Salva with the best picture trophy for “Anne”. Photo by Josa Camille A. BassigTHE MANY challenges of UST student life are presented through the aural-visual dynamism of digital cinema in the Q Short Film Festival, a student film competition held in connection with the UST Quadricentennial.

Organized by the Office for Quadricentennial Activities and Highlights, Central Student Council and local councils, the festival has the theme, “Ano’ng kuwentong UST mo? (What’s your UST tale?).” Student filmmakers from the Faculties of Arts and Letters, Pharmacy, and Medicine and Surgery, as well as from the Colleges of Nursing, Architecture, Fine Arts and Design, Commerce, Rehabilitation Sciences, Education, and Science participated in the film fest. There were also participants from the Conservatory of Music and the two High Schools. The screenings were held January 5 to 7 in various venues on campus.

Michael Angelo Malicsi, director of the Office for Alumni Relations and one of the judges, said the contest provided a chance for amateur Thomasian filmmakers to show their creativity and ingenuity.

“The films were a pleasant surprise,” he said. “They showed that UST is a melting pot of great talents.”

On the awards night held January 25 at Plaza Mayor, “Anne” by Advertising Arts student Marti Salva and Painting majors Expi Perez, Jerry Balantucas, Miguel Lorca, and Loi Caramancion won best picture. The movie also won prizes for production design, music and sound design, editing, and direction (Salva). Each award had a cash prize, so over all, “Anne” won P180,000—quite a sum for a film that was made, according to Salva, with less than P500.

Second best picture was “Behind the Scene” by Communication Arts senior Margo Flores. It won P70,000. Third was “Takbo” by Architecture student Karla Toledo. Because Takbo won minor prizes, its cash take was P100,000.

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Only all of eight minutes, less than half the required maximum running time of 20 minutes, “Anne” hooks the audience with its display of puzzling and shaky shots showing images what appears to be a woman being maimed and murdered. But the morbid impression is easily dispelled later on by humor as the footage turns out to be just the rambling imagination of a Fine Arts student struggling with a photography assignment in his course.

Ironically, Salva said that the production crew had initially thought of making a romantic movie, but a film without dialogue was the easier way to go, which led to the darker but ultimately humorous “Anne”.

“As affirmed by the results, ‘Anne’ was the strongest film,” Malicsi said. “It kept me glued to it until the end. It was successful in stirring and sustaining my interest. It also genuinely presented the theme.”

“Behind the Scene” takes on the film-within-a-film concept as it talks about the struggles of a group of Communication Arts students in a pre-production meeting as they brainstorm what movie to produce for the Q film festival.

“Takbo” tackles the contrasting lives of two Architecture students, one rich but a wastrel, the other poor but very responsible.

The movie did not have a script and director Toledo, a Varsitarian photographer, said she just left it to the actors to improvise their lines.

The movie won best screenplay and was named Audience Choice.

Salva said his production crew was composed mostly of “delayed graduates,” that is, students who didn’t finish their courses on time because of deficiencies or their decision to shift to another course.

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Salva said he had originally taken Painting, but later shifted to Advertising Arts.

Perez, who’s now on his fifth year in Painting and who should have graduated last year, said delaying one’s graduation can be infuriating for parents.

“We’re going to show this (best picture award) to our parents,” Perez said. “I would say, ‘Mommy, this is for all my shortcomings.”

The delay has obviously been beneficial for Salva, Perez, and the rest. If not for the delay, they could not have been given the chance to participate in the ‘Q’ filmfest and to make a strong case of becoming the next Gerry de Leon, Gil Portes, or Brillante Mendoza. Ana May R. dela Cruz

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