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Regin De Guzman: A Student Film Director Born To Give Voice to the Voiceless

There were a lot of questions running through her mind but one thing is clear-- she knows what she wants and she already discovered her purpose.



It was a rainy afternoon when the writer penning this story gladly had the chance to meet Regin De Guzman virtually. She’s a 20-year-old Rizaleño filmmaker and currently a 2nd year Performing Arts student from Polytechnic University of the Philippines.


The memories were still vivid as we went on to start our conversation regarding her film, “Atchoy'' which she directed back in 2019 for the Sine Kabataan Film Festival. It is a monologue film that encapsulates the story of abandonment, particularly shedding light to abortion.


There are a lot of debates going on whether abortion should or should not be allowed. Though some countries already passed and approved laws allowing them to do this act, what I truly admire about Regin was her courage to take a stand against it.


At a very young age, Regin had already produced a relevant film tackling one of the pressing issues faced by many nations. But aside from conveying a truly powerful message, what surprised me even more was the emotional undertone before her film “Atchoy” came to life.



“Way back nung nasa tiyan pa ako ng nanay ko, nakukuwento lang sakin ni mama na nung nagbubuntis siya sakin, hindi niya alam na buntis na siya sakin tapos nag-iinom pa siya. Kaya nga naging Regin ‘yung name ko. Nang nalaman niya na nagbubuntis siya, hindi niya kaagad sinabi sa parents niya kasi kakapanganak niya pa lang sa kuya ko tapos buntis ulit siya.”


“Hindi ko naitanong kung sumagi ba sa isip niya na ipalaglag niya ako or magcommit ng abortion. Pero ang lagi niyang nababanggit is ang lakas ko raw kumapit. Kasi parang umiinom daw si mama, nagtatalon siya, pero hindi ako nalaglag.”


“Minsan sa buhay ko, iniisip ko na paano kaya kung nalaglag ako. Paano kaya kung pinili ng nanay ko na ipalaglag ako, feeling ko sobrang lungkot. But despite all the pain na nararanasan natin sa mundo, masaya ako na nabuhay ako at nararanasan ko ito ngayon.”

More than just coming up with a film and participating in a festival, Regin found her voice and her purpose. That the film is no longer about her, it is about awakening the senses to become responsible parents. To give their child a chance to live and see the world.


“Abortion ang pinakamasakit na abandonment sa isang bata. Ang pinakamasakit na

pwedeng pagdaanan ng isang bata ay ang hindi man lang masilayan ang mundo.”


“Paano kung yung batang ‘yun, iyon na pala ang hinihintay natin na maging Presidente na magbabago ng Pilipinas. Paano kung ‘yun pala ang bata na magbibigay ng impact at gagawa ng isang life changing na pelikula.”


True enough, Regin impeccably used her voice for the voiceless. For those kids who did not even have the chance to witness life. Her narrative and purpose is surely a standout for the realizations it can offer to anyone, but just like any other filmmaker, she also had to deal with the mixed emotions in order to finish her impactful story.


She admitted that before everything fell into place, she can still recall all the signs pointing her to deliver the narrative about abortion. While she was walking towards a bakeshop, she saw a lot of old abandoned buildings that triggered her imagination.


“Nag-iisip ako noon tapos sobrang dami kong nakikitang buildings na sira na, luma na, hindi na pinapansin ng tao. Doon ko narealize na ganyan pala ‘yung feeling kapag ini-abandon ka. Hindi ka na naaalala kasi wala ka nang silbi.”


From there on, she decided to finally give her idea a go and immediately contacted two close friends to help her with the film, namely Sophia Malasan and Sybannah Mauhay. The ‘girl power’ trio started scouting for possible locations and little did they know, their journey would become even more interesting.



“Nag-iisip kami kung saan kami sasakay papunta sa isang abandoned temple which was suggested to us. Actually sa Atchoy, wala kasing budget talaga to do the film, kung meron man, pamasahe lang. Nag-search kami kung ano itsura nung templo and nung makita namin, sobrang creepy. Pero nagustuhan ko siya, ang nakakatakot lang is tatlo nga kaming babae. Tapos doon sa place na yun, as in wala talagang mga tao. Ang backstory pa ng templo is sinasabi na dati ‘yung kuta ng mga hapon na inabandon na.”


“Kaya nadagdagan ang production team namin. Naging lima na kami kasi kelangan namin ng lalaki. Kumuha kami ng mga members na lalaki at saka kami pumunta sa templo. Yun naman ang fun part, kasi kahit yung lalaki naming kasama natatakot.”


Ang unang-una mo kasing makikita dun sa templo ay may nakasulat na charcoal “Dada” . Sabi ko, i-gain muna natin yung courage para matuloy to. Sobrang open nung place, tapos nage-echo and mabaho din. Yung second floor ang weird may grasa pa, na basa pa. E sobrang init doon, napaka-imposible naman na magkaroon ng liquid doon.”


Despite all the chills their location taunted them, Regin and her production team managed to pull-off a one day shoot. They decided to take a rest the next day and the work continued the day after for the post production process.


“Nung editing namin, nagkatakutan din kami. Yung voice dun kasi is voice ko so habang nagvo-voice over ay umiiyak talaga ako. Sobrang nag-goosebumps ako. Kaya ako umiiyak kasi parang may isang bata na nagpapasalamat sa amin.”


With all the ups and downs as well as the rollercoaster of emotions they have experienced, Regin was determined to deliver. She confessed that because they knew exactly why they were doing it, they could easily get back on their feet and continue working because they share a common goal-- to tell a story and make an impact.


“Nakakatakot man ang isang bagay, there’s a story na kailangan nating makuha at maikuwento. Hindi man natin alam kung sino ang main character. Hindi man natin alam ang pangalan niya. Hindi natin siya kailanman makikita kasi in the first place, hindi siya nabigyan ng right para maipakilala kung sino siya. Pero ang mahalaga, maipabatid natin ang ating mensahe.”


When asked about where she draws strength to continue in filmmaking, she junctured: “Kung hindi ako, sino ang magsasabi, sino ang magkukwento. There’s something I want to do for the Philippines and to the world.”


Even if there is a pandemic, Regin remains resilient. In fact, she is currently working with different creatives in the industry on a new project called, “Destinasyon”, a film series project that will come out soon in different platforms. She is also more than excited to take on the new challenges and direct more films in the years to come.


“I finally came to find my voice-- for the youth and women. I’m ready to tell more stories.








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