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Geoffrey Jules Solidum: A Visual Storyteller Who Envisions for Societal Change

Despite all the preparations and safety measures, no one is safe from eager, cunning thieves.

This was the logline of a short film entitled 'Magna' directed by Geoffrey Jules Solidum.

'Magna' tackles the rampant killings of random people without legal process, one of the most pressing issues of the society nowadays.

The director, 22-year-old Geoffrey, is a cum laude graduate of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Raised in a family inclined in medical health professions, Geoffrey considers himself as the "black sheep" but it does not mean that he was the outcast or undesirable member of the family. He jokingly said so because he was fond of indulging into different stuff unlike his mother, father, and sister. However, he regards that he inherited his creative side from his mother who appreciates arts and loves to play the piano.

"I'm a visual storyteller. My mom likes storytelling. Nung elementary ako, may ginawa siya na student organization. There is a group of pharmacists na nagkukwento sa wards ng kids."

Geoffrey reminisced his innocent yet enthusiastic days when he started to discover his brilliant ability to make eye-opener crafts. He shared that while learning animation skills, he used to join storytelling competitions in his school until he participated in painting and poster making contests. During his high school days when he first used a digital single-lens reflex or DSLR camera, he thought of making films and the rest was history.

Amid Geoffrey's collaborative effort with Alexis Siscar and Stanley Barroga, the film's pre-production process had its little struggles from its concept up to its animation and design. They had to make sure the audience would fully deduce the message of the film.

"We wanted to stay on neutral ground kaya I opted the team to keep this film na pwedeng i-contextualize. We present bits of information pero we leave out the super details that would pinpoint individuals or a group of individuals."

"Kasi parang news 'yan. Hindi pwedeng nanonood ka ng isang news lang. For sure, meron at merong bias ang news na 'yan. Kailangan marami kang info na pinanggagalingan and you interpret it based on those information."

On a brighter note, Geoffrey emphasized that even though he served as the director, he was not totally the boss.

"Almost equal siya. Kaklase ko sila nung college. Pare-pareho kaming (students) of landscape architecture kaya meron kaming background on animating scenes. It's intertwining LA (landscape architecture) technicalities and filmmaking."

"Kakagraduate lang namin. Ang nangyari ay hiwa-hiwalay. Yung isa si Don (Barroga) nasa Muntinlupa. Si Alex nasa Manila. Tapos ako nung time na 'yun, may academic exhibit na gaganapin sa Korea. Hindi rin kami makapagkita-kita. Sabi namin, sayang naman kung makapagkita tayo tapos hindi rin makakagawa. Halimbawa ako naka-PC tapos sila naka-laptop. So wala akong magagawa, hindi ako makakatulong."

"Before everything na makapagdecide kami na ito yung film na gagawin namin, nakita lang namin yung post ng Sine Kabataan na may call for films. Talamak din sa social media yung misinformation at disinformation. We wanted to help in bridging that information gap."

This man who works as a Design Assistant at Nayong Pilipino Foundation definitely knows that the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

"Meron kang nakikita na nangyayari sa society na gusto mo sanang baguhin pero alam mo na hindi mo mababago kasi systemic issue siya. Kahit tanggap mo na systemic issue siya, gusto mong mag-contribute to the society. I want a resemblance of hope, may collective action."

Being a graduate of landscape architecture, Geoffrey uses his knowledge on proper urban planning and gentrification to communities in most of his films. With 'Magna' pitching into the negative effects of progress, it comprises Geoffrey's mindset of being attached to the society.

(Screenshots of the design process created by Geoffrey Solidum and his creative team.)

Hardwork has been paid off for Geoffrey and his team after 'Magna' was awarded as the Special Jury Prize Winner and Best Sine Kabataan Short Film Nominee during the 2019 Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino.

When asked about what words of encouragement he can inculcate to people, Geoffrey shared, "Find opportunities. Try to grab the opportunity when it is there. Importante sa society na may nakikitang may ginagawa ka."

There is no such dream that can be denied even in this time of pandemic. With strong faith and determination, Geoffrey wants to establish a name in painting and design, produce a full-length film, and direct a live action and animated film.

Everyone knows that dreams are valid, and are never denied but only deviated. A lesson that can be taken from the film 'Magna', do not let dreams be taken away by eager, cunning thieves.

If you want to collaborate with Geoffrey Solidum, please feel free to look for his recent works in the links below:

TAH LOO (Tah Loo are unique portraits that represent people flourishing in the midst of decaying urban life.)

FRESKO VISUALS (Fresko Visuals is a visualization collective that realizes spatial freshness in its most intrinsic forms to create more desirable and livable environments.)

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