Pitik-Bulag. 

Other films of note are Kalabit for Best Sound Editing, Dulog for Best Trailer, and Buffering - with a moving performance by Paulo Alinario, received the Best Actor Award. Excellence in visual execution was given to UST’s Pag-Uwi, which collected Best Cinematography and Best Editting.

Inspiring the creativity of the aspiring youth, winners at The BBFF: Invitationals 2016 received a PHP 50,000.00 film grant from Open Reel Film Gears and, a chance at valuable mentorships and learning from the best professional film-makers in the country. 

“From this point on, we not only recognize the best short films, we also take part in shaping the future of these students. It is our genuine honor to recognize the achievements of the students and we’re very excited for a bigger and better Black Barong next year. ” 

For more information and updates, find the Black Barong Film Festival on Facebook or follow @Black Barong on Twitter.

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