MANILA –The 3rd Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival finally concluded last Saturday, February 10, with the awarding of the Best Documentary, Best Short Film, and the Gawad Quisumbing-Escandor Grand Prize.

It was a jam-packed evening, as more than a hundred students, teachers, filmmakers, photographers, health advocates, and political leaders gathered at the Carlos P Romulo Auditorium for the Awarding Ceremonies. The programme featured performances from UP Medicine Choir and classical singer Vell Baria, who enamored the audience with her masterly rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Gafunkel (Pop vocal style) Filipino classic “Pakiusap” — a kundiman song by Nicanor Abelardo.

The keynote speech was delivered by Senator Risa Hontiveros. “1 out of 5 Filipinos have a mental or psychiatric condition . . . ” says Senator Hontiveros, as she reported on the current state of the Mental Health initiative in the Philippines. “ . . . but these films have shed light”

From 73 entries from over 20 provinces around the country, the 3rd Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival screened 25 short films and documentaries last February 3-5. The best short film was awarded to Kristoffer “Tops” Brugada for “Rekuwerdo”, while the best documentary was awarded to Mark Anthony Norella for “Hawla”. Lastly, the Gawad Quisumbing-Escandor Grand Prize was given to Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP)’s Leia Reyna Pasumbal, for her powerful short film “Comfort Room”. The awards for the IMAHE Photo contest were also given. On 1st place for IMAHE was medical student Hazel Advincula, with her piece titled “Daing Di Naririnig”, 2nd was April Denise Catarina for “Unheard”, and 3rd was Charisse Misola for “Scream of Silence (S.O.S.)”.

“The struggle for mental health in our nation does not end here” says Mon Gabriel Distor, Most Exalted Brother of the Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity. Indeed, the end of the awards night isn’t the end for the Film Festival, as all the 73 qualified entries will be distributed for free upon request by schools, communities, organizations, and rural health units across the country through the QEFF Film Caravan. The QEFF Film Caravan will include guides and instructions to facilitate discussion and relevant discourse on the issues presented by the films.

Finally, as the programme came to a close, a call to action was taken. Guests stood up and took the oath to fight for Mental Health, led by none other than Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Article by Earl Marvin Ponce Balanag MΣΦ 2021, Brother Recorder FY 2017-2018

Poster by Justin Damian Malaki Malubay MΣΦ 2021, Brother Reporter FY 2017-2018