Inspired and challenged by the increasing coverage of the plight of Filipinos overseas in the various media and the accessibility of various film equipment, a group of Filipino migrants in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam recently underwent a first-of-its-kind three-day training/workshop on basic filmmaking under the tutelage of multi-awarded filmmaker Aureaus Solito of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) fame.
BY D. L. MONDELO
AMSTERDAM – Inspired and challenged by the increasing coverage of the plight of Filipinos overseas in the various media and the accessibility of various film equipment, a group of Filipino migrants here recently underwent a first-of-its-kind three-day training/workshop on basic filmmaking under the tutelage of multi-awarded filmmaker Aureaus Solito of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros) fame.
The Filipinos who come from various migrant organizations in the Netherlands, namely, the People’s Artists Network (PAN), Migrante-Netherlands, and Migrante-Europe, were initiated into the realm of cinema and film making, and were given a basic orientation on how “one can draw from one’s self, one’s experiences, a special soul voice that can be expressed in any cinematic medium,” as director Solito stated in the premise of the workshop.
Armed only with the eagerness to learn, the Filipino migrants – domestic workers and political refugees – were introduced into the world of film making through the training/workshop via a series of sessions.
The first session involves an evolving metaphorical exercise aimed to make him/her understand and be inspired in the creative process of telling stories through cinema and understand the importance of metaphors and imagery in creating films.
The second session involves teaching the workshop participants a rediscovery of “framing” in making films. They were asked to bring a still camera (digital or cam-phone), and were instructed to shoot or film anything that would best exemplify each participant’s inner self. Apart from eliciting raw ideas as cinematic material, the exercise introduced to the participants the meaning of framing, which is the basis of cinematography. Interestingly, Solito stressed that telling a story needs no high technology to accomplish as even a mobile phone with a simple camera could create a meaningful film.
At the third session, Solito presented scenes from his films, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros)” and Boy while he discussed with the participants his personal metaphors and reasons of framing. Solito wanted his “students” to see the importance of texture and the real meaning of editing in films.
The culmination of the training/workshop was the session on finding the participants’ soul and voice – a voice that could be understood by fellow Filipino migrants around the world.
“The workshop gave us participants a basic understanding, an introduction into the ‘language’ used by film makers in their films,” remarked Gerlie Z., one of the participants, during the evaluation session.
“I realized that more than being a medium of entertainment, a film could contain many of life’s metaphors,” stated Ilena M., another workshop participant.
“The (workshop) exercises were at the same time occasions for soul-searching. This workshop equipped me with a tool for appreciating the substance of a film,” stressed Grace Punongbayan, director of Migrante-Europe, which organized the training, and a participant herself.
The best part of the workshop, everyone agreed, was when the group was divided into two, and both groups were asked to shoot an impromptu two-minute short film. Their output – the first one about teen violence, and the second about migrant melancholia – could well be developed into full-length films or documentaries.
“I am deeply inspired and happy,” remarked Solito at the end of the training, as he described his satisfaction with the participants’ output. Solito urged the participants to learn further the art of film making, and to use the art as a tool of migrant empowerment to create stories that speak of the Filipino migrants’ own metaphors, conflicts and soul-searching.