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FROM SELF-DOUBT TO TAKING PRIDE: A Piece of Arjanmar Rebeta’s Battlecry

Updated: Aug 19, 2021


It's run-of-the-mill to undergo feelings of doubt when we are faced with new or challenging situations. It is something that we may all experience at a certain time in our lives. If self-doubt is holding us back from taking a leap of faith, it also helps us to recollect that we are all human. That we all live for a certain purpose.


That being said, Arjanmar Rebeta persevered to somehow find, convince, and revive himself from being whelmed in a world of isolation.


Exploring his own planet, Arjanmar then produced and directed 'An Sadit na Planeta' (The Little Planet), an official entry to the 17th edition of Cinemalaya.


This 12-minute experimental narrative depicts a story about Arjan who is awakened by a mysterious voice and he finds himself alone on a small planet called “Planet I.” He doesn't know the reason how and why he is there on that planet until he starts moving. For forty days, he traveled the little planet to find the truth he was looking for.


Bicolano filmmaker Arjanmar is a native of Cabusao, Camarines Sur. He is an alumnus of Ricky Lee's Film Scriptwriting Workshop, Film & Media for Human Rights Advocacy Workshop and the Mindanao Screen Lab. A roster of his short films include Super-Able, Viral Kids, My Father is an Astro-Not, The Complicated Dance to the Wheel of Life, A Boxing Country, among others. His short film Palabas was nominated at the 42nd Gawad Urian for Best Short Film. His films have been selected & awarded in different local & international film festivals.


Numerous laurels have been attached to his name as he is a recipient of "Harvest of Honors" Award for Cinema by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Film Ambassador by Film Development Council of the Philippines, and Indie Bravo Award by Inquirer Philippines.


As a novice in filmmaking, he started producing short films in his home region during the year 2014 and it continued until his present short film 'An Sadit na Planeta', deriving from his experiences during the current pandemic.


"Ito ay pagkukwento tungkol sa aking karanasan ngayong pandemic pero mas mare-relate din ito sa other parts ng buhay kahit hindi pandemic. Dun sa lahat ng taong may pinagdadaanan noon, ngayon at sa hinaharap."


"Ito rin yung parang love letter namin na nagsasabing, may pag-asa at tayo rin ang magdedesisyon sa ating mga planeta."

"Mahirap magbukas minsan ng sarili sa social media na may mga ganun kang nararamdaman pero mas madali para sa iyo na ipakita ulit sa panibagong visual na narrative na iisipin nila na hindi rin naman ikaw ito pero at least pagbabahagi na pala ito ng sarili mo na kung siguro sila yung makakakilala sa iyo, makikitaan na ah kwento niya ito pero at the same time dahil lahat nga tayo ay nakaranas ng ganitong pandemic, makakapagsabi rin tayo na ah kwento ko rin ito."


Looking back to his childhood, he had no concept of filmmaking since he lived in the province, far from the usual dominance of the silver screen in the metro.


"Minsan nanonood ako ng TV dahil gusto ko lang manood pero behind kung sino man ang gumagawa, hindi ko naman natanong ‘yun. Wala ring mga kurso ng filmmaking sa amin."


A person who reflects throughout his or her practice is not just looking back on past actions, but is taking a conscious look at responses and experiences. As such, Arjanmar remembered his past which helped him establish a sense of identity.


"After college at after five years na nagtrabaho ako sa isang BPO company, napagod na ako na ang sabi ko parang hindi ito yung pangmatagalan na gusto kong gawin. Kaya nag-isip ako kung ano ba ang gusto kong gawin. Nag-isip-isip ako at dun ko nabalikan na meron akong isang bagay na ginawa nung college at mukhang masaya naman ako na ginagawa siya."


"Ini-assign ako sa college na magdocument ng mga event tapos magshoot ng mga pang-presentation lang sa family gatherings through point and shoot camera. Binalikan ko ang experience na yun na sabi ko na parang gusto kong magshoot. Nagtry ako na mag-YouTube hanggang narealize ko na parang gusto ko siya. Kumuha ako ng short courses sa film school kasi hindi ko naman kaya yung buong program. Tapos mga TESDA-accredited na pag-aaral sa software like Adobe."


