Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Seems like the golden proverb, “two heads are better than one” is not just an old chestnut. It's actually a living reality for the acclaimed filmmakers Glenn Barit and Che Tagyamon, co-directors and the creative minds behind “Maski Papano”, one of the finalists for Shorts Category of Cinemalaya 2021: Navigating Currents.
Along with the twelve (12) other films by independent filmmakers, “Maski Papano” revolves around a disposed mask that became a humanoid figure who tried to find its owner. With its innovative way of storytelling, Glen and Che find each other’s compatibility, preferences and past experiences as a fortress to pull-off a material in the midst of challenging times.
“Siguro magwo-work siya [solo-directing] for certain projects. Parang ito, madali siya ico-direct kasi simple lang naman siya. Pero, ito [this production], maraming room. Kapag may ‘di na ako ma-solusyonan, kunyare sa dialogues, si Glenn tumutulong na siya. Parang nagco-compliment.” Che said when asked on how it is to work in collaboration.
Glenn then added that working with Che is not really hard. These two have been org and prod mates, which both helped to establish their friendship and their chemistry at work. “‘Di naman mahirap. Kasi nag-play kayo [as] strengths [ng] isa’t isa. Si Che, isa siyang animator. Sa ganong scene, magiis-step back na ‘ko. Siya 'yung mas may alam sa scenes na ganon.”
Just like any production, producing films during a pandemic has a lot of prerequisites but settling on a ‘mask’ as main character made things convenient for the duo. “Dahil may COVID, you have to make sure na mas safe. Mas mabilis kung magii-stay sa lugar like outdoors. Pumasok yung limitations na mag-puppet na lang”, Che added. Not only with the production ensuring its role to meet the mandated protocols, another challenge they have also encountered, is the fact that they have to use smartphones. “Kung sanay ka mag-shoot, parang ang dami mong pwedeng i-click sana for focus and aperture. So nag-install pa kami ng specific app para sa phone.” Glenn disclosed.
Despite the status quo, the Barit-Tagyamon tandem just really know how to make things work. The pandemic might have taken our norms such as face-to-face interactions but not the duo’s expertise in a work-from-home set up. As Che told us, “Sanay kami sa work-from-home, lalo na kapag nag-eedit!”
BTS Photos during the Film Production of "Maski Papano"
“We work with what we have. Most of the shoot ay, bahay-bahay lang. Since malapit sa UP, nag-shoot din kami doon. Most scenes rin ay nasa daan lang at malapit sa bahay. May scenes kami from Roxas Blvd. Shinoot rin namin ang Dolomite. May friend din kaming may sasakyan so siya na lang yung hinatak namin. So, parang tatlo lang kami in total sa group.”
What’s really fascinating with the duo is the approach they’ve put on for Maski Papano. As Che highlighted, “Comedy siya. Gusto naming gumawa ng something light, without endangering the lives of the actors. Kaya, mask na lang yung bida namin.” Knowing how uncertain the times are, who wouldn’t want a film that will revive our mental sanity packaged in a relatable message of “everyone has a place”. (Watch their film to know why!)
The variety of genres in the upcoming Cinemalaya has given opportunity to filmmakers with different styles and one of them is Glenn and Che. But, what really inspired the two to take this creative route?
“Accident lang kasi. Parang broadcast communication yung shift term ko dapat. Kaso hindi ako nakapasa sa UP, so nag-film muna ako. ‘Tas na-enjoy ko na siya”, Che shared.
For Glenn, the film’s sound designer, it's the same tune. “‘Di siya childhood dream.. Nung college rin, iba pa yung course ko. Parang, nag-make sense na lang nung pag-graduate ‘ko ng college. Nung High School, medyo nag-eedit na ‘ko from movie maker. Parang na-carry over na lang. Gumagawa ng videos for orgs. Unti-unting na-incline to filmmaking.”
Being in the filmmaking industry was not their original plan. It was not also what they’ve dreamt as a child yet the circumstances that have brought them in the field, was all because they believed that film is an art itself.
As they officially immerse themselves in the realms of film industry, their influences have also inspired them to be the storytellers that they are today.
Glenn, also their short’s Director of Photography, is mesmerized by Asian filmmakers such as Lee Chang-Dong and by the film Yiyi by Edward Yang. He said that the sensibility is vivid with Asian films and as a Filipino he can relate with it.
Che’s preferences were mostly animated works such as the well-loved and critically-acclaimed Ghibli movies, Japanese animator Satoshi Kon and director Hirokazu Kore-eda.
Indeed, even the duo’s choice revealed why they were able to work as one. What a match made apt to create films!
Just like how they were inspired by their influences to become filmmakers, they also have earnest causes behind their works.
“Film as an art--- you don’t know if it has an influence on different people. Optimistically, gan’on yung gusto ko. Ang magka silbi on the way people think. Like towards nation building. Sana maka-affect at hindi mag-rot in, in a vacuum or will work in our drive lang” Glenn desires.
And for Che, the hope her heart has is to let her film become an initiator of new perspectives about the world as people get to watch her passionate-filled works.
Many have tried to set foot in the film industry and we couldn’t deny that it was never a piece of cake. And it doesn’t mean that you have the best-of-the-best equipment, you’re all laid in. This is why the duo shared how important it is to keep on pursuing what you want by enhancing your skills through practice and continuously creating films.
“Manood at find friends to share your passion... mahalaga ang community. More than the classroom, mas doon kami natuto--- sa actual na paggawa.” Che Tagyamon raised.
“Try lang gumawa ng mga short films. Ang hirap gumawa ng pelikula talagang matrabaho. Minsan disappointing na parang hindi mo alam kung saan ka mapupunta. The industry itself, is unforgiving. Gawa ng gawa. Sunod, gawa uli, at gawa pa. Hanggang mahanap mo ung voice and style mo.” Glenn Barit added.
Throughout, the two were never afraid to share their vulnerabilities as filmmakers. Their honesty and selective characteristics as storytellers have molded them to be assertive of their techniques, specialty and ethics. Even their personality differences have worked in harmony and gave birth to a ‘’mask’’terpiece that all started as crazy ideas.
More than their accolades, the duo is sure that they have more stories to tell. May it be an individual work or through possible collaborations. Indeed, one thing’s always certain, that all of the stories that will be told by these filmmakers, is something that we will look forward to--- just like their entry, "Maski Papano" in this year's Cinemalaya which will be screening from August 6 to September 5, 2021 at ktx.ph.
Watch Glenn Barit and Che Tagyamon's The Daily Daily video HERE.
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