Hi guys! I recently had an unforgettable experience. A good friend of mine was an intern in the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) last summer. FDCP was the organizer of the World Premieres Film Festival Philippines, dubbed as the major international film festival on the rise in Asia. It features indie Filipino films and foreign films. And yeah, that friend of mine, Joanna, invited us, The PLM Film Society Officers, to volunteer as photographers/videographers in the said film fest. Without second thoughts, we immediately agreed to it. We wouldn’t miss it for anything.
The whole experience felt unreal. The festival ran from June 24-July 7 and we covered different events like press conferences, festival opening night, gala nights and an awards night. If you are a film enthusiast you should experience this at least once in your life and here’s why:
1. You get to meet different filmmakers from local to international. Plus you get insights from them about making films! During the Filipino New Cinema Category press conference and the Main Competition Category press conference the directors just talked about their films and I observed that there are really two kinds of directors, those who can embody their work and those who cannot. By the way, press conference foods are really delicious!
2. Some random person in the industry could just casually give you his calling card. Well there’s this Actor/Professional Photographer named Don Gordon Bell, who invited us to his shoots and he said he could teach us professional photography! By the way he seems to be pretty famous to the people in the industry. Some Taiwanese actors actually asked to take a picture with him!
This is our first photo taken by Don Gordon Bell.
That’s Don at the right being awesome.
3. You discover a lot more about films especially its history! I didn’t know that Insiang, a film by Lino Brocka, was the first film to enter the prestigious Cannes Film Festival and how it got there until I attended a special screening of the film in the opening night of the WPFF. It was discovered by a member of the selection committee of Cannes, Pierre Rissient (who was present at the screening). He saw the film here in the Philippines and got impressed; he then recommended it to the Cannes’ festival committee.
4. More about film education through a Film Expo! I was referring to the International Film Expo 2015. IFX is not part of WPFF but still it was under FDCP and yes we volunteered there and it happened at the same time with the film fest. It was held at SMX convention center. There were workshops about TV ad directing, animation, and current issues in the Philippine film industry! The room was filled with film equipment, service providers, film school representatives and many more film related stuff. It was my haven!
Joanna and I riding on a camera crane.
5. You feel amazed just by being surrounded by totally elite people. This was more like a fan girl perk. Of course it’s a film festival, it’s about films and films have famous actors and actresses. You get all sparkly eyed as you take a picture of Mercedes Cabral, Althea Vega or your other Indie Film heroes as they walk down the red carpet. There were also foreign artists since WPFF features international films, and yes they look godly!
6. Free magazines about films! That explains it all.
7. Most especially……..free passes to Gala Nights! That means I get to watch the featured films in the festival for free! An Kubo sa Kawayanan and I Love You, Thank You was the best among all I’ve seen.
These are photos from the An Kubo sa Kawayanan Gala Night.
8. You get to feel passion. In my case I became so passionate about covering every moment of the festival. There’s some joy in photographing people who come together in order to celebrate and support films.
Me, getting all sweaty as I take a video of this amazingly tall woman.
So yeah! I don’t know if FDCP will still look for volunteers next year (I’m quite sure they will though) or which other film festival looks for volunteers, but I think there is because film festivals really need manpower. Whatever it is, there’s no harm in trying. Anyway, if you love films that much like me, you’ll surely find a way.
LONG LIVE FILM LOVERS!
(Photos in this article are from me and Joanna Reyes)