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Living the Dream: Jezz Salvar, A Davaoeño Engineering Graduate Born To Be a Filmmaker

Even if filmmaking is quite far from the degree he took at University of Southeastern Philippines, BS in Mining Engineering graduate Jeziah Rabbi Salvar proved that anything is attainable as long as you pour your heart into something that you are most passionate about.

Jeziah, fondly called by his friends, “Jezz,” grew up in a family of artists. His father and brothers are all painters. Of course, he wanted to be like them but he felt like the empty canvas and dirty palette had never been his friends.

“I tried to look for another way to express myself. Then, I found the art of filmmaking. It gave life to my ideas. When I was in love, I tried to write stories. When I realized that I was wrong, I tried to translate all of my realizations in life into a film. But most of the stories that I make, they originated because of my self-realizations in life,” Jezz said.

Looking back, Jezz shared that when he was around 9 or 10 years old, together with his uncles and cousins, they watched different genres of movies the whole day. In fact, because of that, he has discovered why filmmaking has a special place in his heart.

“Since we watch a lot, I always found myself asking how the movie was made instead of just watching the movie itself. I always wondered, who were the people behind the camera? How were they feeling during the process of filmmaking,” Jezz recalled.

It was during his second year in High school when he finally understood his deeper connection with films. Being the goal-getter guy that he is, he produced a short film for a class project. A year after that, he joined a student film festival in Davao and was recognized as Best Director and his film as Best Short Film.

“I was very happy that time but what excited me the most was when they got the message that I intended to give. I will never forget that exact satisfying feeling that I felt. It’s just surprising that they were inspired by my film. Since then, I’ve been wanting to become a film director that’s able to make life-changing films.”

His love and passion in filmmaking is truly undeniable. But what will amaze you even more is his film that he produced together with his fellow engineering students--- “Bugo’s Diary.”

It is a film he wrote back when he was just 15 years old and finally after five long years, his story materialized through a short film. It is a story about two brothers, Hugo, the eldest one with special needs, and Nikola. Nikola tried his best to attend his classes and work several part-time jobs for the two of them but every time he goes home, he always finds Hugo accidentally breaking some plates, burning his clothes, and messing up the food. Everytime things like these happen, Nikola controls his temper and tries to understand him all the reason why he wanted to escape his reality and find his own happiness.

According to Jezz, he really wanted to convey to the audience the essence of love and understanding through his film. Moreover, he was also inspired by his relationship with his younger brother because they always fought and misunderstood each other during their childhood days.

“As time passed by, I felt like there’s an awkwardness between us. We were living in the same house but we were like strangers. As his kuya, I felt guilty because I never asked him if he’s doing fine nor asked him about his life. In short, I felt like I was never there for him. Thus, since I want to express my realization about my lapses as a brother, I decided to write this story,” Jezz said.

While he was writing the story of this short film, he met a lot of people from all walks of life including the families of people who have special needs and disabilities.

“I asked myself, ‘how about them? I mean, they can’t somehow voice out themselves since they think differently. So, I thought that it would be best for me to add it up to the story that I was making. But it was very clear to me from the beginning that it is a story of love through understanding each other. That's when Bugo’s Diary came to life,” Jezz emphasized.

Jezz Salvar’s love for filmmaking was well-received in their university and even received commendations and praises. As a matter of fact, “Bugo’s Diary” garnered various recognitions at the Agila Film Festival including the Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor awards respectively.

But life isn’t always a bed of roses. He admitted that their production team had to face a lot of challenges to make everything happen.

“Since we were all studying, we had encountered problems on the schedule of the shoot. The whole production team were all engineering students but different courses so we were really forced to squeeze in everything and produce the entire film for only 3 to 4 days,” Jezz said.

He also added that at first, equipment and budget were also a challenge but luckily, they were able to borrow a Sony A6000 camera and a good friend allowed them to borrow a laptop which they can use for post-production. Even the lights that they used were all Do-It-Yourself (DIY). They just bought a bulb and socket then made a soft box out of used illustration boards.

“Despite all these challenges, I firmly believe that the most important foundation in your films will always be your story. Never forget why you are making a film and why this story needs to exist. And never get intimidated or be discouraged if you don’t have high-end equipment to produce a film. As long as you have a story to tell and a phone or camera to record a video, then start making your film and learn from it,” Jezz Salvar junctured.

Now 23, this young Davaoeno filmmaker is currently a student of Nas Academy, an academy created by Nuseir Yassin or also known as Nas Daily. It is a school for aspiring content creators. He also ventured into creating contents for YouTube and he is more than determined to unfold more stories to the rest of the world. He is looking forward to creating more films that tackles love, sci-fi, coming of age, and justice.

If you’re now wondering why an engineering graduate is so invested in storytelling, moreso in filmmaking, Jezz confessed:

“I’m pursuing my passion in filmmaking because I really can’t see myself in the engineering industry. Now, I’m also a freelance videographer and editor. Also, since I never went to film school and only know a little about the industry, I’m working hard to know everything I need in order for me to produce my first ever feature film,” Jezz shared.

Perhaps, filmmaking has always been the dream.

If you want to check out his recent works, you may subscribe to his YouTube channel:

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