The Making of ‘Paano Maging Babae’: An Award-Winning Student Film by Gian Arre


Metro Manila Film Festival 2020 Best Student Short Film, Best Screenplay at Sine Siklab 2020, Finalist at Gawad Alternatibo 2020, Finalist at Cinemapua 2020 and featured at the Hongkong Filmart 2021.


At 25, Gian Andre Rembrandt Arre, who graduated at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde School of Design and Arts has already carved his name in the mentioned film festivals. His film, “Paano Maging Babae," a short film that speaks against injustice brought by misogyny truly made a difference.

“I've been told before that I had no business telling women-centric stories because I'm a man and I fully acknowledge the criticism. Try as I might, I'm aware there will always be nuances to the female struggle that only women filmmakers can tell. However, I am compelled to insist that just because a certain type of struggle eludes us does not mean we shouldn't try to understand and empathize on a shared language, Gian told The Film Dream.


“Paano Maging Babae,” was written and directed by Gian himself and not to mention it was a one-man production team. It follows a woman who arrives late to take a mandatory nationwide exam and discovers that the whole test is unironically misogynistic. With no morally correct answers, she decides to demonstrate how she feels about the test and the socially accepted injustice that it represents.



Gian also emphasized that his film conveys the message that while older generations had to go through more suffocating social cultures, the women in our youth today have begun to turn the tide against those enduring forms of oppression.


When asked about the inspiration of his film and how he came up with the theme, Gian shared a short anecdote with The Film Dream.


“Originally, I wrote and shot 'Paano Maging Babae' as a finals project for a Philosophy class. I had written the idea for the film several months prior but I didn't have the opportunity to shoot it until that class came. At that time, it was meant to be part of a series of shorts about oppression with women at the center of each story,” Gian added.


He was also inspired by Lynne Ramsay's "Small Deaths," a film that chronicles 3 incidents in a girl's life that ultimately shaped her perspective towards adulthood.


But just like any other filmmaker’s journey, he had his own fair share of ups and downs. In fact, he shared the challenges he had to face since he is the producer, director, shooter, and video editor in one.



“It was genuinely a case of several intentions aligning within a very small time frame. I had a window of 1 hour to shoot the film because my classmate who plays the lead role, Jaja Dapat Sy, only had that brief vacant period in between her classes to accommodate the shoot,” Gian recalled.


“However, I remain immensely proud of the work put in by the cast. Despite only having 1-2 hours to shoot each segment, they gave really great performances. I believe the concept would not have worked if it weren't for what they pulled off,” he added.


Indeed, Gian Arre’s determination and hard work really paid off. But what is more interesting was how he came to realize that being a storyteller is his calling.


“I don't have any siblings and I was very introverted as a kid. I've been told that as early as 4 years old, I would spend hours pacing around our porch (or any open space) doing voices and acting out imagined movies. My uncle, Arnold Arre (he's a graphic novelist and a self-taught animator), was a huge influence,” Gian mentioned.


Gian narrated that together with his uncle, they would watch VCDs and DVDs of old and new movies until he became a teenager. His uncle Arnold also gave him his first DSLR and had been using it since his first major subject in college. Through that camera, he was able to shoot more than 50 no budget short films in 3 years; over a dozen of which had competed and won in various festivals.


“If you strip all of that away, I know that I would still be doing it. Loving movies and loving filmmaking is actually two different things and I'm glad that I get to enjoy both. There are moviegoing experiences that I cherish as fond memories and there are filmmaking experiences I've shared with friends and colleagues that are just as invaluable,” Gian said.


Hands- down, Gian Arre is truly a young filmmaker with an impeccable vision. His hope for change which transpired through “Paano Maging Babae'' signifies that film plays a significant role to address issues concerning the society. And that one-person production crew is a testament that nothing beats hard work and talent combined.


The Film Dream also got the chance to ask Gian some words of wisdom for his fellow filmmakers who are aspiring to tell their own stories.


“You will never run out of good ideas but you will run out of opportunities to shoot them. So, my biggest advice is to simply tuck your chin and trudge into the thick of it. Most young filmmakers have this pristine idea of what kind of filmmaker they want to be, and because of that, they're always wary with executing their dream projects. They want everything to be perfect with the belief that one good film can catapult them into the best of the industry. But even the really talented filmmakers had to weed through a brutal and unforgiving production landscape. So simply start doing and stray away from the idea that everything you make has to be perfect with all the facets you deem essential to the film,” Gian said.


More importantly, he shared that people should treat their limitations as creative opportunities.


“You don't have to make a grandiose epic to tell a good story. You only need to know the heart of your project and why this particular story needs to be told. Once you do that, all the frills and excess dressing will be shaken off and everything crucial will come into better focus,” Gian exclaimed.






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