Movie Spotlight: My Schoolmates' Projects

We are a movie website after all, so that includes supporting the works of many blooming artists everywhere. For this post, as we take a small break from the film reviews, we decided to put the spotlight on our short films, which served as a project for not one, not two, but four different subjects, in one go. These three films tackled a wide range of contemporary issues, and each follow various genres. These three films, simple as they may be, flawed as some of them may be, are just glimpses of the potential brewing in each and everyone of us. Who knows? These three films might even be the launching pads for some of our careers. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Dateline Movies, and we present to you our final projects for the school year of 2017-2018!

Emilia (2018)

Running Time: 5 minutes and 30 seconds

Genre/s: Drama

Released on March 12, 2018 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Phoenix Inkquirer and Cuttle Shocks Productions

Writers: Jethro Nastor, Mhaye Estrada, and Zoe de Leon

Directors: Josh Lapid, and Jethro Nastor

  • Cess Villa as Emilia
  • Productions Designs by Laura David, and Von Castillejos
  • Costume Designs by Carmella Macolor, Elayne Nuñez, and Mico Naval
  • Make-Up by Carmella Macolor
  • Direction of Photography by Rap Dinulos, Denise Arceo, Javi Dilla, and Meliton Salvadora
  • Music Supervision by Jethro Nastor, Junma Ogawa, Meliton Salvadora, Denise Arceo, and Javi Dilla
  • Sound Designs by Meliton Salvadora, and Junma Ogawa

This one woman short flick showcases the acting prowess of our one and only Cess Villa, who describes this film as "sophisticatedly intricate". In "Emilia", with an original story from local writing aspirant and musician Jethro Nastor, we get to enter the private world of the titular main protagonist, as she narrates what it truly feels like to be trapped in a prison built from your own insecurities. This five-minute, artistic psychological drama explores the internal struggles of people facing anxiety and depression, brought together by a brilliant script and crew, and a superb central performance! Truly a short film that is worth of countless discussions, namely because of its interpretation-worthy plot and minimalist structure, as well as its insightful take on a rather modern topic.

Phoenix Inkquirer and Cuttle Shocks Productions
(Top; from left to right: Cess Villa, Rap Dinulos, Josh Lapid, Jethro Nastor, and Denise Arceo)
(Bottom; from left to right: Denise Arceo, Zoe De Leon, Carmela Macolor, Mico Naval, and Elayne Nu

The Manual (2018)

Running Time: 13 minutes

Genre/s: Drama, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Thriller

Released on March 17, 2018 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by Nodus Productions

Writers: Mika Jacinto and Andre Ponce

Director: Mika Jacinto

  • Avenic Zapanta as E6-12
  • Lorraine Branzuela as P2-26
  • Eduard Mendoza as E6-69
  • Cielo Arnisto as L6-40
  • Meek Marasigan as T1-56
  • Ravi Angeles as Scientist Number 1
  • Noel Alva as Exodus, and Scientist Number 2
  • Ian Mangulabnan as Scientist Number 3
  • Executive Produced by Ryan "Puzzle" Termoso
  • Photography Direction by Karl Rocha
  • Editing by Andre Ponce
  • Production Designs by Janette Calub
  • Make-Up by Nicole Nepomuceno
  • Costume Designs by Mabby Suazo
  • Music Supervision by Mika Jacinto
  • Microphone Management by Ian Mabgulabnan
  • Sound Editing by Mika Jacinto
  • Documentation by Pat Reyes

A dystopian short film taking cues from classic works such as George Lucas' first film, THX-1138, and Stanley's Kubrick's timeless, controversial filmmaking masterpiece A Clockwork Orange, "The Manual" has one thing that kept it going during production, and that is ambition. This ambitious group of talented individuals, including but not limited to the magnificent director-in-the-making Mika Jacinto, editing ace Andre Ponce, and master actor Avenic Zapanta, faced one too many challenges along the way, but in the end, the fruit of their labor is fresh. And this short film truly is a one of a kind wonder, from its story, to the performances. Plus, the addition of the classic video game Fallout 3 song "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" makes for a chilling finale. This flick follows the routined nightmare that is the life of one E6-12, played by Zapanta, who begins to question things that he should not even be doubting.

