“The Man Who Isn’t There and Other Stories of Longing” by Trishtan Perez won Experimental Best Work in .GIFF’s National Short Film Competition for its use of a photobooth as a framing device.
.GIFF breaks new ground
Fiel Estrella (The Philippine Star) - December 7, 2019 - 12:00am

Launched in 2016, the Globe Independent Film Festival became the country’s first online platform for both up-and-coming and established filmmakers. The festival, also known as .GIFF, held this year’s Festival of New Cinema from Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 across different venues that have incubated art movements along Chino Roces: Illumination Studio, Nova Gallery, Warehouse 8, and even Black Market.

This year, the focus was on the short film, which was celebrated through installations, virtual reality setups, live audiovisual experiments, projections and screenings of short films from the main competition as well as selections from known directors.

Nova Gallery became a space for an exhibition of VR films, as well as repeat screenings of Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s The Anthem, a six-minute short in which two women speak to one another next to a body of water.

Illumination Studio saw “Experiential Cinema,” or audiovisual collaborations that combined vertical cinema by Annie Pacana, Mvltiverse, Dex Fernandez, Sublingua, Submachines, and Timmy Harn and with music by Baile, Big Hat Gang, Similarobjects, Tarsius and Auspicious Family. On the second day came talks with various filmmakers: a short film masterclass with JP Habac, Raymond Red and Keith Deligero moderated by Armi Rae Cacanindin; a masterclass about Antoinette Jadaone’s journey in the industry moderated by Richard Bolisay; and a retrospective and masterclass moderated by Quark Henares on music video director Zev Deans, who has worked with St. Vincent.

At Black Market, showcases of international and local short films curated by Carlo Manatad were screened. The foreign shorts included Blessed Land by Pham Ngoc Lan, Exam by Sonia Haddad, She Runs by Qiu Yang, and Set a Seal Upon Thine Heart by Omer Tobi. Meanwhile, the local shorts lineup consisted of Raymond Red’s Anino, Raya Martin’s Bakasyon, Antoinette Jadaone’s Saling Pusa, Jerrold Tarog’s Carpool, Lav Diaz’s Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas, Kiri Dalena’s Red Saga, and Remton Siega Zuasola’s Ritmo.

Winners of the competitions were announced on the second day, among them Tonight! by Robin Cortez Esgaro for Music Video Best Work, Tayo by Josiah Gil Hiponia for Narrative Best Work, and Little Brown Brother by Annika May Cruz Cudala for Animation Best Work. Using a photobooth as a framing device and singular location for micro-narratives on human relationships, The Man Who Isn’t There and Other Stories of Longing by Trishtan Perez took home the award for Experimental Best Work. Documentary Best Work went to Maglabay Ra In Sakit by Mijan Jumalon, about a young Tausug rap artist named Khalid Hamid, a.k.a. RkJun.

With a goal to create strides forward for contemporary film, video and storytelling, as well as making them more accessible to filmmakers and viewers alike, the Festival of New Cinema put an emphasis on efforts to experiment with and innovate the medium as a whole — and it’s safe to say they certainly delivered on that.

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