Who would have thought that at an early age of seven, a young boy is already destined to have a love affair with films?
Yes, you read it right. Instead of just simply having fun and playing as a kid, he gave names and roles to his toys and made stories out of it. Funny as it may seem, that short anecdote alone proved he is bound to become a good storyteller.
“History is the best story,” said 23-year old Raymond Cultura, a Batangueño filmmaker who directed, "Al Basir," an award-winning student film from Lyceum of the Philippines University- Batangas.
With the unwavering support of the Department of Communication and Multimedia Arts of LPU-B, the film Al Basir came to life. It is a fictional story based on the Japanese occupation in the country with a protagonist-antagonist character who took advantage of the war to kill their enemies. The story revolved around the raging war between the Filipinos and Japanese. Amira, a Muslim woman who is one of the wives of Marik Abu, struggles to compete with his husband's other wives -- Soniah, Radiah, and Mishari. Succumbed by possessiveness and jealousy, she then murders the other wives of her husband as she takes advantage of the war against the Japanese soldiers, making everybody believe that the soldiers caused the women’s demise. What she didn’t foresee is that the real enemies are bound to destroy her utmost desire.
“We really had to consider a lot of factors when shooting this film. We did tons of research just to make sure everything is perfect and accurate. We don’t want to offend anyone’s culture or tradition so everything has to be rigorously planned and thought of,” Cultura junctured.
From the costumes, location hunting, production design, and the story, Raymond and his team of young filmmakers pulled off an impeccable period-based student film that is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable historical films ever produced by students especially in the Calabarzon region.
In fact, with their film that has sparked conversations, it is not a surprise that it eventually bagged numerous awards in three different festivals.
Gawad MASA (Mass Communication Students Association)
1. Best Sound Design
2. Best Musical Scoring
3. Best Cinematography
4. Best Production Design
5. Best Story
6. Best Film Exhibit
7. Best Actor
8. Best Actress
9. Best Director
10. Best Film
LYCINEMA (A Film Festival participated by different LPU-campuses in the country)
1. Best Film
2. Best Director
3. Best Actress
4. Best Cinematography
5. Best Production Design
6. Best Editing
7. Best Screenplay
1. Best Director
2. Best editing
With the numerous awards Raymond has received as a young filmmaker he shared that he is excited to learn more about the industry and has been praying to meet his idol, renowned film director Brillante Mendoza.
“The way he tells a story, it’s dramatically mind blowing! I am also amazed nung nalaman kong yung ibang films nya, wala talagang script. I’m a big fan,” he exclaimed.
He also has a message to young filmmakers and storytellers like him who are afraid or doubtful if they would still push through in creating stories that impact people’s lives.
“While it may be true that it is challenging to penetrate the film industry here in the country, let us keep our hopes high. Our time will come, we just need to patiently wait for it. But we should never stop learning. Take it one day at a time. If you have a story in mind, write it and then film it,” he added.
Despite the accolades he has received at a very young age, what is amazing about Raymond is that he remains humble. From that young boy who was even scolded by his mom because he used her powder to make a smoke effect for his imaginary war scene of his toys, an upcoming filmmaker to watch out for is born. He’s coming soon.