It's easy to feel aimless when we don't have a concrete goal. Despite gradually realizing his full potential, Arjanmar thought of and doubted his place in the industry. However, his passion to inspire people through storytelling and the support from his family helped him to reach greener pastures.

(BTS photos from the Film Production of "An Sadit na Planeta" directed by Arjanmar Rebeta)


"Late ko na nadiscover yung about sa filmmaking. Somehow nagtataka ako kung bakit ako nandito. Parang nandun lang ako sa gusto kong magkwento. Hindi ko nga alam ang Cannes at Oscars. Pero at least yung drive mo na gustong magkwento, dun muna ako humuhugot kasi dun ka naman babalik."


"Nung nagdesisyon ako na magpunta sa filmmaking, sobrang suntok sa buwan. Kasi panganay akong anak tapos may responsibilidad ako na makatulong talaga. Pero nung nagdesisyon ako na magfocus sa filmmaking or sa photography nung una, parang alam kong magkukulang naman ako sa pagtulong kasi titigil ako sa trabaho ko na stable na yun talaga yung nakakapagbigay sa akin ng monthly na sahod."


"Hindi madali pero 'yung makita mo na supporter mo yung pamilya mo at kahit mahirap, siguro 'yun yung pinaghuhugutan mo kung bakit ka nagpapatuloy."

There is a mind-boggling adage that says, "It's okay not to be okay". We all have our limits, and sometimes our responsibilities to our families, friends and other aspects in our lives push us over the edge of those boundaries. However, the easiest way to move forward is to move through and it is something that Arjanmar has considered as his battlecry.

Film Still from "An Sadit na Planeta" directed by Arjanmar Rebeta

"Karaniwan, kapag padating na ang Cinemalaya, talagang somehow naghahanda ako ng film na gagawin. Shinoot ko ito (An Sadit na Planeta) nung February and ang deadline ng Cinemalaya ay March (1 or 5), so at least talagang ihahabol namin sa Cinemalaya."


"Personal project siya in the sense na parang halos wala kasi akong nagagawa nitong pandemic dahil sa lockdown and personal ko rin siyang experience na sabi ko na papunta na sa anxiety at depression so somehow ito na yung pagpapalaya ko sa sarili ko na naranasan ko talaga yung lumiliit ang mundo ko na parang hindi ko alam kung may saysay pa ba yung mga ginagawa ko. At least ngayon through this film, nagbigay ulit siya ng pagkakataon na ikwento mo yung sarili mo kung wala kang maikwentong iba."


Last January, while he didn't have a film to make, he started to introduce AstroNoy, a content creator character that inspired him of the treatment of his film 'An Sadit na Planeta'.


"Nung nagbakasyon at pumunta ako sa Bicol, pumunta ako kung saan-saan na ginamit ko yung character na AstroNoy and nagkataon na ito yung kinuha kong camera, with this camera 360 na naging bagay siya sa character ni AstroNoy na nagtatravel siya sa kung saan-saang lugar, na maliliit na mga planeta. Dun ko nabuo yung konsepto na bakit hindi ko siya gamitin sa narrative filmmaking. As a filmmaker, yun ang ginamit kong treatment sa film."


"Nandun ako sa idea na somehow may mga pinagdadaanan tayo na minsan alam naman din natin ang dapat gawin, na minsan kailangan pa siyang iboses ng iba pero at least alam naman natin na nasa loob naman natin siya na may ganun tayong kaalaman na paano ba tayo magpapatuloy."


(BTS photos from the Film Production of "An Sadit na Planeta" directed by Arjanmar Rebeta)


"Dito lang yung kakaiba kasi marami nang gumamit ng ganun na ibang boses ang nagpapaliwanag pero dito, yung treatment is yung minsan sa sarili mo mismo meron kang sariling kakayahan, iheal mo yung sarili mo, paliwanagan mo yung sarili mo."


