Q & A with Cinemalaya Short A Film Directors

It is Cinemalaya time again. Brace yourselves with another list competing for the Philippines’ largest festival of independent films. But don’t expect full-length as only short films are on the competition.

Short films are usually divided into either A or B with five entries each. Yesterday, I was able to watch Short A and had the opportunity to get the answers of the directors during the open forum right after the last film.

Below are the non-verbatim questions from the audience, and answers from filmmakers as heard and understood by the writer.


Question: What inspired you to do the film?

Ryanne Murcia (Apasol/Chasing Sun): It was the result of my state of mind during the conceptualization of the film. I just turn into film what I was feeling at that time. (Watch the film if you want to know that “state of mind”)

Glenmark  C. Doromal & Eero Yves Francisco (Gatilyo ng Baril): It started with a game “Call of duty” which shows the assassination of JFK. We got interested to that game and the idea of assassination. We wanted to show that there were many assassination attempts happened during Martial Law but Aquino’s was the most successful one. And we wanted to show what if those series of failed assassinations lead to that successful one.

Kenneth Dagatan (Sanctissima): I really like horror films.

Arvin “Kadiboy” Belarmino (Kyel): I want to go beyond doing narrative films which I am used to. I want to go out of my comfort zone.

Milo Tolentino (Nenok): I grew up being a devout Catholic, acquainted with churches in Batangas where I was born. I also love being with statues of saints.


Question: (For Kyel) What does Rona symbolize in the film? (Spoiler alert!)

Belarmino (Kyel): Rona was only a product of Ronald’s dream. She is not related to Ronald’s life.


Question: (For Apasol) In the beginning of the film, the narrator said that the sun and the moon had a lost child. What did the lost child represent?

Murcia: It represent that one thing that same sex couples would never had – a child. So it was lost.


Question: How many days did it take to shot the film?

Dagatan: Just for three days only. And due to the limited budget, we cheated on doing the film by showing to you that the house was two-storey but it was actually a one floor setting. We only showed the stairs for you to think there was a room upstairs.

Question: The fetuses was justified. Who did it?

Dagatan: We hired a prosthetic artist from Manila then shipped the fetuses to Cebu.


Question: What is your favorite scene in your film?

Murcia: The scene where Mark just passed by Eli then went to the river to throw the letter he made. It was my favorite scene because of the metaphor the river gives such as opportunity. Opportunity to many things.

Doromal & Francisco: Our film was a scene itself (due to its shortness). But my favorite scene was the killing of Estrella. Estrella learned so many things about the assassination itself and she symbolized the Filipinos. We learned everything but at the end of the day, the information stopped to ourselves during the Martial Law. No one knew everything.

Dagatan: The last scene where the victim was killed. It took us a number of shots to make it.

Belarmino: When Ronald was killed in an instant which I think you didn’t expect.

Tolentino: The scene where the boy was with his mother in the cemetery holding the flower. It represents my adoration to the Virgin Mary as a mother. During the conceptualization of the film, it was actually what I really thought about and want to see in the film.


Short A Films synopsis, as seen by the writer.

Film: Apasol (Chasing Sun)

Director: Ryanne Murcia

Synopsis: A story about a homosexual relationship in a world of opportunities, doubts and breaks.


Film: Gatilyo ng Baril

Director: Glenmark C. Doromal and Eero Yves Francisco

Synopsis: A story about an investigator in a world of few truths, more lies, and attempts.

Film: Sanctissima

Director: Kenneth Dagatan

Synopsis: A story about an abortionist mother in a world of her own miseries and mysteries.

Film: Kyel

Director: Arvin “Kadiboy” Belrmino

Synopsis: A story about a man in a world of his own dreams, and another man in a world of command and (in) justice.

Film: Nenok

Director: Milo Tolentino

Synopsis: A story about a child in a world of saints, church and cemetery where he makes his own story.

One Response to “Q & A with Cinemalaya Short A Film Directors”
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  1. […] already knew the things that inspired the directors of films in Cinemalaya Short A. Read this question and answer post, this time from the Cinemalaya Short B […]

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