THOMASIAN directorial flare was all over the 2010 Cinemalaya as veteran filmmaker Gil M. Portes and relative newbie Rommel “Milo” Tolentino were named best directors in the Director’s Showcase and Short Film category, respectively.

Photo by Rey Ian M. CruzPortes won for his film “Two Funerals” which also got the runner-up Special Jury Prize.

“I am deeply honored to be the first best director in this new category,”  Portes said, a Philosophy major from the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters who bested fellow accomplished directors Mario O’Hara, Edward Mark Meily, Joselito Altejeros and Joel Lamangan. A black comedy, the movie follows a mother as she makes a road trip to recover the remains of her daughter which get substituted for another. The movie was also named the Audience Choice.

“I am proud to say that all my films came from my heart, it came from my emotion, no one imposed it to me,” Portes said. He explained profit considerations take secondary importance when he makes a movie, “or else, your work will come out dishonest.”

Portes said film requires both artistic brilliance and societal consciousness, so films usually expose the inconvenient realities in the Philippines such as the rotten in Two Funerals.

“As a director you should never bore the audience, because next to God, it is only you who can gather people,” Portes said.

Big-shot short filmmaker

Photo courtesy of Milo TolentinoThe movie tells the story of a boy vacationing with his aunt on a memorable summer of mischief and discovery. Tolentino, a Communication Arts graduate of UST, believes in celebrating life despite of its often depressing circumstances.

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“People seem to think that the poor do nothing but dwell on their unfortunate conditions, but what others don’t realize is that these people are filled with cheer,” he said.

This distinct viewpoint is quite obvious in “P,” which won the runner-up Special Jury Prize in Short Film.

For the whole 20 minutes of the short, the story played around with words and names starting with the letter “P.”

“Some people asked me why I chose the letter “P” as the focal point.” The photographer-filmmaker simply answered that the letter “X” would have been too difficult (to be a focal point) since he would have to think of words starting with “X.”

“P” also bagged the awards best in screenplay and Audience Choice. Tolentino has made a genre out of the adolescent short as he has directed a number of award-winning short films for Cinemalaya that focused on children such as Blogog (2009) and Andong (2008). In all of the films, he showed a light but sure touch and an endearing capacity to celebrate the joys of childhood.


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