For the 19 year old, Cyrus Noel Carano-o, being hailed as one of the eight Best Student Short Films at the Metro Manila Film Festival 2019 for his horror film, “Hipos” was a sweet and unexpected victory.
“Maliit lang ang city namin, and ‘yung school namin di talaga malaki compared sa mga kalaban namin. Hindi talaga kami nag-expect na makapasok kami sa MMFF.”
Hipos, is a short film produced by Cyrus and Anggulo Productions from Sagay National High School, about an “aswang” haunting a community in Sagay, Negros Occidental. They derived their inspiration from the many stories circulating in their town to also meet the theme of that year’s MMFF, “Philippine Mythology and Regional Stories.”
Coming from the town of Sagay, Cyrus believed that it was a tough road to make it to the roster of student films because there are a lot of highly competitive schools and universities from the Metro who are also participating.
But what you would admire from this young Negrense filmmaker is his fighting spirit -- that anything is attainable as long as you have a clear vision of where you want to be and you are willing to take all risks to make the impossible possible.
“Through email lang lahat. Ipinasa namin ang materials sa MMFF via email from posters to the film, and other requirements since hindi kami makapunta ng Manila to submit it.”
“Nanggaling man kami sa maliit na school, we really want to make our school and teachers proud na mayroong ganitong talent mula sa probinsya.”
Being shortlisted for MMFF is a rewarding moment already, but making it to the elite list of eight finalists along with the full-length films in the annual film festival is such a huge achievement for this young filmmaker. He admits that he is very grateful to his senior creatives who have guided him and his team throughout the whole film production as well as to their teachers who offered their all-out support.
Of course, it wasn’t a piece of cake. Competition in the highly-anticipated film festival which is a dream of many creatives takes a lot of preparations and hardwork. Not to mention, financial resources to fund the whole production. Cyrus shared with The Film Dream how he and his team made it through that challenging journey.
“Struggle talaga is equipment and syempre, finance. So kailangan talaga naming maghanap ng sponsors, from our Vice Mayor and then si Sir Elbridge who really shared a generous amount to us. And yung camera na ginamit namin is sa school, ‘yun ang ginagamit namin.”
“Yung film spot namin, nasa bundok talaga, mahirap puntahan. Naghanap kami ng magandang location, nag-travel kami doon. Wala pang kuryente doon. Dahil wala ngang kuryente, naghanap kami ng mahabang wire and maraming maraming extension wire para lang may mapagsaksakan kami and makapag-charge.”
“Kinailangan pa namin magre-shoot, yung part na may isang babae na nagtatakbo sa fields.”
Since they are also shooting a horror short film, which requires specific lighting, mounting their lighting equipment and making sure they would be able to capture their perfect frames also added up to the struggle.
“Ang theme namin horror, ang hirap ng lighting. Nasa bundok pa kami. Buti na lang talagang matulungin ang groupmates ko. Nagtulungan kami as a one team. It’s a big project for us.”
Meanwhile, when it comes to the post production process, they were very lucky because they are well-guided by a talented film editor from Bacolod. However, every time they’ll have to check their editing progress, it takes them 2 hours just to oversee the editing because they have to travel from their town, Sagay.
After all the humps and bumps of producing “Hipos”, everything truly paid off because they were finally given the chance to go to Manila and attend the Gabi ng Parangal of MMFF. It was once a dream for Cyrus to step foot in such a huge event and it all materialized because of their common goal.”
“Nung awarding sabi ko talaga, pag-akyat namin sa stage, noon, ako ang nanood sa TV sa mga artista. Ngayon, ako na ‘yung pinapanood ng mga tao at mga artista sa stage. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
He also shared that being a filmmaker has been a big dream ever since he was young because he has always been fascinated to watch and criticize movies.
“Napakahilig ko talaga sa deep movies. Habang nanood ako, kinakausap ko talaga yung sarili ko, ano ba mangyayari, ano kayang ending. Gusto ko yung solving puzzles and why not gawin ko rin. ‘Yun ang nag-udyok sakin.”
“Noon pa lang gusto ko na gumawa ng film na mas lalong pinush ng school namin. Dream come true na nakagawa ako ng film of my own.”
At present, Cyrus is now a first year Computer Engineering student at University of San Carlos-Talamban Campus and he is hopeful to create more films in the years to come especially with films that try to solve series of interconnected puzzles.
“To my fellow young filmmakers, based from my own experience, napakahirap talaga gumawa ng film. Pero may paraan talaga, kahit anumang hirap ‘yan. Napakaraming time para maging isang successful filmmaker kung gusto mo talaga.”
Equipped with an impeccable vision, Cyrus Noel Carano-o has proven that anybody can be successful no matter where you’re from and what you have been through. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you will.
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