Science documentaries reap awards in 3rd Indie-Siyensya filmmaking contest

From 300 film concept proposals to 45 film entries, seven films finally earned the nod of judges and selected viewers in the 3rd Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition.

Judges, organizers, and winners of the 3rd Indie-Siyensya Youth Category with DOST-SEI director Josette Biyo (rightmost)

The awarding ceremony, held last November 28, at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, was attended by more than a hundred students, teachers, science professionals, and filmmakers.

The winning films captured the role of science and technology in addressing some of the most pressing national and community issues.

Winners in the Open Category are Hector Badis of Cordillera Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (CorCAARD) for the film “Dagem” (3rd Place); Brian Sulicipan of Ambag-Ambagan Collective for “The Land Will Grow, The Food We’ll Eat” by (2nd Place); and Edward Laurence Opena of Cebu Normal University for Sugbuanong Alibangbang (1st Place).

Dagem and The Land Will Grow, The Food We’ll Eat both tackle agriculture, environment, and food security issues. The former features S&T interventions that help Benguet farmers mitigate climate change hazards in vegetable farm terraces while the latter follows a small research team on permaculture practice in the Philippines. Sugbuanong Alibangbang is a film on the Jumalon Butterfly Sanctuary where the Jumalon family fights butterfly extinction in the province of Cebu.

In the Youth Category, the group of Angelo Cruz from Rizal National Science High School won third place for their film “Akuwakultura” while junior high school students Cyah Angela Somblingo, Johan Villanueva, and Norie Bautista from Cavite National High School students won the second place for their film “Lambat”. Akuwakultura shows the importance of aquaculture in Laguna Lake while Lambat documents water pollution in Cavite.

Patrick Pimentel, a senior high school also from Cavite National High School, bagged the top prize for his film “Manglares (Buhay at Peligro), a film on disaster mitigation.

The winners earned trophies and cash prizes amounting to P100,000 for the Best Film, P50,000 for the second place and P25,000 for the third place.

“Bakas”, a film by Kiano Bacolod from the Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon Campus, also won for getting the highest number of votes during the film screenings of Indie-Siyensya. The film earned the Viewer’s Choice Award, a trophy and P10,000 cash prize for its depiction of the use of forensic science in solving crimes.

Indie-Siyensya, a science filmmaking competition organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) aims to promote a culture of science in the country using film as a medium. The contest is also the agency’s response to the growing field of science communication in the country.

“Malaking kontribusyon ito sa larangan ng science communication na isa sa mga isinusulong ng DOST-SEI,” said DOST-SEI director Josette Biyo. “Ang inyong mga film entry, magwagi man o hindi, ay tunay na nag-ambag na sa pagpapaunlad ng komunikasyong agham sa ating bansa kaya binabati ko kayo sa inyong mga obra,” she adds during her opening remarks.

Also present in the event were previous Indie-Siyensya winner Justin Parel from the Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon Campus who shared his experiences on joining Indie-Siyensya, FDCP representative Karol Ramirez; and Indie-Siyensya judges Prof. Garry Jay Montemayor and Seymour Sanchez.

Montemayor, who is also chair of the Department of Science Communication, College of Development Communication, UP Los Baños and Sanchez, an advocacy filmmaker and educator from the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Digital Filmmaking program and Far Eastern University Department of Communication screened the film concept proposals with fellow judges Prof. Patrick Campos, director of the University of the Philippines Film Institute; Dr. Mudjekeewis “Mudjie” Santos, father and founder of the Genetic Fingerprinting Laboratory under the Department of Agriculture-National Fisheries Research and Development Institute; and astrophysicist and data scientist Dr. Reinabelle “Reina” Reyes, who became known as “the Filipina who proved Einstein right” with her work on his Theory of Relativity.

Biyo encouraged all qualified individuals and groups to join next year’s Indie-Siyensya and to continue using film to develop understanding on the role of science in solving many of the country’s problems.

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