In-Person Film Festival: Lights, Camera, Action!

Written by: Alexis 

Edited by: Amadine

Visual by: Macy

International School Manila’s Film Festival has always been a sensational event in which our student filmmakers showcase their various works. Due to COVID-19, the festival hasn’t been able to host a live audience for the last two years. But as we slowly revert back to pre-pandemic times, the Film Festival was hosted in the Little Theater on April 27, allowing an excited audience of parents, teachers and students to watch these films.

To give a rundown of the event, guests were provided programs that included the names of all the films, as well as the crew behind the pieces. Ms. Hillman, the Fine and Performing Arts Director, also gave a small speech at the start of the event. She congratulated the many students for their hard work and also made sure to congratulate our amazing film teachers, Ms. Lemmer and Ms. Hartley. She then described the films that would be shown during the festival and how they were films from various assignments that the students had over the course of the school year. These students were part of Intro Film, Explore Film and the IB Film Program. 

The festival consisted of about 42 different films. Ms. Lemmer describes the process of creating a 90-minute showreel and selecting “the ones we (The Film Department) thought reflected the best work from each major film project. We are also looking to represent the work of a variety of different students.” The festival showed films of different genres ranging from romance, comedy and horror. For example, a team of sophomores created a music video to the popular song, “Dance, Baby” by Boy Pablo. It followed the story of a boy wanting to dance with this girl, and trying to build up the courage to ask her to dance. Since the song was very up-beat, it gave a light and exciting mood to the film. Many films were also based on certain themes which diversified the selection, for example “The Christmas Mission” surrounded a boy trying to catch Santa on Christmas Eve.

One film that was chosen to be in the Festival was created by Miel, a freshman, and his group. His film, “Catch Me If You Can”, follows “2 friends playing a not so friendly, dramatized game of tag,” he says. As only 42 films were selected, Miel stated, “I was very surprised but felt proud to be included.” He was “already proud of what my team put together, but being selected validated that.” It also made him excited and encouraged him to continue his film journey at ISM.

Yanna, a sophomore, had the chance to watch these films in the audience. She described the film festival as a refreshing experience and is grateful to all the students who took a “unique approach towards their work.” She thought that “it was a great opportunity for people interested in taking film to get a glimpse of what the subject is like as well as “the array of creative productions by students.” 

Upon establishing the excitement of this event, if you are interested in taking part in film, anyone can take it as an elective here at ISM. Students can take Intro Film in 9th or 10th grade grade and Explore Film in 10th grade. Furthermore, the IB Film Program allows upperclassmen to dig deeper into their creativity and skills as a filmmaker. Ms. Lemmer describes the film festival as “students arriving with very different experiences and skill levels”, with the “festival [being] a celebration of their learning experiences.” The Film program at ISM doesn’t have any audition requirements that some other arts classes have, encouraging people from several grade levels to partake in the class, and making the film class inclusive and exciting. It allows students to meet new people and explore the amazing world of films. Students have the opportunity to be creative with their filmmaking, while also learning many other film related skills from analysis to film theory and history. 

With ISM back in-person, the Fine and Performing Arts Department has been able to shine. “To be all together in classes now and celebrate that journey with the film festival is just great,” Ms. Lemmer says. The Film Festival allowed students to celebrate their hard work, creativity, and passion for filmmaking. There are exciting things coming from these film students as they continue their film journey!