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Action! time for coffee and vertical filmmaking

Action! time for coffee and vertical filmmaking

In the age of TikTok and Instagram, we’ve grown so comfortable looking at our vertical phone videos.

But can great cinema come from that 9:16 format?

Nespresso thinks so. Launching the local leg of its sixth Nespresso Talents Vertical Film Contest, Novateur Coffee Concept president Patrick Pesengco enlisted movie industry jurors to help local Filipino filmmakers whip up eye-grabbing and inspiring short films (two to three minutes) in any genre — comedy, animation, romance, drama, educational, etc. — reflecting this year’s theme: “Doing is Everything.”

Every good idea deserves a platform, and every good storyteller deserves a voice. Nespresso has nurtured filmmaking voices internationally each year, with 2,000 entries from 50 countries. Returning local jurors include award-winning director/screenwriter Jose Javier Reyes, multi-awarded filmmaker Quark Henares, renowned actress/producer/director/screenwriter Bela Padilla, Pesengco, Fabio de Gregorio, plus two new additions — director, producer and screenwriter Pepe Diokno, and De La Salle-College of St. Benilde Film Department scriptwriting teacher Wanggo Gallaga — acting as mentors to conduct vertical filmmaking workshops online.

Entries can be uploaded on the Nespresso Talents website until this May 16. Three local winners will win 1,500 euros (first place); 1,000 euros (second); and 500 euros (third), plus a trophy and free Nespresso machine with complimentary capsules. Local winners will then be qualified for the international category.

But even more inspiring is that Nespresso has partnered with PUR Projet, a tree-planting initiative that pledges to plant five trees somewhere near Nespresso coffee-growing farms in the name of each entry. It‘s part of Nespresso’s effort to offset its carbon footprint through agroforestry programs.

Another incentive: Nespresso Talents has partnered with Cannes and other international film fests, so your entry could conceivably get into the Oscar Short Film category, as several have over past years.

According to Pesengco, this year’s theme is particularly relevant to 2021: “I have two nine-year-old kids, and parenting is about knowing that kids copy what we do, not just what we say. So it’s true, especially for us adults: to make real change, real positive impact, it’s really the doing, the action.”

Director Joey Reyes 

Padilla, who’s called the pandemic “a great equalizer,” thinks the theme couldn’t be more on point. “I would really just love to see people start living their lives the best way they can, and ‘Doing is Everything’ is such a good theme — it should be a way of life, moving forward, despite this pandemic, and I’m very excited to see what our filmmakers will do with this theme.”

Henares mentioned he was “really in awe” at how the filmmakers took the vertical format to new levels in last year’s entries. “I think it was more about how they use the human figure,” whether in the split-screen double narrative of “Tsinelas” by Charlene Tupas, or “Oasis,” a Mexican entry about COVID births that won first prize. He noted “a lot of atmospherics” are allowed with such a format. “I felt, wow, this is really kind of like a different language, compared to what we’re used to.”

Over five years running, contestants have grown quite comfortable with the 9:16 format. Juror Reyes is not surprised: “The vertical world is their way of life, it’s their specific worldview. It’s the way they’ve evolved (with the technology). They no longer have a landscape view of the world, they have a portrait view.”

Film Development Council of the Philippines Undersecretary Liza Diño agreed: “What started as a novelty has become a legitimate format now, with Damien Chazelle showing his mobile phone short at the Oscars last year. Vertical cinema is solidifying its space in terms of how to contribute to the landscape of cinema.”

And short films are a great way to learn the craft, adds Diokno: “There’s really no way around it, that’s how you build your talents and hone your skills. With cell phones, there is no excuse to not start making films. It’s a great way to learn the craft. It’s all upside, there’s really no downside to making short films.”

Filmmaker and mentor Pepe Diokno 

And Henares adds, “This short film is your calling card. It’s really your stepping-stone. It’s the first expression of your voice. So we’re looking forward to watching your vertical masterpiece.”

Coffee, of course, goes hand in hand with creative energy, and Pesengco made that connection: “Definitely Nespresso is more than just coffee. There’s an excitement in opening up to each other’s stories, and Nespresso adds to that in supporting the arts through film. Our purpose is to cultivate coffee as an art, to bring out the best in ourselves.”

Filmmaker and juror Quark Henares 

Actress/filmmaker and juror Bela Padilla 

Screenwriter and mentor Wanggo Gallaga 

Novateur Coffee Concept president Patrick Pesengco 

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Submit your entry to the Nespresso Talents 2021 contest before May 16 at https://www.nespresso.com/talents/ph/en/contest.

In the Philippines, Nespresso Talents 2021 is in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), De La Salle University (DLSU), and Edukasyon.ph.

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Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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