Tamaraw Filmmaker makes impact on Rotterdam Festival

Jet Leyco, a 2009 FEU Mass Communication graduate, made a mark in the 41st International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), Germany held last January 27 to February 1, as two of his films were screened. IFFR is hailed as the Netherland’s counterpart of the Cannes Film Festival.

Patlang, a 15-minute film that won Grand Prize at the DAKILA Alab Short Film Festival in UP Cine Adarna last December 2010, was screened three times and warmly accepted by the audience and critics. Leyco said he was proud to have shown the film to a different audience that had a different perspective.

“Patlang has its own significance, a socio-political subtext that everyone, I guess, could relate to its powerful meaning.”

Meanwhile, his first feature film, Ex Press, also had its International Premiere in the IFFR and just like his short-film, was also lauded by the attendees.

Tamaraw Filmmaker makes impact at Rotterdam FestivalEx Press is a true story about a train derailment and focuses on the unique experiences of Colonel Paliparan, a train officer for the Bicol route of the Philippine National Railways. It revolves around his two sons, memories and his infamous disappearance that brought light to the disturbing realities about the Philippines, the government and the people.

The 25-year-old Tamaraw, who currently works for ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs as a director and cinematographer, shared that he was overwhelmed with the positive response to his 90-minute film, which is also his thesis film at the Asia Pacific Film Institute.

Notably, Leyco was the youngest among the Filipino participants in the IFFR but he has consciously remained thankful and humble despite slowly making a name in the local and international film circles.

Babsie Morabe of the Department of Communication said he is not surprised by the achievements of Jet because his former student was always driven and focused on becoming an outstanding filmmaker early on.

The former Vice President of the FEU Film Society also comes back to the University from time to time to share his knowledge and experiences to current MassComm students.

Leyco said that he has received preliminary invitations to showcase Ex Press in several other film festivals across Europe.

The definite thing for Ex Press is that it will compete at the 13th Jeonju International Film Festival in South Korea on April 26 to May 4.

“IFFR is really a wonderful and an important festival in the world of cinema. They are very accommodating and supportive of Filipino Filmmakers and other filmmakers. The event is really a great experience to screen your debut film. They treat your first masterpiece like a treasure.”