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When Vertical Filmmaking Becomes a Force for Good: Highlights from Nespresso Philippines’ Awarding Ceremony

For its sixth edition, the theme of Nespresso Talents 2021 focused on "Doing Is Everything”

Be a force for good—this was the mission for aspiring and professional filmmakers alike for this year’s Nespresso Talents. For its sixth edition, the theme of Nespresso Talents 2021 focused on "Doing Is Everything" with films centering on the challenging realities we've been faced with. The films aimed to show that even the smallest action can create an extraordinary positive change in the lives of others.


At the recent virtual awarding ceremony hosted by Lexi Schulze, the international vertical filmmaking competition showcased the extraordinary talents from the national category and awarded the top three winning entries.


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Nespresso Talents 2021 Local Jury and Winners and host Lexi Schulze


Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development Manager Fabio de Gregorio: “I was amazed once again with the quality of the films, especially considering the pandemic that we are unfortunately living in today. They (films) have been a source of inspiration and there was this great value in them. These films helped me understand the Filipino culture better. And so I encourage everyone to visit the Nespresso Talents website to see all the amazing films in the Philippines, and across the world.”


While the task for the participants was to share their stories through vertical film, it was also a challenging feat for the local jury to deliberate and narrow down the finalists from the number of promising entries received. Assessed with the expertise of award-winning director, screenwriter, and author Jose Javier Reyes, multi-awarded filmmaker Quark Henares, renowned actress, producer, director, screenwriter, and author Bela Padilla, along with Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing Director Patrick Pesengco and Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development Manager Fabio de Gregorio, the top three films in the Philippines were truly remarkable and deserving of the awards.


The grand winning film for this year is Napamata Ako sa Sadit na Kinaban (I Woke Up On A Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta. A man wakes up on a little planet and doesn't find anything that interests him, so he sleeps on it. Eventually, he realizes that he should have started taking action from the very beginning because the planet depends on the person living on it. A first for Nespresso Philippines—the film is part of the international shortlist.

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Napamata Ako sa Sadit na Kinaban (I Woke Up On A Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta


Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Direk Joey dahil nung narinig ko mga sinabi niya kanina, naiyak ako kasi naramdaman kong naipahayag ko pala ng maayos yung pelikula kasi somehow, istorya ko rin siya ngayon pandemic. Lumiliit mundo mo, pero lumalaki yung kalungkutan sa atin—mas merong nakakaramdam ng depression, ng anxiety. Pero mas dadaig pa rin yung pakikipag-laban, na magpatuloy ka dahil babalik pa rin si normal. Hindi man ito tungkol sa pandemic—tungkol man ito sa buhay—babalik at babalik ka, lalaban at lalaban ka,” Arjanmar shares. “Ironically, sa tema na Doing is Everything, sa panahon na walang magawa, nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na makagawa ng ganitong klaseng pelikula.


(I would like to thank Direk Joey—I was touched hearing his words because it made me realize that I was able to convey the film’s message which is somehow my story during this pandemic. As your world gets smaller, the feeling of emptiness gets bigger–there are some who would go through depression, anxiety. But our eagerness to forge ahead will always prevail. It (the film) may not be about the pandemic—it may be about one’s life—you will always move forward. Ironically, in a situation where our movements are limited, working on a film that revolved around the theme Doing is Everything allowed us this opportunity to work on something boundless.)



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Ma, by Dexter Paul De Jesus


The second placed film is Ma, by Dexter Paul De Jesus, showing a son's longing to spend time with his mom who hasn't come home for months due to her job as a medical worker.


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Special Delivery by Gerald Foliente (Sinematika Inc.)

The film coming at third place is Special Delivery by Gerald Foliente (Sinematika Inc.). A story of a delivery man who gets into a minor accident and feels the pain it brought him, but it doesn't hinder his determination to finish his deliveries for the day. The pinwheel he's been carrying since he started the day was broken, but he made sure to fix it. He returns home, handing a surprise to his son.


The grand winner received a cash prize (PHP) equivalent to 1,500€, followed by 1,000€ for the runner-up, and 500€ for the third placer. All three winners received Nespresso machines and coffees on top of a well-deserved trophy.


The other local finalists were:

  • Mr. Everything by Romel Cabuguang: A tutor, an illustrator, a barber, an online seller–a 25-year-old Rommel Royo wears many hats so he's able to support his mom and brother.
  • PR 3953, NOW BOARDING by John Thomas Trinidad: Despite a daughter having a conflict with her dad, even the smallest bit of giving him a neck pillow shows how much he means to her.
  • Waves by Ian Palomar: Musical depiction associating sea and waves with a person and life's struggles.
  • PARA UMA (farmer) by John Kenneth Paclibar: A visual and realistic portrayal of a Filipino folk song, "Magtanim ay di biro (Literal translation: Planting is not a joke)," which talks about the challenges in the lives of farmers. The ending shows the average age of farmers.
  • SAKA NA (SOMEDAY) by Cheska Marfori: Two sisters put their dreams aside and take on different paths in life to support their parents' farming jobs.
  • Bahay-bahayan (Playhouse) by Xyron Parapara: A deaf kid expresses his love towards the people around him through actions.
  • 150+ Heads by Bennel Canlas: Gio DiAntonio, who lives in a shelter for street kids, finds joy as the official barber of those with him. During the pandemic, a friend sought his support in giving free haircuts to nearby areas.



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Throughout the competition, Nespresso Talents Philippines received 71 film entries, establishing that the competition is getting further recognition in the country. Combining local and international submissions, 993 filmmakers participated in the global competition of Nespresso Talents 2021. The prerequisite for every film submission was it should be in vertical format (9:16) with the length of 2 minutes minimum and 3 minutes maximum, in any genre. 


Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing Director Patrick Pesengco: “It’s very impressive that, though this happened during the entire pandemic lockdown, we still saw the quality in these films. To everyone who has been with us and continues to be with us ever since we launched Nespresso Talents in the Philippines, we really appreciate the belief and sincerity that allow us to promote such young talents.” 


In the Philippines, Nespresso Talents 2021 is in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), De La Salle University College of St. Benilde Film School, and Edukasyon.ph. 


View the full, handpicked local winning films at the Nespresso website at this link.  For the international edition, winners will be announced on Friday, July 9, at Nespresso Talents website, www.nespresso.com/talents