First Filipino entry in “Woodstock of short films”

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“Ambulancia, ” a short film written, directed, and produced by Richard Legaspi, will compete and have its German premiere at the 32nd Open- Air Film Festival Weiterstadt, which will take place from August 14 to 18 on the arcadian site of the Braunshardter Taennchen.

Filmfest Weiterstadt, also known as the “Woodstock of short films,” received more than 1,600 submissions worldwide and the festival committee selected only 195 films this year.
Since 1977, the festival, which is one of the oldest “open air” events of its nature in Germany, is “beyond comparison for its dedication to screen films in diverse genres in an immense program.”

Andreas Heidenreich, who is in charge of Weiterstadt’ s international programming, revealed that “Ambulancia” is the first Filipino film selected in their festival since it started. Aside from Legaspi’s short film, representing Asian Cinema in the festival this year are films from Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and a German-Chinese co-production.

Legaspi, a faculty of the University of the East College of Fine Arts (UE CFA), is a fellow of the 2007 Asian Film Academy, an educational program of the Pusan International Film Festival, South Korea and a graduate of Ricky Lee’s 14th scriptwriting workshop for film and television.

“Ambulancia” has a painful twist about an ambulance driver, played by character actor Alan Paule, who believes that a dying patient can be saved by running over stray animals on the streets. Paule, who is being managed by Ed Instrella, co-stars with thespian Nor Domingo of the Philippine  Educational Theater Association (PETA).

Legaspi was also ably supported by director of photography Albert Banzon, assistant director Jules Katanyag, AD/co-producer/ editor Anna Isabelle Matutina, co-producer Eloisa Espino-Sanchez, production manager/musical scorer Pam Miras, co-PM Seymour Barros Sanchez, and production designers Sunny Completo, Bon Labora, Grace Orbon, and Bernadette Reyes.

“Ambulancia” is also set to compete in other international film festivals in Greece (Patras City), North Korea (Pyongyang), and the United Kingdom (Bite the Mango) next month. It earlier won the grand prize in the Viva – Pinoy Box Office (PBO) Digitales 2 short film competition and the best short narrative film in the first Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival for Health.

The film also competed in another festival in Greece (Naoussa) and was exhibited in South Korea (Pusan’s AFA Fellows’ Night). It was also screened as part of Cinemanila 2007’s Young Cinema Night program, Cinemalaya 2008’s Best of Indie Sine Shorts `08: Katorse, and University of Sto. Tomas’ CineVita. Along with six other short films from the Katorse Writers Group, it had a successful week-long screening at the Robinsons Galleria Indie Sine last June.

For more updates on Filmfest Weiterstadt, visit http://www.filmfest – weiterstadt. de. For more information about “Ambulancia” and other Katorse short films, visit http://katorseshort s.wordpress. com.

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