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Mobile short documentary ‘Di Niyo Ba Naririnig?’ wins gold at 2022 Kota Kinabalu Film Festival

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A short documentary by a young filmmaker Elvin Jay Macanlalay won the Golden Kinabalu Award for Best Documentary Film at the 13th Kota Kinabalu Film Festival held in Malaysia last September 17-25. “‘Di Niyo Ba Naririnig (Can’t You Hear?) is a six minutes mobile film that tells about the jeepney drivers’ of Sangandaan, Caloocan outpouring sentiments on their situation as they’re left begging for money in the streets due to the government’s poor pandemic response in 2020.

The film was shot in one day and a product of “Kuwentong Quarantine – a free online mobile documentary workshop by ABS-CBN’s #NoFilter program where participants were mentored by award-winning filmmaker director Jet Leyco, and journalists Raphael Bosano, and Chevening Scholar Chiara Zambrano. The film shows the dire consequences of the country’s anti-poor quarantine measures in the early onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the prevalent public transport crisis that has always burdened drivers and commuters in the Philippines. The jeepney drivers openly air out their frustrations as their families are left hungry and unable to pay rent. According to director Elvin Jay Macanlalay, his low-profile mobile filmmaking set-up helped to make the drivers be comfortable in expressing their feelings and sharing their stories.


The same drivers of the jeepneys he used to ride as a student on his daily route from home to UE Caloocan (his alma mater) somehow created a sort of observatory connection to him that needs action in a pay-it-forward way, particularly in these trying times. The documentary serves as a platform to amplify their voices and shed light on their plight is the least he can do in return. That is why he dedicates the win to the hardworking drivers and cultural workers who are continuing the fight for a people-centered public transportation system anchored in the masses’ needs for a just livelihood and a life with dignity.

He feels honored that his humble film has been recognized at an international film festival that promotes young emerging regional filmmakers like him. But more importantly, he is glad that foreign audiences get to hear the story of jeepney drivers who are now experiencing issues of skyrocketing gas prices and record-high inflation. “The winning of this humble film is also a win for artists and media practitioners who are suffering from the continuous state-sponsored shrinking civic spaces, amidst the passage of the Terror Bill and the closure of ABS-CBN,” the director said. He hopes to make similarly relevant films in the future that delve into people’s socio-political reality.

Elvin is a queer interdisciplinary visual artist based in Caloocan. He was recognized by the city of Caloocan as one of its outstanding citizens in 2019. He is currently working with non-government organizations, youth groups, and artist collectives promoting art as an integral part of the advocacy for social change. For the past years, he has been doing projects involving the indigenous weaving community, the urban poor community, and the LGBTQIA+ online wellness community. He has also worked as an art director for a media & entertainment network, and as a production designer for short films.

‘Di Niyo Ba Naririnig?” (Can’t You Hear?) was officially selected for local and international film festivals, Knowmad Short Film Festival, the 5th Meihodo International Youth Visual Media Festival, Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival, and the 13th Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival, to name a few.

Director Elvin Jay Macanlalay also received relevant awards and recognitions as a filmmaker over the years like the Gawad Sining Biswal ng National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Knowmad Short Film Festival – Best Animation for “Maling Akala”, Heritage Film Award for “Maling Akala”, Knowmad Short Film Festival Germany Honorable Mention award for How the Beasts Got Hyped, and DreamManila International Film Festival Honorable Mention recognition also for How the Beasts got Hyped.

Three other films also won in the said festival, making it a grand slam win for the Philippines. Elvert Bañares (Grand Prize for Indigenous Category), Khristine Sandoval (Honorable Mention for Documentary Category), and Calvin Ponteblanca (Honorable Mention for Narrative Category).

You may also see the announcement of winners here.

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