A student film from Far Eastern University bagged the top prize and two other awards in the Pluma de Paz main competition of the 3rd Festival de Cine Paz Mindanao held during the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration this month at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University-Lantaka Campus.

“Sa Gabing Tanging Liwanag ay Paniniwala” (Belief as the Light in Darkness), which was directed by Francis Guillermo as a Cinema Production or CNM2 project at FEU, got the Pluma de Oro award for Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Design at the annual national film festival in Zamboanga City.

The short film is about a local chieftain (Soliman Cruz) and his son (Dylan Ray Talon) who investigate the disappearances of the townspeople in the woods only to come across a mysterious answer.

Guillermo was congratulated by his acquaintances from the Nabunturan Independent Film Exhibition, but he had no idea what they were for as he was not able to attend the festival to claim his award personally. He only learned about it when the organizers posted the list of winners on social media.

“I’m pretty sure it was a very successful festival and I hope to experience the festival in person in the future. I’m very thankful to Ryanne Murcia, the festival director, and the team for having the film in their festival,” he said.

Guillermo, who graduated with a Communication degree and previously served as president of the FEU Film Society, was ably supported by his CNM2 groupmates, assistant director Ipe Maglalang, production manager Ariana Yanice Napay, line producer Patrizsia Reyes, production designer Ron Alos, and location manager James Manalili, among others. They were assisted by director of photography Rommel Ruiz and editor Zaire Andrade. Maglalang, Napay, Reyes, Ruiz and Andrade are also FEU Filmsoc alumni.

The film previously competed at Cinemalaya at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last August. It won Best Cinematography at Pelikultura: The Calabarzon Film Festival last February, Best Production Design and Best Sound Design at Nabifilmex in Compostela Valley last September, and honorable mention at the 30th Gawad CCP Para sa Alternatibong Pelikula at Video short feature category last year.

In addition, it also bagged Best Film, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design and Best Sound Design at the Indie Un-Film Festival 2018 Pamana category (De La Salle University-Manila), the Cardinal Bronze Film award, Best in Sound and Music, and Best Performance of an Actor for Cruz at the CineMapúa intercollegiate category (Mapúa University), and 2nd Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Production Design at the Sinepiyu XI Black Reel category (FEU).

Showcasing the different stories and faces of peace, Festival de Cine Paz Mindanao aims to support and strengthen its vision of sustaining the journey for peace by exploring its different dimensions, expressions, and forms through the cinematic medium. Organized and presented by AdZU, Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance, Inc., Peace Advocate Zamboanga, and Joint Task Force Zamboanga, the event is also supported by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the City Government of Zamboan