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‘Kalakalaro’ garners Best Short Film award in CineMandirigma 2019

Produced by fourth year AB Communication students Kalakalaro, a short film that seeks to portray the poverty in the Philippines through the eyes of an eight-year old boy named Benok, won Best Short Film and five special awards during the CineMandirigma 2019: We are JUAN held on March 11 at the University of the East Caloocan.

What If Productions is comprised of fourth year AB Communications students with director Rodson Suarez, assistant director Raya Solomo, producer Karlotta Monzon, producer Germain Peñaflor, screenplay writer Chelesa Orale, sound editor Keiko Ann Maruyama and personal assistant Vern Capuno; together with their head coach Rahyan Carlos of the Communications and Journalism Department.

Aside from the Best Short Film award, the team was also awarded Best Actress with actress Sheryll Ceasico, Best Original Story, Best in Editing, Best Cinematography, and Suarez as Best Director in the ceremony held by the Silangan Film Circle, a recognized student film organization of the University of the East – Caloocan.

“We did not really anticipate the awards that we received, still it was very humbling knowing that our hard work was appreciated. We are very proud that we got a chance to represent the university,” Suarez said.

Kalakalaro’s message

Kalakalaro seeks to portray the prevalent poverty state in the Philippines as the basic sector of the Filipino children are consistently being considered as having high poverty incidence according to 2017 data released from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The film, “aims to let the audience see the unfortunate conditions of children that never got the chance to be a normal kid,” as per Suarez.

The title of the film was initially ‘Bata, Bata’, a darker film concept about a child that died in the middle of playing hide and seek, “Our media production professor, Rahyan Carlos, tasked us many times to construct a script before … We found it difficult … [however,] the 3rd draft of our script came out more plausible … We really just wanted to play with the idea of the visual outcome of kids playing hide and seek …” Suarez shared.

Meanwhile, the right location for the film, adding the budget constraints and the rain experienced during those days proved to be daunting for the team.

“The original location was in Molino, there were difficulties contacting the key persons for the location, so we just made the Motorpool in Cavite City work. Talagang yon na eh ginawan nalang ng paraan kumbaga … We were supposed to shoot in December 28, [due to the forecast we] concluded that it was better to shoot at 29 instead … What people will see in the film were small pockets of time that it wasn’t raining. …” Suarez said.

What If Productions is an independent team created for the group’s final requirement for their Media Production subject.