Young Filipino filmmakers demonstrate how to think outside of the box by simply and literally flipping the box.
Shot in vertical format, three short films by local amateur directors, were chosen as winners of this year’s Nespresso Talents Philippines.
Nespresso Talents is a celebration of creative filmmaking by means of telling a story shot vertically (9:16 frame) in 2-3 minutes.
The competition, unique on its own merits, highlights the company’s principles, or as Fabio De Gregorio, Nespresso Southeast Asia regional business development manager and one of the local jurors, explained, “We see a clear link between our business and filmmakers: both share commonalities which is craftsmanship.”
Anchored on the theme “Virtuous Circles,” the winning shorts for the fifth edition feature heartwarming stories of hope with focus on real Filipinos and Filipino virtues.
“This year’s theme is timely and relevant. All stories are pure and sincere, bringing us back to simple stories, to what it’s like to be a human being, a Filipino, especially now that magulo sa paligid (we’re surrounded by chaos),” juror and multi-awarded writer and director Antoinette Jadaone said during the virtual awarding of winners held via Zoom.
Pandemic notwithstanding, the Philippines ranks as the second country in the world with the most entries. We are also the sole participant in Southeast Asia, and one of the two Asian countries aside from China.
Nespresso Talents engages over 50 countries and typically garners more than 2,000 entries in a variety of genres. However, this year’s run captured more than the usual number of entries despite the pandemic.
“We received, in the end, more than twice than the normal number of videos submitted in the past years,” said Colas Dupont, Nestlé Espresso S.A. Global Sponsoring and Experiential Events project manager.
Dupont added, “We had to adapt and we adapted pretty well. We were surprised that filmmakers continue to follow us in this journey.”
“We have seen a huge diversity in the profile of videos in all markets—documentaries, animation, imaginary stories. The number of videos we received from the Philippines was really amazing.”
The top three winners from the Philippine pool, interestingly, capture the same spirit of wide-eyed innocence of children.
Grand winner, “Tsinelas” by Charlene Tupas was recognized by Jose Javier Reyes for its “extremely original” and innovative take on vertical filmmaking by means of split-screen that sewed the stories of two young boys who come from similar backgrounds joined together by a torn slipper.
“For every frame, I strived to create something real. And then I had this crazy idea, I got non-professional actors and trusted that it will all just work together,” shared Tupas, who revealed that her winning entry marked the first time she directed a motion picture.
“I haven’t been to a film school, but I’m committed to exposing myself to the world of cinema,” she said.
Second prize winner Ramil Lantican used his three minutes to present a feel-good story about a group of classmates who appears to be scheming to cheat on their exam but is actually planning to surprise their teacher, one of the frontliners and “new heroes” featured in “Cheat Day.”
Despite the challenges of filming more than a dozen kids in just five hours, Lantican was able to create something that’s raw—“I instructed the kids to be who they are, to play in the set, to have fun”—and, according to Jadaone, “may kurot sa puso.”
The story of a young boy’s admiration for his older brother is featured in Massah Gonzales-Gamboa’s “My Brother,” which won third prize.
Because the entire film was shot in Silay, Negros Occidental, Gonzales-Gamboa’s film evokes a sense of authenticity, showcasing the real and raw picture of a typical Filipino family. “We were able to show what kind of life people have…It shows you exactly what the city is all about.”
Reyes noted that the top three films stood out from the rest because of their clear and effective portrayal of the Filipino people.
“I’m so happy that the best films were not glamour films. People look like people. This is the Filipino humanized and not glamourized,” said the seasoned director and member of the jury.
Each of the winners took home a Nespresso machine and capsules, trophy, and cash prize. Tupas received a cash equivalent to 1,500 euros and an all-expense paid trip to Cannes as a delegate of Nespresso Talents 2021. Lantican and Gonzales-Gamboa received EU1,000 and EU500, respectively.
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