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Corrinne Mandilag: A Risk-Taker and Young Filmmaker From Bataan

It started with a lot of ‘what ifs’, series of brainstorming session, and countless discussions. They even had to hurdle a lot of obstacles, but Corrinne Mandilag and her team’s collaborative effort paved way to their film dream.

At a young age of 19, Mandilag, a young filmmaker from Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) already had her first directorial job. It has always been a dream for her to become an actress, but little did she know, she is bound to make waves behind the camera.

Her first film entitled “Layag'' is something that she considers a product of hard work, dedication, and passion. The road was not easy, but she is grateful that she has an equally dedicated and talented team whom she can lean on especially with the demands entailed in film production.

Aside from directing, Corrinne also loves writing. Here's Corrinne accepting an award when she was still

Literary Editor of the Guilds, the official school publication of Bataan Peninsula State University,

“From brainstorming sessions until we finalized the plot, my team has always been very collaborative. If it weren’t for the combined effort of my group, this film wouldn’t even be possible,” Mandilag shared.

“Layag'' is a student film inspired by Stephen King's novel–Pet Sematary. She and her team are all fond of psychological-thriller films. The film revolves around the story of two sisters who writes their dreams on a paper boat believing that their dreams can come true as it sails away. They used paper boats as their main metaphor to convey voyage.

In one of the most remarkable scenes set in the forest, Robbin, the older sister in the story, is seen running for her life as her childhood friend Jhong chases her revealing Jhong's sexual desire for Robbin. As Robbin jumps on the river, it brought her to a dream state, a nightmare wherein her younger sister, Unnica, had died. But in reality, it was her who was murdered by Jhong.

Behind-the-scene shot while filming "Layag"

Truth be told, their film sparked a lot of conversations in their community because of its sensitivities, but what you would admire is the lesson you will get after watching the film -- that there is nothing more important than a family whom you can trust, and will love you no matter what the circumstances are.

However, just like any other production team, Corrinne and her group faced a lot of challenges before their film finally materialized. They had to adjust their production timelines to meet the availability of their actors. Also, the task of acquiring a special equipment for their underwater shot has taken their resourcefulness to the next level.

“We don’t have a GoPro or a high-end camera designed for underwater shoot so we had no other choice but to improvise and use our smartphones instead. It was a team decision that we can’t just remove those scenes because they are really essential thus, even if there is a possibility that our phone might be damaged we took the risk and voila, it worked,” Mandilag added.

Another memorable moment for Corrinne and her team was the post-production process. When they are finally dubbing some parts of their film, their main actress suddenly had to cancel so she had to take over and use her voice instead. Not to mention the stress of rendering the film before submission day because of the heavy files, plus they don’t want to compromise the video resolution.

“A lot more happened behind the scenes, in fact, if I am going to share everything, this page wouldn’t even suffice. Kidding aside, seeing our film being appreciated by our classmates and even our professors telling us that color grading is truly commendable really makes it all worth it,” Mandilag happily exclaimed.
Images of the before and after color grading was done.

She also mentioned that she owes the good grades they have received for their film to her family who have supported them financially, to her music friends who help her score the sound design, the location owners who allowed them to use their properties, and to God who has given her the talent in storytelling.

Corrinne Mandilag is indeed a testament that sometimes, we just really need to take the risk. There might have been a lot of uncertainties because of the possible outcome or potential failure but turning all of your ‘what ifs’ into ‘even if’ will make you even grow as a better person.

"Layag" was Corrinne's short film school requirement at Bataan Peninsula State University.

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