Rodson Suarez: A Passionate Young Filmmaker from Sta. Rosa, Laguna

Gone are the days when all we have to think is how we can escape the afternoon nap imposed by our parents. When we all just worry how we can finish eating a plate of vegetables and accomplish our homework in school.

Now that we are older, events are rolling so fast and our everyday battles are incomparable. Most of us would just want to go back to the kids that were before. Stress-free, fun and exciting!

Thanks to 22 year old Rodson Verr Suarez, this wish of mine happened in an instant. Upon hearing his story of how he came up with his short film, “Kalakalaro,” I just can’t help but reminisce about the wonderful memories of my childhood.

Rodson, an AB Communication graduate from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas directed “Kalakalaro,” which encapsulates the story of a child’s innocence, pure joy and aura of hope. His film circles around the story of a young kid named Benok and his hope to enjoy his childhood even in just a short period of time. Growing up in a broken home, wherein her mother used to gamble instead of providing for their family, Benok had to collect scraps to earn a living and support his family for their everyday needs.

“We really just wanted a film with a kid that was easy to watch and is close to home as we like, with the undertones of child labor, broken families, and the nature of a kid at heart,” Rodson shared.

This young filmmaker from Sta. Rosa Laguna shared with The Film Dream that they were aiming for light drama, while sticking with the story about kids since they are really comfortable working with them. In fact, he is a member of the Youth For Christ where he serves for kids’ ministry. This experience made it easier for him to connect with his young talents. In addition, the insights coming from two of the production team members who are born again Christian and another member who is a parent helped them in developing the story execution.

Originally, “Kalakalaro” was their final output in their media production class and they were given 3 months by their Professor to lay out their plans. From the initial story they have brainstormed, which was a little bit morbid, they opted to go for a more relatable short film.

“I am really thankful to our writer and our mentor for helping us redirect the story while sticking to our vision on the story of kids. "Ang sarap maging bata ulit," "sana bata na lang ako ulit" clouded our minds when we started the production. We tried to think outside those ideas and concluded that there are kids that do not have the same freedom as other kids. Privilege is real and we wanted to show the realities we are facing even up to this day.”

But like any other filmmaking journey, Rodson and his team also faced a lot of challenges along the way.

“It’s quite a struggle to find the perfect spot especially for this film that we had to play around a site that wasn’t really kid-friendly at all. We were all looking for a junk shop initially, then we went to a trucking compound, then we ended up in Cavite City in one of their old car lots.”

They even had to move their shooting days because during that time, it was already the rainy season. He recalled that they have waited and constantly checked the weather forecast just to ensure that everything will go smoothly. Little did they know, on the second day of their rescheduled shoot, the weather wasn’t still in their favor.