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Reconnected with Judd Bradley Avelino: A Talented Student Filmmaker from TUP Manila


Living in a fast-paced environment has its own advantages. But more often than not, we forget that we have a life to live. We forget to communicate with the people around us. We tend to be controlled by these technological advancements when in fact we should be the one controlling them.


That would probably be my biggest take-away when I had the chance to meet virtually the 21-year old Judd Bradley Avelino. He is the Director of “Reconnected,” an entry to the 4th edition of the Sine Kabataan Short Film Competition.


In a world where gadgets play a pivotal role in our lives, do we still have time to talk to our family? To play and have fun with friends physically? While the situation is tough because of the on-going pandemic, it is imperative to reconnect with them and ask how they are coping. We all need each other in these trying times.


Thanks to Judd Avelino’s animated film, “Reconnected”, we can finally reminisce about the good times and realize what we have been missing all along.


THE PURPOSE


“Reconnected” is a film based on Avelino’s real life experience. This is his first directorial job but was more than happy to work with his co-writer, Mary Franz Salazar and the rest of Room 113 Productions.


Sharing a common passion on storytelling and being a Fine Arts student at Technological University of the Philippines, Avelino and his team leaned on collaboration and trust to make their film dream happen.


“Based talaga siya sa experience ko. Umuwi ako galing school tapos pagdating ko sa bahay ayun, cellphone, tutok sa computer. Suddenly, nagka-brownout dito sa lugar namin. Malaking brownout. Then nag ikot-ikot ako. Ang mga tao nasa labas nagkukwentuhan, walang mga hawak na cellphone kasi kadalasan lowbatt. And then ayun, pag-uwi ko bumalik ang kuryente nagkanya-kanyang buhay na ulit ang mga tao.”


“Naisip ko, bakit di ko gawan ng kwento. Ang ganda kasi ng concept na ang nostalgic nung pakiramdam na bata pa lang ako, yung mga bata naglalaro sa kalsada. ‘Yung mga tao naguusap-usap. Parang araw-araw kasi ngayon nakatutok sa cellphone. Pinitch ko siya sa producer and co-writer ko na gawin namin.”


Avelino also shared that originally, their film should have been a live action movie but opted to go with an animated film because of the circumstances and the risks of shooting in a time of pandemic.


“Isa din siya sa mga gusto namin itaguyod sa Pilipinas ang animation films. That time wala pa yung Trese. Hindi pa siya ganoon kapatok. Napagdesisyunan namin na gawin siyang animated. "Yung mga kaklase ko sa TUP, sila ang kinuha kong animators para mag-work sa aming film."


OVERCOMING CHALLENGES


Fact: It takes a village to produce a film. But Judd Avelino has been very lucky to be supported by fellow Fine Arts students from TUP to share their talent. It wasn’t a walk in the park to finish their film but he is more than happy to be able to convey their message.


“Ang pinakamahirap kasi ‘yung magre-record ng audio kasi magkakahiwalay kami. Ginagawa namin yung equipment ipapasa sa isang actor then to another. Tapos may isa pa kaming talent na bata so hindi namin basta basta pwedeng palabasin.”


“There was a time pa na nagkaroon pa ng problema sa equipment kaya ang hirap ayusin kasi magkakalayo kami.”


BTS Photos courtesy Room 113 Productions


“Tapos sa financial ang problema namin, ‘di kami makahanap ng animator talaga mismo. Pero thankful ako kasi yung mga kaklase ko, na naging kasama na din namin sa production is ginawa nila ang animation dahil sa passion at hindi dahil sa pera.”


According to Judd, they started creating their film in April 2021 and finished in August. Almost five months of hardwork and dedication.


“Hindi masyadong nasunod ang original na plan para sa pelikula. We had to cut some scenes para magkasya sa 5 minutes pero happy pa din sa results kasi nabigay namin ang message na gusto naming sabihin.”



WHERE IT ALL STARTED


Judd Avelino is a big fan of Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit’s director, Taika Waititi, so it is no surprise he’s been so creative when it comes to an animated genre. When asked if it has always been a dream to be a director, Avelino shared his story.


