26 February 2008 | 8:57 AM
“Ambulancia,” a short film which tells of a painful twist in an ambulance driver’s belief that a dying patient can be saved by running over stray animals on the streets, won best short narrative in the first Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health held at the Philamlife Center for the Arts, United Nations Avenue, Manila last February 21, Thursday night.
Director/writer/producer Richard Legaspi and production manager Seymour Barros Sanchez were on hand to receive the trophy designed by National Artist Napoleon Abueva and a plaque of recognition from Mu Sigma Phi, the first medical fraternity in the Philippines and in Asia.
“Santigwar,” an entry of director Gerald Ian Mendez, producer Charlene Obumani, and writer Johner Cañeba of the University of Saint Anthony from Iriga, Camarines Sur, won the grand prize, the Honorato Quisumbing and Johnny Escandor award for best film. “Kasangkapan,” directed by Carmelo Soberano of the Marinduque State College, and “Rx: Agap,” helmed by King Mark Baco of the University of the Philippines Film Institute, were adjudged best documentary and best experimental film, respectively. Aside from a similar trophy and plaque, the “Santigwar” team will also receive P100,000 in cash while the directors and producers of “Ambulancia,” “Rx: Agap,” and “Kasangkapan” will each get P50,000. The winners and other film festival finalists were screened from February 18 to 20 at the Cine Adarna in UP Diliman.
“Ambulancia,” which stars Alan Paule and Nor Domingo, was previously exhibited in the Young Cinema Night of the 2007 Cinemanila International Film Festival and the Asian Film Academy (AFA) Fellows’ Night in Busan, South Korea. Legaspi also had the able support of director of photography Albert Banzon, assistant director Jules Katanyag, AD/producer/editor Anna Isabelle Matutina, co-producer Eloisa Espino-Sanchez, production manager/musical scorer Pam Miras, and production designers Grace Orbon, Sonja Completo, and Benay Reyes.
Legaspi, a faculty of the University of the East – Caloocan College of Fine Arts (UE CFA), was selected last year along with “Ligaw Liham” director of photography Carlo Mendoza as the only Filipinos among the 24 successful candidates from all over Asia who were offered fellowships by the AFA, an educational program that trains aspiring Asian filmmakers and cinema enthusiasts through workshops, one-on-one mentoring and a short film production project, to raise the bar on film production to further the future of Asian cinema. It was held in collaboration with Pusan International Film Festival, Dongseo University, and Korean Film Academy.
Legaspi, UE CFA alumnus and recipient of the UE Award for Exemplary Performance in Visual Arts, teaches Advertising and Painting. He is also a director, assistant director, and production designer for Red Room Productions, Pixel Art Media Production Co., and Digital Cheese. He underwent workshops under award-winning scriptwriter Ricky Lee and directed films such as “Kahon” (official entry to the 2006 Viewpoints of the World Festival, finalist in the End Frame Video Art Project, in competition at the 2006 One Minute International Short Film Festival (OMISFF), Netherlands, and finalist in the Smart Cuts of 2005 .MOV International Short Film Festival), “Pintuan” (in competition at the 2006 OMISFF), and “Makatang Luneta,” (third place at the 2006 Cinemadali Film Festival).