For the second time around, Davaoeno director Jarell Mahinay Serencio contributed something special to the film industry after his latest craft “Mga Bitoon sa Syudad” (Stars in the City) became an official entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival.
His first was the short film Victor which was adjudged as the Best Film in the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in 2012.
His latest short film, Mga Bitoon sa Syudad was inspired by the recent bombing in his hometown’s well-known night market, the Roxas Night Market in Davao City.
In the five-minute film, Mac-Mac (9) and Oliver (12) takes you closer to their life as Roxas boys who serenades patrons of the night market to earn for their studies, helping their father who works as a masseur. In one of their nights, Mac-mac discovered that he lost some of his money. Oliver returned to where they were in the hope of finding the penny, leaving Mac Mac for a while and assured his return. After a few minutes, a loud explosion was heard. The scene in the night market became chaotic but Mac Mac patiently waited for his brother.
“As a human being I feel so much pain for all the innocent victims of all the terrorist attacks around the world most especially to all children who died and suffered from trauma,” he said. “Countless families lost a loved one, mothers who lost a child, a child who lost a parent and brothers who lost a brother.”
Serencio just lost his father due to a prolonged illness.
“When it happened here in my beloved hometown, Davao City, I could not contain the terrible emotion I felt on that day after hearing the news about the Roxas Night Market bombing. I feel that I should do something to contribute in condemning terrorism. As a filmmaker, I was inspired to tell the story of innocent victims that focuses on the lives of kids serenading the people in Roxas Night Market,” he added.
The short film, he said, is his tribute to those people who just wanted to survive day-to-day but have now become victims of terror attacks. “I also want this film to be a tribute to their families who were left behind.”
The resilience of the Davaoenos also fueled him to produce the film.
“This act of terrorism in my city has never shaken the faith of Davaoenos to stand again and go on with their lives. We remain strong and optimistic amidst the continuing threat to the city. That alone is something I can be proud of as a Davaoeno.”
“To my fellow Davaoenos, I urge all of us to stand strong as a community, let us remain vigilant and steadfast in helping one another especially during times of tragedies. We need to move forward but we need not forget the people whose lives and life stories have been cut short prematurely,” he said in a statement.
With its recent participation in the Metro Manila Film Festival, the strength of the Davaoenos will now be trumpeted to the whole nation.
Mga Bitoon sa Siyudad is a short film written, directed and produced by Jarell Serencio — former head researcher of ABS CBN’s famous anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya.” It is shown together with ORO, a full length film directed by Alvin Yapan and starring Joem Bascon, Irma Adlawan and Mercedes Cabral. You can catch both films here in Davao City at SM Lanang Premier, NCCC Mall of Davao, and Gaisano Mall of Davao (GMall). Just look for its full-length partner, ORO.
There are officially 8 shorts and 8 full length films at this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival which are in cinemas starting December 25.