If there is anything that has been successfully flattened at the height of the pandemic, it’s the borders that separate people. The unseen curve that has drawn classes apart. Fact is, no class of society seems to be in a safe place right now. And although these may have collectively become a phase of realization for some people to see how advantaged they are, it has also opened the view of things from the other side. Cinemalaya filmmaker Kevin Mayuga took advantage of this rare opportunity of seeing things and capturing them in a story.
Just like the others, the life he is living now did not spare him from the claws of the monster that has been threatening humankind for quite sometime-- a proof that a comfortable life is not tantamount to a better place during the pandemic.
“I was going through anxiety, and some sort of depressive state (like everyone else). I felt like I was wrestling with this complex feeling called privilege guilt. I was seeing the news, that people here in the Philippines, are struggling, dying, while I’m here in my home, in a comfortable spot with my family, and I have a maid, a kasambahay with me, who do the chores and I’ve never really realized how privileged I was, until the pandemic hit.”
Even if Kevin is living on a more comfortable side, he is evidently perceptive of how the other class of life looks like. This actually fueled him to do something that challenges the way he sees things, which led and inspired the creation of his Cinemalaya entry “Ate O.G.”
Kevin had one thing in mind while brainstorming. He wanted his film to dismantle the connotation of looking at social classes to gauge on how much respect one would show the other.
“Some people don’t realize that they treat people differently because of where they are from because of social class.”
Originally a commercial director, Kevin slowly got jaded, prompting him to shift into filmmaking. In spite of his extensive experience in producing digital content such as commercials and music videos, he knew there was more he could do.
“I needed to at least prove to myself that I can still do a film. Ate OG is a homemade short film and I wanted to challenge myself as a filmmaker. What can I do with this limited space, limited resources, limited actors that I had. Can I still tell a story?” Mayuga said who worked alone for his entry.
With his knowledge on commercial production, Kevin knew that with the limited resources brought about by the pandemic, it was going to be a challenge.
“It’s kinda crazy, I came from a commercial shoot where there are 50-100 people on site, am I still a filmmaker if it’s just me?”
BTS photos during the Film Production of "Ate O.G" directed by Kevin Mayuga