MANILA, PHILIPPINES – A film student from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde bagged the Best Sound Design prize in the eighth Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition held recently in Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley).
Aki Red got the award for his short film “Signal Notice,” winning over six other nominees, namely fellow Benilde film major Xyron Parapara (“Mundong Walang Katiyakan”), Neo Bryce (“You are Here”), Jaime Morados (“Protacio and the Bum”), Immanuel Verona (“Gulis”), and Maricel Sombrio (“Bluetooth”).
In “Signal Notice,” an elderly patriarch spends his final days trying to reconnect with his loved ones using modern technology. The old man finds comfort among a growing number of animals around his house.
“This experimental film was based on the emotions I felt reading stories of sick people who faced their death alone in their own household. The loneliness and isolation these people feel will drive them to find one last moment of reconnection to the people that made their life happy – one last moment of comfort before they are finally at peace,” Red explained.
Red previously directed “Lilipad na si Birdie” (Birdie Will Finally Fly) which won the best film in the 2019 Manila Student Film Festival 19-21 age category hosted by International School Manila and second runner-up in the 2019 Realifilm interschool competition organized by Adamson University’s Silip@Lente.
“I also wanted to show how with the prominence of social media and modern technology, the younger generations are connected more than ever, but can the older generations still keep up with it? Does modern connectivity last up until one’s final days? Let this be a wake-up call for the modern generation to appreciate the importance of personal connections,” the student filmmaker added.
Nabifilmex is “the first ever festival geared towards producing new and fresh cinematic works that depict the culture of its local folks,” film festival director Atty. Karen Santiago-Malaki stressed.
The festival’s edition was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the organizers opted to adapt to the absence of physical screenings with the creation of its own film channel.
“It has been our practice to select only 24 competing films. However, considering the deluge of film submissions and in recognition of those who continued to make beautiful films despite the current challenges, our selection committee decided on (selecting more films),” the festival director and lawyer revealed.
“Making this film was a surprising venture for me as it was made during the very first lockdown of the pandemic. It began with a bunch of random clips I shot around my house while practicing my camera composition skills. Then, eventually I saw a pattern in the visuals. It began reflecting unexplained emotions that affected me enough for me to decide that this film needs to be made,” Red disclosed.
“Everything felt so unsure at that time, and there was a constant weight of anxiety and loneliness seeping through unexpected moments of every day. This film served as a way for me to cope – to continue holding a camera and telling stories that matter in today’s times,” the young director shared.
Apart from the six nominees in the Sound Design category, 39 other short films were chosen to compete in this year’s Nabifilmex. Eleven documentaries and 10 foreign films have also been shown in exhibition.
The Nabifilmex jury is composed of film Prof. Ed Cabagnot and filmmakers Benji Garcia and Zurich Chan.