Arjanmar had joined Cinemalaya for three consecutive times. His first two tries didn't yield a nomination, but it didn't hinder him to be finally included in the roster of Cinemalaya nominations on his third attempt. When asked what he thinks about the edge of his film, he proudly shared, "Siguro napapanahon siya. Kwento siya ng pandemic, ng ngayong karanasan. Isa yun sa pwedeng point. Isa rin ay yung treatment, kasi wala pa akong ibang nakikita na naging ganito ang treatment. Yun lang siguro ang inilaban ko dito na mas naging unique siya."


The best champion and cheerleader is Arjanmar himself. He takes pride in how far he has come with his achievements, whether big or small, which helped him to carve a niche in the industry.


"Halos lahat naman siya (short films) ay mahalaga sa akin. Pero may isang medyo nagdala sa akin ng sunod-sunod na awards at nagpakilala sa akin. Siya rin ang nagpalipad sa akin sa ibang bansa para irepresent ang Pilipinas. Yun yung 'Palabas' (A Country in Moving Pictures). Medyo socio-political nga lang siya kasi tungkol sa EJK (extrajudicial killings) na nangyayari sa atin ngayong administrasyon."


"Ang pinakablessing din para sa akin ay yung makapasok ako kay Sir Ricky Lee sa scriptwriting workshop. Masaya akong nakasali at naturuan din ni Sir Ricky Lee. Kahit naman hanggang ngayon dito sa ginagawa naming project, tinutulungan niya pa rin ako sa scriptwriting and talagang malaking bagay ang mga tulong niya."


A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. While little by little achieving success, Arjanmar never forget to thank and recognize the people who always assist and motivate him to continue his craft.
Film Still from "An Sadit na Planeta" directed by Arjanmar Rebeta

"Isa sa mga matagal ko ring nakasama ay yung asawa ko. Mula pa naman noon, kami ang dalawang sabay na sumuntok sa buwan. Sa paggawa nitong specific na film na 'An Sadit na Planeta', kami lang dalawa kasama yung aso namin ang gumawa nitong film."


At present, Arjanmar is currently on the pre-production process of his dream full-length musical-fantasy film where he draws inspiration from musical films namely, 'The Greatest Showman' and 'La La Land', with the support of a producer named Miss Gigi.


"Si Miss Gigi yung producer na tumutulong sa akin ngayon dito sa ginagawa naming film na musical-fantasy na pinaplano namin kasi financially, spiritually and morally, siya yung nagpupush na sige kakayanin natin ito at tutulungan namin ikaw. May mga taong katulad niya na naniniwala sa akin."


"Parang naniniwala ako sa tadhana or blessing na kapag tinutuloy-tuloy mo siya, talagang makukuha mo siya. Tulad sa 'The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho', the universe will conspire para pagtagpuin talaga yung mga tao, mga pagkakataon para mapuntahan mo yung dapat mong puntahan."


Film Still from "An Sadit na Planeta" directed by Arjanmar Rebeta

For Arjanmar, the greatest and real battle can be attested through the endurance and stability being exerted in experiences in life.


"Kahit na-experience ko ang school kung hindi mo naman siya ilalagay sa karanasan mo, kung hindi mo siya ipa-practice, wala pa rin. Mas malaking tulong kung galing ka talaga sa school, mas okay yun. Mas magiging doble ang advantage mo. Pero mas iba pa rin na nagpapatuloy ka dahil ina-apply mo siya sa karanasan mo. Ang labanan talaga ay tatag ng karanasan. Kung magpapatalo ka sa mga pagsubok, hindi mo na siya maipagpapatuloy. Yung bawat skill mo ay nadedevelop din sa karanasan."


Arjanmar Rebeta had doubted his potential before, but he accepted his strengths and all that he has to offer; thus, he is and will always be autographing his work with pride and excellence.



Watch "An Sadit na Planeta", an official entry to Cinemalaya 2021 Film Festival directed by Arjanmar Rebeta streaming at ktx.ph from August 6 to September.





Watch Arjanmar Rebeta's The Daily Daily Video HERE.

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