Okay, okay, aminin ko na. I’ve been waiting for the announcement since May 1. :)) The finalists were supposed to be announced on Labor day but according to their official Facebook page, the selection team had to move it on May 4 due “to the huge volume of entries sent their way.”

Three days later, on May 4, at 10 pm, I read through Facebook that our film was chosen as one of the finalists in the first-ever Istorya ng Pag-Asa Film Festival! (INPFF). It’s unbelievable! It was mindblowing. I’ve never been a ‘suki’ of film festivals. Honestly, I don’t like the idea of joining for the sake of competition. But this one’s different. I had this burning desire to join because I wanted everyone to know the utterly inspiring story of our subject. I also believed in the vision of the film festival, which is to showcase inspiring stories of hope. This was an advocacy I couldn’t afford to miss.

istorya ng pagasa finalists

Our docu short is entitled “Byahe Ni Marlon”, it’s about Marlon Fuentes, the Uber driver who went viral on January this year. It was because of his condition called Tourette Syndrome (T.S). A passenger named Hazel Alvero took a photo of the cardboard sign displayed inside his car which stated his condition. Sir Marlon did this so that passengers won’t be worried the moment they step inside his car and see him ‘acting weird’ or ‘twitching’ while driving. Some even thought he was on drugs when they saw him, especially those who were quick to judge and unaware of T.S.

When I read about his story, I was moved. And I was sure everyone who would come across it would experience the same. So I decided to join and submit our docu short. As an amateur filmmaker, this was sort of a baptism of fire. 🙂 I’ve never directed and produced my own film before. Difficult days were faced. Many moments of exhaustion were endured. But instead of losing hope or giving up, I knew this had to push through because we had this moving story to tell. I know it’s going to be worth it. For me, it’s not about winning the competition. It’s about telling this story so that people will get inspired, so we can spread good vibes and positivity all around. We all need that in these times. And I’m glad we took that leap!

With only a few weeks left before the deadline, we rushed to complete the project. We barely had a month to pull all these off. But I guess the Universe conspired to make things fall into place because we managed to interview and film the people involved in this story within the timeframe. That’s also one of the reasons why I’m very motivated to finish this project no matter what happened. And I’m so lucky that I get to meet these bunch of individuals who are all generous and trusting of us. Thank you to Sir Marlon, his family and friends. Thank you to Mr. Marlon Barnuevo and the Philippine Tourette Syndrome Association. Thank you to Ms. Hazel Alvero.

I’m glad that I had passionate people with me who believed in that vision. Thank you to my production team! Meika, Clare, Jonnie, and Nel. Thank you Sandro and JJ for the last minute help. Thanks, too, Bennel. Thank you to Ma’am Ludz Labagnoy for the endless guidance and support. Thanks also to our sponsor TOSS Travel and Tours.

team ovp2
Post prod with Jonnie, Nel and Meika.
marlon barnuevo
Me, Mr. Marlon Barnuevo, Jonnie and Nel
team ovp
Post prod on Chinese New Year with Jonnie, Nel, Meika and Clare, who generously sponsored the pizza party!!
mr marlon2
Mr. Marlon Fuentes with his wife, son and best friend.
Sir Marlon and wife Rio were also invited to guest in the GMA News TV show MARS hosted by Camille Prats and Suzi Abrera.
Sir Marlon and wife Rio were also invited to guest in the GMA News TV show MARS hosted by Camille Prats and Suzi Abrera.
hazel alvero
Me, Meika and Clare with Ms. Hazel Alvero

I am yet to receive an email from the INPFF for further instructions but I’m already delighted with the fact that Sir Marlon’s story reached them, no less than the Ayala Foundation and the Office of the Vice President. So thank you, too, AFI and OVP for opening an avenue for this kind of cinematic storytelling!  Here’s hoping that more people will get to see our film so that we can spread awareness and understanding about Tourette Syndrome and the PTSA. Here’s also hoping that more people will get to see it because we need inspiring stories of positivity in our lives. 🙂  Will update soon! To God be the glory!