Estremera: The young storytellers among us

IN SUNDAY'S cover story, we featured the group of students from Davao City National High School whose film is among those chosen to compete in the 10th International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh on January 24 to 30.

They may not be able to attend the film festival because of the distance and the length of time that they will be absent from class, but the fact that their film will be shown out there and they are able to bring their story to a wider audience, that is already accomplishment enough.

Their short film “Kapit-os” (Poverty) won Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Actor and Supporting Actor, and Best Poster in the regional Population Commission Adolescent Health and Development Film Festival last year and went home third place in Best Film, first place in Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, and Best Director in the national finals before this was submitted to the Children's Film Festival along with 500 others from which the top six were selected for competition.

Two others are from the Philippines: the Popcom national finals' “Malaya” of Central Luzon that won Best Trailer, and Central Visayas’ “Dagan, Mira, Dagan,” which won Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Second Best Film.

In this age of communication, storytelling is among the most powerful skills one can have.

“In a world where people are bombarded by choices, the story is often the deciding factor in whom we decide to do business with,” wrote Carmine Gallo in the book, “The Storyteller's Secret.” Gallo is the author of the best-selling “Talk Like Ted.”

Gallo argues that it is how one tells his story that will sell whatever idea he is embarking on and it's the storytelling skills of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Malala Yousafzai, and several others that actually made their ideas catch fire and inspire us to take action and do as they appeal us to do... like grabbing the latest model of iPad or iPhone.

“What do storytellers do? According to Walt Disney, they 'instill hope again, and again, and again.' Storytellers give us hope, and hope is a universal desire,” Gallo wrote.

The kids in their film “Kapit-os,” wrote about poverty and hopelessness, the ending tragic, so where's the hope there?

The hope lies in the students themselves. That they were able to tell a compelling story that opened this opportunity to compete in an international film festival only shows they can tell a story.

Now, they only need to hone their skills and take them out of the “telenovela-inspired hugot lupasay level” state to bring out stories that enlighten and inspire.

Being exposed to other films and filmmakers will definitely teach them a lot of lessons as we cannot forever be retelling our stories of hopelessness and despair.
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