A short film about a community leader who inspired his fellow fishermen to conserve the waters they rely on for livelihood bagged the top prize at Istorya ng Pag-asa Film Festival 2019.
Named Best Film at the gala night held Saturday, June 8, was “Ka Dodoy”—a film about Roberto “Dodoy” Ballon, chairman of the Kapunungan sa mga Gagmay ng Mangingisda sa Concepcion in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay, who was instrumental in leading his village to saving their fish stock, amid the dangers of overfishing and neglect of marine resources.
Mark Vincent Aposaga and his co-director, Meg Serranilla, won the top prize of P80,000, as well as P10,000 for Best Cinematography and P10,000 for the AFI Community Development Award from Ayala Foundation.
An information technology personnel for the local government of Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay, Aposaga said they were inspired by the sense of community that Ka Dodoy and his fellow fishermen have shown.
“They came together as a community, they worked together to replant those trees and then, when the fishing population of their barangay came back, they replanted hectares of mangrove trees to protect their area. They decided among themselves that they should work together and not just rely on their government to help them,” he said. “What they are doing is something they can pass on to the next generation, so it will be sustainable for their town.”
Coming in as 1st runner-up, with a P50,000 cash prize, was “Maglabay Ra In Sakit” by Mijan Jumalon, a visual artist who is starting to venture into documentary filmmaking.
The film is about Khalid Hamid, known as RKJun, a young Tausug rap artist who strives to pursue his music and help other aspiring rap and hip-hop artists, despite losing his earlier works—and the opportunity to finally record his own album—due to the Zamboanga Siege.
Titled after RKJun’s own song, which means “this pain shall pass,” “Maglabay Ra In Sakit” also won P10,000 for Best Editing.
Meanwhile, named 2nd runner-up, with a P30,000 cash prize, was “Litratista,” a lighthearted short film about Nanay Fely Samonte, a widow who provided for her children by working as a photographer for public schools around Metro Manila. Its filmmaker, Allan Lazaro, also won P10,000 for Best Director.
All three films will also be shown in Ayala Mall Cinemas nationwide from June to October of this year. They were selected by an esteemed panel of judges, which included directors Dan Villegas and Quark Henares, multi-awarded screenplay writer and film expert Doy del Mundo, veteran actress Shamaine Buencamino, and Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chair Liza Diño.
More special awards were given away this year, with a P10,000 cash prize, including the People’s Choice Award, for “Yapak” by Romel Mondragon Lozada. The film shows a glimpse into the life of Rodrigo and Robinson Rada, two blind brothers from Sarangani Province who provide for themselves by harvesting and dehusking coconuts.
Meanwhile, the Office of Vice President Leni Robredo conferred a Special Recognition Award and gave P10,000 to “Modern Day Hero” by Roy Robert Rusiana. The film is about SPO4 Bill Felisan, a former street child who found his purpose as a police officer in Cebu City.
In her remarks, VP Leni shared how her office and its partners have extended assistance or worked with some of the subjects from last year’s film fest. Likewise, interventions, as well as partnerships, will be made with the subjects of INPFF 2019. Film subjects also received P10,000 during the gala night from Ayala Foundation.
Robredo said this was in keeping with the inspiration that have been shown through the films showcased in the film fest, an initiative of her office, in partnership with Ayala Foundation and the FDCP.
“Now, when we speak of hope, we do not just wait for something to happen. We strive to be defiantly hopeful by springing to action, so that our dreams will become reality,” she said.
“I see defiant hope in all these narratives… I pray that these films will teach us to be a bit kinder, a bit more empowered and empowering, and a bit more inspired—because our every action and our every work can bring a little bit of hope to those around us,” she added.