by Seymour Barros Sanchez
“There must be something wrong with the film culture when, in light of the Cannes selections this year, nobody seems to acknowledge the fact that aside from Brocka, there was the brilliant Raymond Red who not only was in competition for Palme d’Or in 2000 with the short film “Anino,” but also is the first Filipino ever to win one. Before we start claiming those other new firsts…” Thus, posted young, award-winning independent filmmaker Raya Martin at the Cinemanila egroup, perhaps in disgust with the shameful slip.
The debate regarding this all boils down to one thing: the Filipino audience is not well-informed about the plight of our short films. Like Martin, the KATORSE WRITERS GROUP, a group of young writer- filmmakers who were part of Ricky Lee’s 14th Scriptwriting Workshops, has long recognized this fact and we are trying our best to put short films in the consciousness of our fellow Filipinos.
In 2006, we independently released our 10 short films in one DVD entitled “Kuwatro na ang Katorse” in commemoration of our fourth anniversary as a group. We were able to produce and distribute our DVDs in schools, film festivals, and even outside the country. We were able to sell more than 1,000 copies of our DVD, which contains Pam Miras’ “Blood Bank,” Ogi Sugatan’s “Ang Kapalaran ni Virgin Mario,” Grace Orbon’s “Dead Letter,” Seymour Barros Sanchez’s “Lababo,” John Wong’s “Manyika,” Richard Legaspi’s “Makatang Luneta,” “Kahon,” and “Pintuan,” and Anna Isabelle Matutina’s “Panaginipan” and “Ikasiyam na Palapag.” We were able to do this through egroups, online forum, and special screenings of our filmmaker-friends. Through our own little way, we were able to earn and send our short films to international film festivals, where they continued to compete and reap awards and recognitions.
Now that we have our own weblog (https://katorseshorts.wordpress.com) and have come up with new productions like “Ambulancia” (directed by Legaspi), “Puwang” and “Walong Linggo” (directed by Matutina), “Shorts,” “Pagbugtaw,” and “Bodong” (directed by Sanchez), “Nekro” (with Wong as DOP/editor), and three (3) new short films in post-production, we think it’s just appropriate to have another public screening of our selected short films. Thus, the KATORSE WRITERS GROUP pays tribute to all short filmmakers who are struggling to have the same treatment as full-length feature directors by coming up with our very own program from June 11-17 at the Robinsons Galleria Indie Sine.