Now on its second year in Southeast Asia, Tropfest SEA, the world’s largest short-film competition and festival, has been holding road shows in major cities around the region.
While in Manila, Joe Sidek, managing director of Tropfest SEA, talked about the rawness and authenticity of the stories that Filipinos unravel through their movies. He encouraged filmmakers—especially the emerging talents—to join and seize the opportunity to showcase their flair for storytelling to a global audience through Tropfest.
Sidek and his team stopped by University of the Philippines, Sev’s Café, College of Saint Benilde, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and University of Santo Tomas to present a prime selection of short films of finalists and winners from across the globe.
The lineup included the clever, the novel and the heart-breaking.
The team also premiered the film that bagged the top prize for the past Tropfest SEA; an entry from a first-time filmmaker, 24-year-old Cambodian Sothea Ines. Her film titled “Rice” won her $10,000 and a five-day immersion trip to Los Angeles from the US Motion Picture Association.
The seven-minute short tells the story of an eventful day in the lives of young Cambodian boys who were held in a camp during the rule of the Khmer Rouge. The filmmaker showed the simple pleasures of the lighthearted group and the fate they faced for enjoying such while serving the Angkar organization.
Ines was able to highlight the textures of rural Cambodia by emulating an old monochrome film. The audio was dried out and fitted with a tasteful music scoring of a native woodwind instrument.
Ines, together with 11 other finalists, was awarded in front of thousands of film enthusiasts at the first Tropfest SEA festival held last Jan. 25 in Penang, Malaysia.
The finalists included two Filipino short films: J.E. Tiglao’s “Gamu-gamo sa Takipsilim” and Emmanuel Escalona Jr.’s “Surprice.”
Jurors included Oscar winner Adam Elliot (“Harvey Krumpet”); Robert Luketic, director of the Golden Globe-nominated “Legally Blonde;” and Singapore director Glen Goei.
Entries for Tropfest 2015 are being accepted until Sept. 30. Filmmakers must upload their works and fill out an application form at Tropfest SEA’s website. There will be no entry fee.
The film must be made solely for the competition and include the Tropfest Signature Item: “wheel.”