It pays to dare and dream big.
PR Patindol, 30 years young, had been working in the camera department of different productions, as a cinematographer and camera operator, when he decided to pick up an old screenplay last year.
He volunteered that he suddenly felt the “urge” to finish a screenplay he had started writing as a student at the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film Institute six years ago.
“I revisited the characters in 2012, came up with three drafts and decided that wasn’t the story yet,” he recalled. “Finally, last year, I finished the shooting script.”
The result of his protracted struggle is the short film, “Hilom (Still).”
“What I produced, with the help of friends and colleagues, was a deeply personal film,” he explained.
Little did he know that such an “intimate” film would resonate with a wider audience—bagging the Youth Jury Prize at the Silver Screen Awards, held in conjunction with the Singapore International Film Festival last Dec. 3.
“I was literally stunned when we won,” he recounted. “Just to screen at the Singapore fest was already too much excitement for me. To receive this award is more than what we expected … it’s such a tremendous honor.”
The debuting director admitted that he couldn’t have finished the film without a little help from his peers. “I was fortunate that I got to work with dear friends who always had my back.”
He dedicates the honor to the entire “Hilom” team. “It’s for my crew, not just those who worked on the film, but also my family and friends.” He also shares the recognition with the cast members, whom he called “a welcome addition to my growing family.”
“They poured their hearts into the film,” he said.
“Hilom” follows the journey of twin brothers, as they search for their identities and grapple with the meaning of sexuality.
Critic Eliza Poh pointed out: “The film provides an interesting perspective on an issue that has been often avoided, especially within the Southeast Asian context, where the notion of homosexuality is widely frowned upon … Patindol [however] offers a new way of understanding homosexual love.”
He related that jury members approached him after the awards ceremony, to “express their appreciation.”
“I am overjoyed that my film has made a mark on these young people,” he quipped. “Their encouraging words push me to bring out [more] personal stories to the screen because now I know that honesty is rewarded, too.”
One of the jurors told Patindol that he couldn’t wait to see the Filipino’s films in the future.
“Perhaps that is the challenge to myself as a storyteller: to bring my brand of courage and honesty into these ultimately human stories, in the hope that they reach someone, somewhere, and affect him or her in a way that only stories can,” Patindol remarked.