Director Mika Jacinto reflected on behind-the-scenes conflicts, including scheduling issues, and he thanks his teammates for their endless cooperation and commitment to this short flick. "This movie is something me and my team will take pride moving forward. I hope this compels many to put forth their best foot in striving to promote the industry whilst backing-up the increasing potential our youth encompasses.", he added.

Nodus Productions (From left to right): Cielo Arnisto, Eduard Mendoza, Ian Mangulabnan, Lorraine Branzuela, Andre Ponce, Avenic Zapanta, Meek Marasigan, Noel Alva, Ravi Angeles, Pat Reyes, Karl Rocha, Mika Jacinto, Nicole Nepomuceno,
Mabby Suazo, and Janette Calub

actors. (2018)

Running Time: 15 minutes and 57 seconds

Genre/s: Drama, Thriller

Released on March 13, 2018 (PH Release Date; Available For Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by The Plastics Productions

Writers: Pio Martinez, David Ignacio, and Gabe Cruz

Directors: David Ignacio, and Gabe Cruz

  • Camille Carmelina as Alice Denton
  • Liz Villacater as Elizabeth "Eliza" Hamilton
  • Jesmin Matibag as Contessa "Tess" Denton
  • Pio Martinez as Walter Denton
  • Jolo Valcos as James Roger
  • Ricci de Guzman as Chi
  • Pat Lim as Trixie
  • Fai Santos as Rebecca
  • Carmella Pelaez as Ella
  • Mikay Penaso as Savannah
  • Jaz Cariño as Diane Tian
  • Produced by Ryan "Puzzle" Termoso
  • Photography Direction by Clarine Mallillin, Dana Obnamia, and Carlo Velasco
  • Editing by Jaz Cariñoand Ricci de Guzman
  • Production Designs by Camille CarmelinaDana ObnamiaFai SantosJolo Valcos, and Liz Villacater
  • Make-Up by Jesmin Matibag, Carmela Pelaez, and Liz Villacater
  • Costume Designs by Jesmin MatibagCarmela Pelaez, and Liz Villacater
  • Music Composition by Jaz Cariño
  • Microphone Management by Jolo Valcosand Carlo Velasco
  • Sound Editing by Jaz Cariño 
  • Documentation by Pat Lim, and Pio Martinez


I placed the short film where I was involved in here for dramatic purposes. I handled much of the scriptwriting, alongside my comrade-at-arms Gabe Cruz, and our co-director David Ignacio, who described our filmmaking process "explicitly intrinsic", taking inspiration from numerous ideas presented by each of our members. And here is a fun fact: because we believe that improvisation would make our performers much more comfortable, as we have seen in some other films like Iron Man (Yes, the huge chunk of it was improvised, for your information), we mostly improvised the film. A challenge, yeah, but it was more or less a doozy in the end.

The deeply named "actors.", referring to the idea of playing pretend with everybody, deals with the ever-popular theme of acceptance in the face of animosity. Our short film, where Camille Carmelina showing-off her full range as a potential actress, plays Alice Denton, a formerly loving woman now devoid of hope, due being abused by her parents, played by yours truly and the talented Jesmin Matibag, explores the startling reality that, when push comes to shove, some of us might go down a darker, much more twisted path. 

The Plastics Productions (From left to right): Gabe Cruz, Jesmin Matibag, Clarine Mallillin, Carlo Velasco, Dana Obnamia, Ricci de Guzman, and Camille Carmelina. That handsome devil at the far right is me, by the way.

(Not pictured): Jaz Cariño, David Ignacio, Pat Lim, Carmella Pelaez, Mikay Penaso, Fai Santos, Jolo Valcos, and Liz Villacater

And there you have it, three of our school projects, which we hope you enjoyed. We all have some behind-the-scenes challenges, but hey, at least we are all one step closer to getting to college, right? Since we are at Senior High School, don't expect this post to be the last to focus on school life. Heck, I do have some interest in writing screenplays and story treatments, so don't be surprised when I, or my other academic comrades show-off our more creative sides here again. 

For our bonus video, here is an old school project of mine, which I made with my former classmate and still close friend Emil Angeles, when we were both in tenth grade. It is titled "Pagbago Ng Panahon", or "Climate Change" in English, a trailer-style video about the aforementioned contemporary issue. Made so because why not? Honestly, despite its imperfection, notably in the audio quality, I had a huge fun making this one, and I would even consider this as one of my most favorite school projects of all time. Heck, this is my first ever attempt at video editing, so cross your fingers for a better quality in future videos. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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