The famous quote “work hard in silence, let success be your noise” is tailored- fit for the 23-year old young filmmaker Aaron Matthew Orbase.
Fondly called by his friends “Mao,” he considers himself a late-bloomer when it comes to filmmaking. After finishing his secondary education, he was totally clueless about what to pursue in college. All he knew was he really loves taking photos, that’s it.
Maybe, destiny has its own way of showing what’s really meant for him until he found himself enrolling at the Multimedia Arts program at De La Salle Lipa where he started to unlock his full potential in photography and eventually ventured into filmmaking. Thanks to Gilberto Mejillano Jr. or commonly known as “Gibo,” who served as his first mentor, he learned the different techniques and processes both in photography and filmmaking.
“Nang mabili ko ang unang lens na gusto ko, sabi ko, naku, dahil dito makakagawa na ako ng pelikula! Makakapag bokeh-bokeh na ako! Tapos ayun, sinubukan kong sumulat ng kwento at isinalin ito sa pamamagitan ng film,” Mao happily recalled.
“Sabi pa ng isang propesor ko dati na si Direk Jaq Santos, kapag gumagawa ka ng pelikula, SHOW! DON’T TELL! Kasi totoo nga naman! Bakit ka pa gumawa ng pelikula kung puro sinasabi mo lang. Iba kasi yung sabi kesa sa ginagawa.”
Mao is lucky to be surrounded by mentors and friends who guided him to become a great storyteller, but mind you, his journey towards his first film was full of challenges.
Being the ‘happy-go-lucky’ student that he was, Mao was motivated to direct a film entitled “Huli” to prove to himself and to the people who don’t believe that he can be a good filmmaker and storyteller. Equipped with the right mindset and clear vision, he believes that anything is attainable.
“Nung college kasi ako, wala ako masyadong magandang grado. Pasa pero medyo lang. Tapos ayon, bago pa man ako grumadweyt ay gusto ko sanang makapag-iwan ako ng alaala sa institusyon namin. Kaya naman, nagpasya ako na gumawa ng pelikula.”
His film “Huli” circles in the story of Carlo and Fernand. Two different individuals with different personalities. Carlo, is a freelance graphic designer who had to support and take care of his brother Fernand who has special needs. The story paints Carlo’s struggles in balancing his studies, work and family duties. His film will teach you that there will be moments that we tend to be overwhelmed with the things coming our way that we forget the blessings we receive. We forget to give praises to our Supreme Creator. It might not always seem to be good days but we can always look at it in a positive way. Who knows, it might just be another blessing in disguise?
And the lesson that he actually wants to convey to his audience transpired in his own journey as a filmmaker. Despite the fact that a lot of people have negative perceptions about him, he managed to successfully produce a film and even win Best Cinematography at the National Intercollegiate Short Film Competition (Camella Condo Homes Short Film Competition) in 2017. With the theme, “The Young Urban Minds,” Aaron Matthew emerged as one of the victors among the students from various colleges and universities nationwide who participated in the competition.
“Iniimagine ko lang dati na mailagay yung name ko sa tarpaulin sa harap ng school namin, and after winning, ayun nga, nagkatotoo ang lahat. Bukod sa pagkapanalo sa pelikula bilang Best Cinematography ay napabilang din ako sa Wall of Fame sa labas ng aming paaralan na makikita ng maraming tao. Simple man para sa iba yung ganun, pero very fulfilling para sa akin. Kung meron ka talagang puso para sa isang bagay, lahat ng iyon ay magiging makatotohanan,” Mao shared with The Film Dream.
“I dedicate my film ‘Huli’ to my family, friends, and loved ones who believed in me until the end, until I graduated from the DLSL. And for those na hindi naniwala sa ‘kin na hindi ko kaya. Basta, nagawa kong maihabol na mapapaskil sa labas ng school namin bago maka-graduate,” Mao ecstatically shared.
Upon hearing those words from Mao, I couldn’t be happier for him. On his way to prove his doubters wrong, he came across a passion for storytelling. Working as the writer, cameraman, audio man, slate man, and director of his film is no joke, and I’m glad he pulled it off with flying colors. A one-crew production is a testament to hard work and undeniable talent truly deserving of commendations.
Mao’s willpower is admirable. He is unstoppable and is excited to unfold more stories and powerful films.
“Sa tuwing makakakita ako ng mga credits sa isang film ay naiisip kong balang araw magkaroon din ako ng sarili kong pelikula na ilalaban or mapapanood sa MMFF or di kaya QC Films, Cinemalaya.”
Aaron Matthew Orbase envisions himself working on a film that will be internationally recognized in the future. He eyes to write and direct stories about human behavior to even showcase his strength in storytelling. Directing a horror film is also part of his bucket list, even if he’s quite afraid of the said genre. He sees it as a challenge worth investing in.
At 23, Mao definitely has a long way to go but no doubt, this young filmmaker will surely surprise us again with another masterpiece in the future.
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