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'FAITH, TRUST, LIMITLESS POWER' Mold Mark Moneda in Filmmaking

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

When the chances do not favor you, it is easy to think of something new.

Einstein once said, "We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." To solve a mystery problem, we need the curiosity in our minds to think and see from a bigger perspective what's missing and find a solution to the dilemma that we are facing. It really takes a lot of courage to pull off something that we weren't sure if it will blossom into something worth doing.

Just like the stories of the micro food entrepreneurs in the film "Ang mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa", who withstood all odds and planned ahead on what to do next after being closed when the community quarantines were implemented.

Thanks to Ilocanos Kevin Jay Ayson and Mark Moneda, a cinematographer and scriptwriter, respectively, who are based in Laoag City, their stories will finally come to life.

In fact, The Film Dream is very fortunate to have a virtual meet-up with Co-Director Mark Moneda where he shared how it was like participating in one of the most anticipated independent film festivals in the country-- Cinemalaya 2021.

Mark Moneda, Co-Director of the film "Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-Asa at Panlasa", An Entry to the 17th Cinemalaya Film Fest

Aside from being filmmakers, Mark shared one of the main reasons why they pushed through with the film was because of the fact that he and Kevin really got along as food buddies.

Even if Mark is a Radiologic Technologist by profession, he is on fire to show his passion in the industry. He even shared that his hopes for filmmaking came from his ancestors' roots, whose veteran film director in the Philippines directed Bituing Walang Ningning, Dyesebel, and Darna movies in the 70s and 80s, Emmanuel Borlaza.

“ I do love science a lot, and it’s in my blood. For me I’m a Radiologic Technologist, that's my personality. But in order to save my sanity during these trying times, I divert myself to filmmaking. So filmmaking actually saved me from the chaos that's happening around, and I’m so thankful for the existence of art in many ways.”

“Honestly, before I became a medical health care worker, I was also a movie fan. I mean, when I was eleven I’m already a movie fan together with my family. During weekends we used to watch on the television movies airing at Cinema One. I think, doon nag-develop talaga pagkabata pa hanggang sa paglaki.”

BTS Photos from the Film Production of "Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa"

Talking more about their film, “Ang Mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa” this documentary film primarily tackles the struggles of Ilocos Norte micro food entrepreneurs after the pandemic broke out and community quarantine was imposed throughout the country.

“It is a collection of actual and real life stories of our fellow Ilocano food entrepreneurs here in our province Ilocos Norte. It talks about their struggles, their hardships that they’ve been through during the pandemic. Because last year at the very height of the pandemic, our province Ilocos Norte was placed under enhanced community quarantine. By that time all of the establishments have to close as well as the eateries, they have to close temporarily in compliance with the health and safety protocols.”

“That being said, ‘nawawala’ because the story is about finding and bringing back the lost livelihood, the lost hopes, and the lost Ilocano culture as well.”

Challenges are truly inevitable but overcoming them makes the journey more meaningful. Instead of seeing hardships and dwelling with the negativities, together with his co-director, Kevin, they made sure that they would be able to come up with a story that not only evokes one's emotion but calls for action.

“During that time we only had limited resources and we were restricted from many things. But upon meeting with our subject, we really made sure that we really comply with the health and safety protocols, and glory to God it turned out just the way we wanted it to be.”

“For the past years sa Cinemalaya parang hindi nila pinipili ‘yung "docu" as a part of the line up. So we were just in awe and we are surprised because Cinemalaya has finally stepped up their game this year.”

“For us, this is the perfect year to put a blur on the distinction of genre. After all it’s a festival, and in every festival we should embrace diversity and differences and I think that’s the way it should be. We're just so grateful to Cinemalaya for stepping up for us.”

When asked about his advice to other aspiring filmmakers, Mark Moneda first went back to the days where he got his best achievement in life.

“The greatest achievement that I received was accepting Jesus Christ as my saviour because I’m a Christian. The day that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Saviour, everything turned out so well because I’ve surrendered everything to him. All of my decisions, talent, I mean it’s not my talent, it’s Him. It’s God who's working behind every success that I’ve received during the past few years and I’m just grateful for that.”

“I would like to tell them to continue on what they are passionate about. Never stop learning, watching and exploring. I know that this current situation that we are in is very difficult to pursue that passion but do what is doable and what is achievable by this time. Also, remember to maintain the quality, the quality in your movie and in everything that you do or in any field of art. I know in God’s perfect time, everything will get better. Just continue what you are doing."

"If you are still hesitant in pursuing your passion, let this be your sign to start now, and I repeat...start now!”

'Ang mga Nawalang Pag-asa at Panlasa', together with other promising short films, will premiere in the 17th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which will take place from August 6 until September 5 at platform.

Watch Mark Moneda's The Daily Daily video coming soon here at The Film Dream website.

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