25 June 2009

2 Pinoy Artist Bag Video Challenge

Long Live the Fearless Man
Two young Filipino filmmakers have emerged as winners in an international online video competition by besting hundreds of contestants from 95 countries. Filmmakers Melissa Peñafiel, 22, and Miguel Ocampo, 20, were among the six winners of the Democracy Video Challenge organized by the US Department of State and its event partners.

"Democracy Video Challenge" was launched on United Nations Democracy Day in September 2008. The contest called for three-minute videos that offer the best definition of democracy. One winner for each of the world’s six regions was chosen by a panel of respected jurors from film, media and related sectors, but the regional winners was determined by online public voting on YouTube.

Following the contest format, Peñafiel and Ocampo submitted an entry called "Long Live the Fearless Man" which discussed how democracy has worked for and against the people.

Even US Ambassador Kristie Kenney was impressed with their concept.

"This is a wonderful achievement for Aissa Peñafiel and Miguel Ocampo. Their three-minute video shows the real power of Filipinos increasingly in the film and creative arts industry," Kenney said in a press statement last 17 June 2009.

Peñafiel and Ocampo, along with the winners from Zambia, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Nepal, and Brazil, will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York, Washington, and Los Angeles in September where they will meet with democracy groups, film and television companies, the media, and government organizations.

Peñafiel and Ocampo, both from the University of the Philippines Diliman, said their short film tries to express their "radical and liberal" definition of democracy - one that critically examines both its good and bad sides. They said this almost "activist" take on the issue differentiated their film from other entries.

"I think what we discussed in the film is what most people actually feel about democracy. Democracy should be the voice of the people, we should have a right to vote for our leaders, but at the same time, it's not happening like that. There are people who are in control of us. We also wanted to show how we experience democracy as Filipinos, that we do not actually have control over our democracy," Peñafiel said in an interview on ABS-CBN's Mornings @ ANC last 8 June 2009.

No stranger to film contests, Peñafiel and Ocampo had previously joined the 62nd Cannes Film Festival with their short film "Manong Maong."

Partners of the US Department of State include the Center for International Private Enterprise, Directors Guild of America, International Republican Institute, International Youth Foundation, Motion Picture Association of America, NBC Universal, National Democratic Institute, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, TakingITGlobal and University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.