Films on Pinoy community scientists sweep ‘indie’ filmmaking contest

Ang siyensya ay nag-uugat sa komunidad.” These were the words of filmmaker and UP professor Nick Deocampo when he viewed the competing films for the 2nd Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.

Indeed, the challenging task of defining Filipino scientists through film concluded with winners depicting Filipino scientists as those who use their research to help underprivileged communities.

Indie

The science-focused filmmaking competition, a project of the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) in partnership with the UP College of Mass Communication, held its closing and awarding ceremony last December 5 at the Aldaba Hall in UP Diliman attended by students, educators, filmmakers, and scientists.

Indie-Siyensya aims to develop a science culture to the youth using film as a medium.

Entries from Philippine Science High School – Central Luzon Campus (PSHS-CLC) and ThinkConnect.PH from the Eastern Visayas each won the coveted P100,000 cash prize along with the prestige of being the 2nd Indie-Siyensya Best Film in the Youth and S&T Professional categories respectively.

PSHS-CLC heartily captured this year’s theme “A Portrait of a Filipino as a Scientist” with their film “Ilusyon”. The group of budding filmmakers Justin Gabriel Parel, Christopher Aquino, Mart Kiano Bacolod, and Maria Jose Montero wowed the judges with their definition of a Filipino scientist.

Ilusyon (Seeing through the Illusion) tells the story of Nicholas Czar Antonio, a PSHS-CLC scholar who chose to do research on medicinal plants used by an Aeta community. It showed Antonio’s dedication to preserve the indigenous group’s traditional medicine practices.

The young scholar points to the Aetas as scientists in their own rights, but his contributions even at such age likewise earned him the right to be called a Filipino scientist.

For the S&T Professional Category, Jericho Aliposa of ThinkConnect.PH featured an unsung hero in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda – educator and scientist Dr. Margie dela Cruz. Their film “Pagbalud” (When the Waves Swell) showed how Dr. dela Cruz’ applied her knowledge of science and the environment in helping communities cope with the effects of a disaster.

This year’s theme “A Portrait of a Filipino as a Scientist” has been fulfilled, according to Indie-Siyensya Board of Judges composed of Deocampo, astrophysicist Dr. Rogel Mari Sese, and UP Professor Dr. Arminda Santiago. The Filipino scientist is not only a committed researcher but one who gives back to the community.

For SEI director Josette T. Biyo, Indie-Siyensya is on the right track in its goal of communicating science through film. The quantity and quality of the film entries have vastly improved from last year’s and indicate a growing interest in science filmmaking among the youth.

The institute, however, has yet to promote for greater participation of science professionals in using film as a medium to document research activities and to express their take on S&T development in the country.

Biyo encouraged scientists and filmmakers to keep on making films about science. “Sana’y magbigay daan ang Indie-Siyensya upang makalikha kayo ng sarili nyong kwento sa buhay,” she said in a message during the awarding ceremony.

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