A SHORT film about a love story told through poetry took three of the eight awards given at the first Get Reel Mobile Shorts Film Festival held on Aug. 30 at Fisher Mall in Quezon City.

Walang Hanggang Ligaya Sa Una Mong Ngiti, directed by Dylan Ray Talon, won the McJim Prize for Best Mobile Short Film, a trophy, and P50,000. The film also bagged awards for Best Director and Best Cinematography.

Shot on a single iPhone (with no backup mobile phones), the film is set in the 1970s and is made up of a montage of scenes showing a couple’s happy memories as narrated through a poem.

Presented by McJim Classic Leather, the 2019 Get Reel Mobile Shorts Film Festival is the first film festival in the country featuring 10-minute films shot on mobile phones.

McJim has already gained recognition in international film festivals for producing short films such as Bag, Sinturon, and Pitaka, created and produced in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker and festival director Chris Cahilig.

The film festival aims to “showcase aspiring filmmaker’s talent and their vision of a modern Filipino gentleman,” said a press release.

All the entries included McJim leather products such as bags, belts, and wallets as part of their narratives.

The director of Walang Hanggang Ligaya Sa Una Mong Ngiti, Mr. Talon said it is important to not forget traditional Filipino values in a modern world.

Gusto ko kasing balikan ’yung pagiging traditional gentleman (I want to bring back the idea of the traditional gentleman),” he told members of the press shortly after the ceremony, adding that this includes qualities such as making the effort to give time to the one you love. “Naniniwala akong hindi siya mawawala (I believe that it will not die out).”

His was the only film shot in portrait orientation.

With his knowledge of advertising and marketing on social media as a graduate of Advertising Arts from the Far Eastern University (FEU) and an actor at the FEU Theater Guild, he wanted to target the audience who spend a majority of their time on their phones.

Sana mas mapansin pa nila na mas importante na nag-usap tayo nang mata sa mata kaysa sa nag-uusap lang tayo sa cellphone (I hope they notice that it is more important for us to talk eye to eye than talk through our cellphones),” he said.

Fifty entries were sent to the festival organizers who came up with a shortlist that included — aside from Walang Hanggang Ligaya Sa Una Mong NgitiChampion by Juan Carlo Tarobal, Cotard Syndrome by MC Viluan Capasido, Pitaka by Mark Jason Sucgang, May Lovelife na Si Pepito, Jr. by James Edward Golla, Lupi by Dave Tolentino, and Kabilin (The Legacy) by Roy Robert Rusiana.

May Love Life Na Si Pepito, Jr. won Best Screenplay and Best Comedy while Pitaka won the Get Reel Viral Shorts Award. Champion won Best Inspirational Story and Kabilin (The Legacy) bagged the Best Drama award.

Instead of granting awards for Best Actor and Best Actress, acting citations were given to the following actors for their noteworthy performances: Russel Ian Paguia for his work in May Lovelife Na Si Pepito, Jr., Jorrybell Agoto for Walang Hanggang Ligaya Sa Una Mong Ngiti, Jonathan Oraño for Pitaka, Marialyn Tamarra for Cotard Syndrome, Philip Carlo Ty and King Richard Visto for Kabilin (The Legacy), and James Lohoman, Shawn Villete, and Carlo Tarobal for Champion.

The judges were film directors Emmanuel dela Cruz and Veronica Velasco, and actor Karl Medina.

According to the festival director Chris Cahilig, the use of a mobile phone to shoot the film entries was made because “anyone could do it.”

Mr. Cahilig added that most new mobile phones these days are equipped with 4K video recording resolution. “They are capable of shooting real quality movies,” he told members of the press shortly after the ceremony.

According to Mr. Cahilig, the festival will accept regular short films, alongside mobile film entries beginning next year.

“As the technology gets more sophisticated, people can start shooting using their phone… The technical skills and storytelling behind the filmmaking aspect, ’yun yung hindi mawawala (That will not be lost). As long as people want to tell a story, [either with] cellphone or traditional cameras, they will always find a way,” Mr. Cahilig said.

To watch the seven winning mobile short films, visit www.facebook.com/OfficialMcJIM/. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman