Writing and directing my first short film was a fun yet very challenging experience for me. It test how creative and resourceful I am as a filmmaker. It was not well-planned and budgeted. As the name of our production suggests, it was all ON THE SPOT.
The idea started when I interviewed Ronald Tamfalan in his exhibit last September 11, 2013 at Robinson’s Place GenSan. The interview was intended for my blog and not for film material. It was timely when SalaMindanaw International Film Festival (SIFF) collaborated with the MunaTo Festival. Since Ronald is from Kiamba, Sarangani Province, I recommended him to Teng Mangansakan (the festival director) for the Sarangani Open Film Competition. I thought assisting him is my only role in his film, since I also recommended Ariel Lalisan in the competition. But as I saw it, Ronald has no production team to help him. So I decided (with the guidance of Direk Teng), to assist him as his Director-Writer in his film. I believe that the story of Ronald is worth sharing and at the same time the film serves as promotion for him as an I.P. artist in Sarangani. The film is based on his life story, specifically the story of his painting called Bé (Grandmother).
I came to the point where I became desperate in finding the staff and crew for the short film. I cannot quit because of the fact that Ronald will suffer. Some of my friends who have exposure in filmmaking were not available for the shooting days. So I find ways to solve this problem. I scouted people who have skills in making films or at least have basic knowledge about it.
It was an answered prayer, a somewhat divine intervention, when I met my Assistant Director (Michelle “Cheng” Ann Gonzales) at SM City GenSan during the promotional tour of Brillante Mindoza for his film Sapi. He recommended my Cinematographer (Allan Jay “AJ” Resane) and my Musical Scorer (Claire Berigay Pasion). My Cinematographer also recommended my Editor (Julius Cloma Luaña). I am lucky because they also wanted to join in SIFF, so it’s easy for me to convince them to make the film. I also convinced my classmates in the Graduate School Program - Anna Patricia Cadiz (as wife of the lead actor) and Ariel Oberez (as my Production Designer), as well as my sister Vanessa Alfasain (as the cousin of the lead actor in the film).
I cannot say that 100% of the script was materialized. Not all I visualized for the film was put into reality. In the filmmaking lingo, it is called “shit happens”. There were a lot of challenges that we have encountered before, during and after the shoot. Some of it were:
- Ronald got hospitalized before the shoot started because of the stress in filmmaking, his family and the politics in Kiamba
- Lack of financial support. The producers that I have expected to help did not extend their support when I needed them most.
- The limited time for shooting compromise the quality of making the film. Our schedules also did not coincide with the shooting days. It supposed to be two days shoot but it extended into one week.
- The overlapping of task and “huge” ego of some of my crew members in film production. It caused friction over creative control. Some of my crew members also did not internalize their roles during the shooting days.
I did not expect that Bé won the Best Film in the SIFF (Sarangani Shorts Category). Honestly, I am bit disappointed about the film. I am upset in the technical side of it plus the irritating attitude of one crew member (I don’t want to disclose the name for privacy). Thank God! I am now in the state of moving-on. I do not want to put myself into this blame-game scenario. I understand that this is my first short film. Looking at the brighter side, I have learned so much from it. It is good that I experienced it because these challenges will be useful for my other two films that I am going to shoot soon.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people who help the film materialized:
The cast & crew:
Ronald Tamfalan – Thank you for trusting me to share your story to the people. Thank you also for being a good actor in the film.
Michelle Ann Gonzales, Allan Jay “AJ” Resane, Julius Cloma Luaña, Claire Berigay Pasion – Thank you for giving your time and effort in making this film project.
Ram Tagum, Jun Mer Caceres & Conseto Tamfalan – Thank you for sharing your music to the people.
Ariel Oberez & Anna Patricia Cadiz – Thank you so much for being supportive classmates.
Vanessa Alfasain – Thank you sis for always supporting my dreams and ambitions. You are always there to help me.
To the Summer Film Camp:
Teng Mangansakan – Thank you Direk Teng for opening another opportunity for us. Thank you for bringing and conceptualizing the SIFF here in SOCCSKSARGEN. Thank you also for being a great mentor.
To my fellow batch mates in film camp – I am thankful that I have met you all. I am looking forward for our future collaboration.
Thank you also to our other mentors in the film camp, namely – Ed Cabagnot, Xavier Francis Pasion, Gabby Fernandez, Coicoi Nacario, and Auraeus Solito.
Thank you also to the SOCSKSARGEN Center for Film Arts Inc. (SCFA).
To the Provincial Government of Sarangani:
Michelle Lopez Solon & Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon for supporting this film fest idea brought by Direk Teng in Sarangani.
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