August 14, 2019
For an individual to find their calling and be fortunate enough to pursue it as a living doesn’t happen too often. If it eventually does, it would mean the person endured a lot of patience and sacrifice to turn his passion into a viable career.
Take for example 26-year-old Los Angeles-based Filipino filmmaker Valfrie Tabian Jr. who left his comfort zone to chase after his dream.
Admitting that it has not been a walk in the park, the Tuguegarao native decided to move to Manila to pursue what he always wanted to be — a director. To get a headstart, he studied Filmmaking at De La Salle–College of St. Benilde and there, he got to explore the craft he eventually made a career into.
“In college, we started making short films and collaborated with other students in different programs. I was having a lot of fun filming with my classmates, and as I progress, one of my instructors gave us a film to watch and write something about it, ‘Cinema Paradiso’ by Italian Filmmaker Guiseppe Tornatore. All I remember writing about it is how simple the cinematography was, yet, it gives justice to the characters and the story. That’s the time when I started to love cinematography and pursue it as a career,” Tabian shared to The Manila Times in an interview.
After graduating in 2014, Tabian worked in a commercial production house as a Creative Associate, where he mainly did editing, before leaving the company to focus on his career as a Director of Photography for a year and a half.
Decided to improve his passion even further, Tabian flew to Los Angeles, California campus of the New York Film Academy (NYFA) in mid-2017.
“With the support of my family, they helped me pursue that dream. Because as an artist, you’re always seeking ways of how to improve yourself and your craft, and I took advantage of that here in Los Angeles. Through the guidance of my mentors at NYFA, it helped me set a path that break those barriers and with constant practice you progress quicker than you realize,” Tabian added.
However, things didn’t happen in a blink of an eye for the young cinematographer. After graduating in NYFA, he had a difficult time getting into production houses because of his immigrant status.
“It’s very understandable because of the possible high cost of the sponsoring company. Perhaps it’s true about they say that, ‘Patience is a virtue” because I just kept myself busy by helping out and doing free projects as a cinematographer, although that helped me grow my network here in LA, it got me to where I am right now,” Tabian enthused.
“Los Angeles is a very diverse city, I met people from different countries around the globe. There’s not much difference compared to the industry we have in Manila, it’s very open and what matters the most is the attitude you bring on set and that comes on top of your talent.
Focusing on shooting narrative scripts at first to be able to find the right look or style, Tabian eventually had his most successful project as a Directector of Photography for the short film “Benjamin” written and directed by his friend, Ayush Soni.
With determination and perseverance, he got selected to multiple festivals in Los Angeles and in other states. For the said short film, Tabian won an award for Cinematography at the Los Angeles Film Awards.
“One of the best feeling or moments I always get is whenever I get to watch a film that I’ve shot as a cinematographer in the big screen. And sharing that moment with the people you worked with is just priceless. Getting this kind of award is a plus,” Tabian told The Manila Times.
With the brighter future ahead, Tabian is now working on possibly his first full length film as a cinematographer called “The Cursed.” It will be directed by another good friend of his, Gowtham Namasivayam and will be filmed in Los Angeles in the middle of 2020. He also hopes to do a science fiction story or an action film in the future.
When asked what is the most important lesson he had to learn so far in his growing career, Tabian shared, “In my opinion, working in either a film or a commercial always come in group, and that group branches out to different departments with department heads to specific jobs and the goal is to execute the director’s vision. And being a team player is a huge factor to a film’s success, getting the right people for the job and the right attitude.
“One thing I always tell myself at least, is always be patient and it will always come if you work hard, and if it’s yours then take the opportunity, if not then there’s always a reason for it,” he ended.
Credit belongs to : www.manilatimes.net