Year In Review: The 10 Best Filipino Short Films of 2016

Most of the successful filmmakers in the industry started their career by making a short film feature. No longer simply a calling card or an early stepping stone, shorts have an undeniable power coupled with an infinite platform that some are just now discovering. Short films are the medium of choice to communicate ideology, vision, style and much more.

We’ve been blown away by the variety and quality of short films that have appeared this year. If you aren’t plugged in to what’s going on with short films, you’re missing out on an insane amount of outstanding entertainment. Short films can be very exciting to watch as they offer some outrageous humor, heartrending human stories and a few uncompromising works of cinematic vision.

Here’s my pick for what I think are the notable local short films of 2016:


10. Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear?
Director: Christian Candelaria

After a one night stand, two unsuspecting strangers find themselves in a predicament that threatens both their lives.


9. Forever Natin
Director: Cyrus Valdez

Forbidden love is always attractive to some people even when they know that it won’t last forever. This film depicts a lesbian couple (Karen and Pat) trying to keep their relationship intact with a yearly contract for the past seven years. But on the seventh year, Pat gave Karen her “real” forever.


8. Viva Viva Escolta
Director: Janus Victoria

Consuelo, a ghost who has haunted Escolta for many years, finds a respite from her loneliness in Joey, a young man who has just died. As the two ghosts pass the time before Joey moves to the afterlife, Consuelo questions her reasons for staying put.


7. EJK
Director: Bor Ocampo

“EJK” being the acronym for the systematic and nationwide campaign of extrajudicial killings currently ongoing in the incumbent Duterte regime.


6. If you leave
Director: Eduardo Dayao

Two amateur ghost hunters are hired to surveil an alleged haunted house. Nothing much happens. But just because you can’t see the patterns of strangeness, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there.


5. Lola Loleng
Director: Jean Cheryl Tagyamon

A young woman goes back to her province in the countryside where she gets to once again meet her Grandmother Loleng – a distant relative and a senile parol (Christmas lantern) artisan. Together, they will explore Grandma Loleng’s landscape of memories, only to unearth her innermost secrets and wartime experiences. It is about memory and forgetting, both in the context of the personal and of the national consciousness.


4. Contestant # 4
Diectors: Jared Joven & Kaj Palanca

A young boy frequently visits an old man who lives alone, keeping him always in good company. One night, he chances upon the old man watching a dated clip of himself as a cross-dressing boy. This sparks within the young boy an interest to find out more about the old man’s past. What he ultimately discovers aids both him and the old man towards a richer understanding of how the weight of life and identity should be carried.


3. Fish Out of Water
Director: Mon Garilao

Minjae is a Korean-Filipino teenager who is often discriminated against for being mixed-blood. His utmost desire to belong to the homogeneous and hierarchical Korean society is tested when his single Filipina mother decides to send him to the Philippines one winter day.


2. Ang Araw Bago ang Wakas
Director: Lav Diaz

In the year 2050, the Philippines braces for the coming of the fiercest storm ever to hit the country. And as wind and waters start to rage, poets wander the streets.


1. Hondo
Director: Aedrian Araojo

Mara is scared of water. She has a rare condition that keeps her from touching any forms of liquid. As a single mother, her only pearl is her frisky son Elim, who was later on diagnosed with a life-threatening disease. The boy’s only request is to learn how to swim.


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