The 1st PSNFIFF, Part 1

THIS IS letter I wrote to the participating filmmakers of the 1stPeter Solis Nery Foundation International Film Festival (The PSNFIFF) after the winner had been chosen.

I told you before, I do not waste what comes out of my pen, mouth, ass, or computer.

So, I’m sharing this.

Because I also think it’s beautiful.

And dreamy!


Dear Filmmakers,

We are moving forward.

But my pace has changed.

We are a little behind schedule.

I’m not running away from my 10K commitment.

The jury has already chosen the ultimate winner.


And my heart bleeds because there’s only one prize to give.

But in my heart, I’ve seen so many triumphs.

And I hope you believe me when I say that finishing your film, and submitting it in our competition, our first PSNFIFF, is already a trophy.

You are a winner.

And you can brag about it.


Those bragging rights are well deserved.

Because many so-called filmmakers are talented, but only 19 were chosen.

Only 19 films were especially chosen for the 1stPSNFIFF.

Okay, there were actually 20 submissions, but I’m strict with rules and guidelines, so I had to disqualify one.


Twenty films would have made the inaugural PSNFIFF look better.

But I want the Peter’s Prize for Film beyond reproach.

I don’t want the competition questioned.

I don’t want to be accused of favoritism.

Which brings me to another point: the one winner.


It was not a unanimous choice.

(If all films are beautiful, how can the jury make a unanimous decision?)

Personally, I have a different favorite.

But I will not argue against the winner.

I will not question my jury who brought their integrity and unique insights.

I stand by the jury’s decision.

The winner is the winner for specific reasons.

And it is a pretty deserving film, too.


Actually, I told the jury, any of the 19 films can be a winner.

As far as I am concerned, all qualified films, all officially selected films, are winners in their own genre.

The submissions were varied.

There was horror.

There was Charlie Chaplin-like.

There was a fashion MTV.

There was a documentary.


There was environmental advocacy.

There was psycho-thriller.

There was dance.

There was social realist.

There was political commentary.

There was anti-drug campaign.

There was experimental.

There was absurdist.

There was info-commercial.

There was alternative video.


And all 19 entries were amazing.

We got everything for all sorts of audiences.

It’s just a matter of taste and preference.

Not a few of the jurors said they were amazed by the variety and quality of the selections.

That made me happy.


And because all the films were equally good, the top three of each juror were so different.

I was not privy to the actual deliberations.

I was still in the US when the jurors convened on September 6 at the FDCP Cinematheque in Iloilo.

Daniella Caro of the Cinematheque Iloilo facilitated the screenings and proceedings.

She said things went pretty well.

The jury didn’t kill each other.


The jury was composed of award-winners and veritable artists.

Jury chairperson Tara Illenberger is an award-winning filmmaker.

She has directed and written films, but her best works are seen in her editing.

So that takes care of the competent technical evaluation of the films.

I trust Tara so much I can just rely on her own personal choice.

But I respect the jury system.

I value other views, even when they don’t go with mine.


Jury member Jesus Insilada is an award-winning educator, and writer.

He is also a film festival director.

Juror Melecio Turao is an award-winning writer.

Juror Kristoffer George Brasileño is an award-winning visual artist.

Juror Reymundo Salao is an award-winning filmmaker.

He is also a film reviewer.


Insilada, Turao, Brasileño are also avid film consumers so they know what works, and what doesn’t.

Plus, they are all Peter’s Prize awardees.

That entitles them to crown the next Peter’s Prize winner, albeit for Film.

Again, I may not agree with the final choice, but I understand how it can happen.

I already judged the films when I qualified them, and made them eligible to win the prize. 

I ask that we abide by the jury’s decision.

Let us respect the jury’s judgment.


But know in your heart that it could have been you.

The jurors had a hard time.

In the end, when their choices were increased to top five, the eventual winner got the most votes.

And isn’t that what I said about the democracy of the competitive Peter’s Prize — whether in literature, visual arts, or film?  

If the art is really good, it will stand out the most in most people’s list./PN


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