“The Godpapu” Bags 4-peat Award for MCC

In the company I work for, the Christmas party is the most anticipated event of the year. Every year the event organizers come up with a theme, and a competition that goes along with it. All three business units come up with a presentation aligned with the theme, and they compete for the ultimate prize.

Now, what you must understand is that there is a certain amount of pressure to win the presentation. Our BU has won the competition for three consecutive years, making them undefeated champions of the annual Christmas parties.

This year’s theme: Oscars Film Awards Night. The competition: a short film.

It took several brainstorming sessions, coming up with spoofs for romantic comedies, horror flicks and even Memoirs of a Geisha. We scrapped all the ideas we came up with, thinking none of them were award-winning at all. I proposed the idea of using The Godfather, with our big boss (whom we fondly called “Papu”) playing the Don, but sadly, none of the original members of the committee were too psyched with that idea either, so we scrapped that too.

And then, just when we already made the consensus NOT to join at all, the big boss heard of The Godfather idea and was all for it. Apparently, he’s a HUGE fan of the iconic classic. Very much so that he agreed to playing our version Don Corleone, as long as he didn’t have to memorize lines. He didn’t even object when he found out we’ve been calling him “Papu” behind his back all this time. He came up with the main “plot” of the short film as well, offered his place for the shoot  itself and even tweaked the script a little as we went along.

Our official poster. We have an Italian version too, entitled "Il Papudrino"

It was a last-minute project, involving a day-long shoot and several days worth of sleepless nights of editing. Several shots of Jack had to be consumed for our cast to get the Italian accent right.

Confidence boosters!

Admittedly, it was rather rushed, so none of us really expected to win. We had a blast making it though and we made a load of hilarious memories in the process. It was something of a bonding experience for us, being the first time we “hung out” with our big boss in his own territory, and caught a glimpse of his non-work personality.

The Consiglieri, The Don and The Pet

Dramatic shots courtesy of Melabear, and Leme Cam

We spent a huge chunk of the shoot giggling at the idea that The Godpapu’s pet is a wooden elephant.

Say hello to Dumbo

TOO FUNNY OMG

Win or lose, we all agreed that this project held a special place in our hearts.

BUT it seems that our attempts at being artsy were well-appreciated by the competition’s judges. We bagged four awards for our short film, including Best Trailer, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and the grand prize for Best Picture.

Congratulations to the Familia!

Pressure’s on for next year, then. The tradition lives on! Congratulations to the team!

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Milo Tolentino’s “Nono”

I was introduced to Cinemalaya several years ago by Nicole, one of my best friends in the world. She asked us to support her uncle’s entry back in 2008 so of course, good friends that we were, we did. (And she gave us free tickets. I hardly ever say no to free stuff. HAHA)

I loved the entry so much that since then I try to catch at least one entry every year.

Milo Tolentino has always been one of my favorite mainstays in Cinemalaya, mostly because I love his light-hearted approach to making films. The first work of his that I ever saw was award-winning short film “Andong”, and it was that same entry that made me such a supporter of Cinemalaya.

This year, I was fortunate enough to catch the gala screening of Nono.

The plot is simple enough. Toto, a tremendously outspoken kid with a cleft lip (and palate it seems, by the sound of his speech), wants to join his school’s declamation competition. But because he has a speech impediment, people think this notion is ridiculous.

Okay yeah, you’re probably thinking “meh, another underdog story”, and maybe it is, up to some extent. I never felt an inkling of pity for Toto, though. From the beginning, it was clear that he understood that he was different, that people’s reactions to his defect vary and that he can learn to roll with it. (That is, if he didn’t know how to already. He’s incredibly sharp for someone so young.)

The plot was simple and straight to the point; it was the story’s characters that really sold it for me. As always, Milo did a great job with the kids, managing to portray a sense of normalcy and yet made all the actors shine in their own right. The audience immediately fell in love with Toto from his introductory scene alone. The side-stories involving the deaf best friend Ogoy, the frienemy Badong, and even the bizarre love story of Toto’s mother and a well-meaning Ilonggo were all equal parts funny and endearing, and just enough to tug even at my frozen heart’s strings.

I was unable to see any other Cinemalaya entries, but I’m really glad I caught this one.

More details on the movie can be found here.