The Filipino Student’s Guide on How To Be Invisible In London

Date posted on December 20, 2009

I recently tweeted about the “TOUCH ME NOT” screening in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (a copy of which I’ve uploaded in my blog before, as featured in the National Gallery website). Most short film entries were around ten minutes in length, whereas mine was only a few seconds over 3 minutes. It put my term 2 film at a disadvantage from a competition perspective but that was alright cause what I was really after was the opportunity to have the screened in a public venue back home in the Philippines.

(Here’s the link again: Touch Me Not in the National Gallery website)

I felt bad that I was going to miss its screening by a few days as I was scheduled to fly to Manila only three days after. I invited my good friend, Mahal, who composed the soundtrack along with her band Kireida, to watch at the CCP, but she had a previously set appointment. My lead actress and very close friend Nep was already in the Philippines for the Christmas holiday so I also told her to go and invite people whom she missed showing the film (she already saw it in the National Gallery last year).

I was therefore annoyed after finding out that the schedule was moved to two hours earlier without prior notice. My aunt and my assistant who went all the way to CCP missed it by an hour, and Nep, who braved the horrendous Christmas rush, missed it altogether.

Thankfully, it was balanced by some real good news.

I actually also submitted my Term 3 documentary, “THE FILIPINO STUDENT’S GUIDE ON HOW TO BE INVISIBLE IN LONDON,” in the same competition. For those who might have seen it at LFS or whom I asked for feedback during its development stage, this was the film about three girls who came to London on student visas.

I’m very proud to share that it won third prize in the 21st CCP Independent Film and Video Competition held last December 8 to 11, 2009. The ‘Gawad CCP’ distinguishes itself as the longest-running film and video competition in the Philippines, open to works in 16mm and 35mm format for film and DVD and MiniDV formats for video.

Upon sending a copy of the film to the CCP Media Arts, I concurrently asked the three subjects if they were fine with the film getting screened in a huge venue. When I first asked them to be the focus of the documentary, I assured them that if they were not comfortable with it being showed beyond the privacy of the school, we would honor that. In response, one of the girls said she preferred that the documentary not be screened in the festival, so I emailed CCP to request that they not screen it anymore and they obliged.

I thought that meant they would pull it out of the competition as well since the Gawad CCP rules stipulate that CCP would acquire rights to screen the film upon its entry and include it in the CCP’s film archives. Apparently, they still showed it to the judges even if it was not in exhibition during the festival week and even ended up winning 3rd place. The competition also reserves the right not to award recognition if it felt that none of the entries deserved it, so it had a very discriminating and exclusive profile to me.

The official announcement from the Cultural Center of the Philippines is posted in the CCP official website. Chrissy, the LFS Librarian-slash-festival coordinator triumphed the achievement by blogging about it in the London Film School’s news blog. It was a little embarrassing to see news about our humble documentary above Duncan Jones’s big win at the British Independent Film Awards for “MOON,” but that was very much welcome. Seeing my name on the LFS blog… I can die now! Haha!

Mad props to 166/3D for their contributions, and to the three girls for generously sharing their time, insights and sentiments in this documentary film. Congratulations to us 🙂