Shiri De Leon: A Rising Storyteller of Filipino Narratives

Updated: Aug 19, 2021


The overwhelming attention from numerous press interviews after being proclaimed as one of the finalists for Cinemalaya Shorts 2021 could be tiring, yet for Shiri De Leon, a Bachelor of Arts Major in Film student at Meridian International College in Pasig City, everything's just falling into place.


Being able to produce a film during the pandemic, the young and passionate director of “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi” couldn't keep the mixed emotions she and her crew are feeling.


“I’m just a young filmmaker and just being able to get into Cinemalaya was already like, it felt like a dream. The fact that I’m here right now... and being a part of this amazing experience, I just feel so grateful.”


When their film was selected, Shiri honestly said that it's hard to share the milestone while others are barely surviving. As a filmmaker who aspires to create materials that discuss societal issues, she can’t just dismiss others’ agony; rather these realities must be empathized and become an inspiration of the film industry in telling stories.


“I feel shy whenever I post my achievements or [when I] share my journey with Cinemalaya, when I know [that] there are people who are going through tougher times. It’s more on just making sure that I feel okay, I feel contented but at the same time, I can't dismiss what other people are feeling."


Although De Leon’s film already made it as a finalist, didn’t you know that she never thought that Filmmaking would be the career she would pursue?


REALIZATION OF AN UNFORESEEN DREAMS


The media world is no new to Shiri as her grandfather, uncles and cousins whom she grew up with were already practitioners on the field.


“When my grandfather was still alive, I would watch whenever I would visit his house. He has a room for like the production where they edit the videos and stuff. It was like an old school pa, like the tapes. I remember memories of him winding back and time marking pa what to cut!”


“At such a young age, I was always curious about the media style and being able to create videos. But I let it slide, you know okay, you’re so cool what you're doing, but then I shrugged it off until I got my first cellphone which was around 4th grade. I got a tiny Nokia phone.”


Little did her younger self know, the curiosity she always had with editing and media would work like a slingshot, which threw her to run toward the filmmaking industry.

Official Film Poster of "Ang Pagdadalaga ni Lola Mayumi" directed by Shiri De Leon

“When I was in 6th grade, I started editing videos and I never really wanted to pursue film… [especially] when I was in 11th or 12th grade because you know that was the time where I wasn't sure if my family would be fine with me pursuing a filmmaking career.”


The heightened stigma in the Philippines surrounding Arts pursuants also feared Shiri to live her dreams. Fortunately, her family’s relentless support affirms her to just be the person that she always wanted to be.