Sunday, July 8, 2012

I-Witness Docufest

I watched the ‪Cebu version of GMA's I-Witness Docufest. Learned a lot from @howieseverino @jaytaruc @sandraguinaldo & @karadavid. Wow!

I actually felt like a gatecrasher hehe! Imagine the whole of SM Cebu’s Cinema 7 jampacked with so many students and their teachers from many of the schools in the city. Some were even standing on the sides! But, I (seem to) know that this thing is not solely for students. It only said ‘admission is free’ – at least that’s what I remember to have come across while surfing the web on the way back to the Queen City. So I went for it this afternoon, and… quite a grand experience!

Why does this thing merit a story in my Philippine Travel Notes? Well well well baho ka’g tiil, everywhere I go is a destination, and I am never sure what will be memorable for me and probably you. I say it was quite an experience for me as I picked quite a bunch of ideas/pointers at the fora that came immediately after the 2 screenings of 4 documentaries (one from each of them). I will have to qualify that as… I learned from the 4 journalists AND the students who readily lined up behind the four microphones to throw in their questions! I now know where else to turn my gaze at when traveling!

What is it anyway? Ahm ah… your Monday-evening habit on widescreen, without the ads to cut the episode into chunks and with the journalists/documentarists (some of their team members too) on hand to answer just about any question you have. Ganun lang naman, and I think this activity is commendable – whatever the program’s or network’s ultimate purpose is. Basta, Magaling!

My notes: and let me start with the journalists as this was first time I listened to and watched them in the flesh. I mean live… and they were the “interviewees” this time!

Howie walks/sits with a slouch. Hmm, smoker like me or smoker before? Probably. Otherwise, I will think nakuba na sya because of too much dedication to his studies (before) and his craft (now) hehe. But I liked his answer to what makes his feet firmly on ground. Honga naman ‘no?! What does your son care about your accolades and achievements at work! interesting thing is he does not in anyway sound like hindi naman sya nag-college dito sa Pilipinas. He’s a “Jumbo”. Tufts U! Yup, north of Cambridge. But you don’t hear the Boston slang or even a hint that he spent college life in (or near) ‘The Hub’!

Jay still wears that bandana - whatever it is called nowadays. I still don’t like it. It hides a gentle young man that he is. His description of his feelings while shooting at the burn unit was interesting. Something like “it was the most painful feeling” he ever felt. Well, who would not agree. The docu really showed it. More painful still were facts like it is the only one in Mindanao, none in the Visayas and there are only 3 in Metro Manila. Oh, he has a bigger voice in person than what we hear on TV! Ang anak ni Mang Joe is reaping his own merits and slowly getting off the shadow of his dad! Those students in the audience don’t probably know Mang Joe anyway. Do kids nowadays still listen to AM Radio?

Sandra is a case study herself that most Filipinos would like to hear more details about, I’m sure! Yes this is the girl that FPJ berated on a stage during an election campaign hehe. I like it that she is a WYSIWYG lass. Firmly aground as one friend calls down to earth folks like her! Whatever you see on TV is still the real she in person. I get a sense there is a very emotional girl behind that media personality. I caught that when one student asked her about “Ampon”. Hmm, I think she ended that with “ayan naiiyak na tuloy ako”! I would like to believe though that her being emotional helps her a lot in her documentaries. Batch 2012, in fact, was the ultimate tear-jerker of the afternoon. I think, everyone at Cinema 7 weeped and wailed with that docu. Even the noisy biosterous college kids went real silent during that episode.

Kara is a fun funny candid kikay and giggly bruha (even bading) behind and in addition to that beauty and brain package that we mostly remember. She is a real girl in all senses of the word. I loved her replies to many of the questions. Like she said “mamamatay ba ako dyan?” when talking about what she asked her self to assess if she should go dive in that muddy hole in Paracale hehe! And I liked the way she laughed (on microphone). Very reminiscent of the way her mom laughs aloud. It would have been fun if someone asked if she can sing and dared her to dish out a line or two Then again, those kids at Cinema 7 do not even probably know Karina Constantino-David nor Inang Laya – that I was fond of listening to as a college kid myself at UPD. And I wonder, Kara’s voice seem a bit too high pitched compared to any of her parents’!

Okay those are what I thought of the 4 award-winning documentarists! What else?

Hmm, I’d like to think the network should tap the ‘new working class’ for an audience when doing docufests. I mean the younger generation of yuppies who now have the time, technology and resources to roam around and find material. Especially the high-salaried IT Park dudes?! Many of them should be happier doing docus than just romping around on Bora, for the nth time! As for those college students, well, I think the four, and the program would have inspired many of them to become journalists.

I liked their revelation that each team generally just has a month to do everything from ‘barilan’ (brainstorming) all the way to post-prod. Pinoy showbiz style talaga! Lahat minamadali. AND that is what surprised me most. Because they still reap awards besting everyone else in the world. Then again, maybe those foreign media outfits that spend like 6 months to a year doing their 1-hour episodes have too much time they tend to ‘overcook’ their outputs. Just my thought hehe!

Oh, while most of the i-witness episodes are written by the hosts themselves, they readily recognized and announced that they owe most of their craft to their researchers and all the ‘out-of-the-scene’ production staff. Cant agree more. For all to be done in a month? With a topic / subject out on the hinters not easily reached by air, land or water?! Grabe! This is that realization that we viewers of free-tv must say, the program (i-witness) in itself is a real public service beyond what Howie says they are a ‘content’ not just a ‘show’!

In all, this docufest thing widened my horizons more. So I was a student after all. Therefore I belonged to those kids and their teachers inside SM Cebu’s Cinema 7!


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