“Nung bata ako, hindi talaga sumagi sa isip ko na mag-filmmaking. Bata pa lang ako marunong na ako magdrawing. Pagdating ko ng senior high school, kumuha ako ng computer ng animation and doon may subject kami na media and pinaggawa kami ng mga short film kada group kada isang section. Then ayun parang narealize ko na gusto ko ng ganito. Gusto ko itong tahakin.”


“Pero ayun nga, nag-Fine arts ako and walang time sa paggawa ng film, wala ding practice. And then yung co-writer ko si Franz and she’s a director na rin, sumasama ako sa projects. Minsan actor, minsan extra and she encouraged me na sumali sa Sine Kabataan.”

Judd Bradley Avelino, the Director of "Reconnected" An Entry to Sine Kabataan 4 Short Film Competition

WHAT’S NEXT


After his directorial debut, Avelino shares with The Film Dream that they are looking forward to participating at Cinemalaya 2022 or 2023 with their film “Reconnected.” In fact, they are already squeezing their creative juices to expand their 5-minute film and create a full-length film to be able to participate in different film festivals.


“Plano namin sumali pa sa ibang film festival. Franz and I, nakabuo kami ng production team, Room 113 Productions. Halos lahat ay Fine Arts student and balak namin sumali sa ibat ibang film festival. In-eencourage din namin yung iba naming members na magsulat and magdirek ng sarili nilang film. Currently nag-iisip kami ng mga ideas for films.

Virtual meeting of Room 113 Productions

He also added that after getting his degree in Fine Arts, he is excited to continue in filmmaking and create more stories.


“After I graduate, gusto ko ituloy itong filmmaking as my career path.May mga nagsasabi na wala daw pera sa filmmaking pero ganun din ang tingin sa Fine Arts, wala daw pera dyan sa arts.”


“Pero naniniwala ako na ang mga taong hindi kumikita o hindi nagta-thrive ay yung mga taong sumusuko agad. Magpupursue pa rin ako ng filmmaking. Isa ito sa way ng pagcommunicate sa mga tao kahit walang pera basta mailabas mo ang gusto mong sabihin.”


THE GREATEST LESSON


At a young age, Judd Avelino has already proven that he has a creative flair when it comes to telling stories. It is undebatable how he gracefully transformed his vision into reality. The Film Dream asks this young student filmmaker what he learned throughout his journey and this is what he has to say:


“Ang pinakanatutunan ko nung ginagawa namin ang pelikulang Reconnected ay mahirap talaga gumawa ng pelikula na magkakahiwalay. Pinapaniwala ko ang aking sarili na kaya kong gawin lahat. Nung nasa bandang kalagitnaan na kami, sabi ko, bakit di ko na lang itodo na pagkatiwalaan ‘yung groupmates ko.”


“Kailangan mong pagkatiwalaan ‘yung mga kasama mo. Dapat ibigay mo sa kanila ‘yung trabaho na dapat para sa kanila, kundi, hindi magiging maganda ang kakalabasan nung film.”


In addition, Judd also reiterated what he has learned through his very own film.


“Makakarelate ang lahat ng tao lalo na sa makabagong panahon na nakakalimutan natin makipag-communicate sa family natin kasi lagi tayong nakakatutok sa phone. Hindi natin namamalayan na ‘yung mga device na dapat kinocontrol natin, nakocontrol na tayo. Hindi lang sakin eh, hindi lang sa main character kundi sa karamihan ng tao na na-take over na yung lives nila dahil sa technology at gadgets.”

BTS snaps from the animated film, "Reconnected"



On the other hand, when asked to give advice to fellow student filmmakers, Judd generously shared, “enjoy your life and enjoy your journey. Marami pang pwede maexplore sa buhay at sa filmmaking. Madami pang lente na pwedeng tingnan marami pang way para tingnan ang sitwasyon.”


At present, Judd Avelino together with Mary Franz Salazar are working on a project with Tuldok Animation Studios, a comic book and a motion comic book.


He is excited to continue weaving stories in the years to come, and who knows, he might be the next big name in the industry.


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