AN INDEPENDENTLY-produced student film that explores the struggles of the deaf community was recently recognized by an international film festival in the United States.
“Miguel,” written and directed by Paul Brian Baldoza, a 2nd year Communication student of the University of the Cordilleras, was among the four entries conferred with the Rising Star Award at the 2018 International Peace and Film Festival held January 20 in Orlando, Florida.
The Rising Star award is given to the outstanding student films.
"Miguel" portrays the deaf title character’s experience with discrimination and bullying while relying on his family as his main support system. The film also touches the issue of mental health awareness especially in persons with disabilities.
Baldoza, who was also nominated for Best Director, said certain themes and scenes in the film were inspired from actual events in his personal life such as his bout against depression.
“People must be aware of the social factors that can affect our mental health. We must also never discount anyone’s struggles more so of those who could not fully express themselves,” he said.
The film was the lone entry from the Philippines in this year’s festival which featured works from more than 20 participating countries. The IPFF aims to promote peace through independent films, cultural exchanges, and international relations.
Locally, the film had previously won awards from two film festivals.
In the 2017 Urduja Film Festival in Pangasinan, “Miguel” received major awards such as Best Socially-Relevant Film, Best Story, and 2nd Best Picture. Baldoza was also named Best Director while Adurenzo Basa who played the character of Miguel won Best Actor. The film was also the recipient of the Nora Aunor Excellence in Film Award.
The Urduja Film Festival is sponsored by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and supported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
In the 2017 New Media Services Cares Film Festival in Baguio City where the film debuted, “Miguel” emerged as the Overall Winner after collecting a total of seven awards including Best Picture. (PR)