INTERVIEW: Luczon on Cine Totoo: filming Mindanao throwbacks

An upcoming documentary film festival presented by GMA News TV will be featuring works of two Mindanawon filmmakers.

Nef Luczon is one of them. The film of the Cagayan de Oro-based journalist and media instructor is one of the 11 that will be screened on September 24 to 30 in SM Megamall, SM Manila, and Trinoma Mall Cinemas.

In his film “Migkahi e si Amey te, Uli ki pad” (Father said let’s return home), he explores the realities surrounding the Manobo-Tigwahanon tribe in San Fernando, Bukidnon post the death of the chieftain there.

Luczon started his career as a journalist in 2007 and currently writes columns for Sunstar Cagayan de Oro. He works on his films in between newspaper deadlines and has had these screened in the country and abroad. In 2014 alone, he already directed and co-produced two full-length documentaries and several short films both documentaries and narrative/experimental fiction.

His most recent work is “Dire Husi (Here, My Friend);” it won in the University of the Philippines’ (UP Cinema) “Piling Obrang Vidyo” for 2014 in the Documentary Category. This film was later screened in Chaktomuk Short Film Festival in Cambodia and Kota Kinabalu International Film Festival in Malaysia.

“Dire Husi” is the catalyst for the making of “Migkahi e si Amey te, ‘Uli ki Pad’” (Father said, “Let’s Return Home), his first full-length documentary as finalist in the Philippine Section of first Cine Totoo Philippine International Documentary Film Festival.

In this interview, Luczon talks about his life as a filmmaker and what drives him to continue making stories about Mindanao.

Why do you make films?
The reason why I make films is because I just have to. People today are so engorged to mainstream films and TV programs that they have forgotten who they are and the people around them. I’ve become a part-time university instructor, too. I teach courses related to mass media and communication arts, and I would be remiss if I teach things that I don’t have actual experiences with.

What stories about Mindanao do you want tell?
I have this insatiable interest on “throwback” Mindanao for both fiction and non-fiction films. These are stories about the pre-colonial Mindanao–its folklores, myths and legends and hopefully in my lifetime I can make an epic film about them. Yes, it’s quite ambitious but who knows…someday.

How do you overcome the challenges that you face in filming?
Keep Calm and Keep Filming.

What things do you discover about yourself when you film stories of others?
I learn to make quick decisions (instead of regretting that I didn’t do it). I continue learning and expanding the horizons of how I see life in different perspectives.

Which character in your documentary did you find to be the most compelling?
The characters I documented (especially Rhyan Casiño and Bae Noreta with the Manobo Tigwahanon tribe members in San Fernando, Bukidnon) rekindled the Filipino in me. They are who we are, and that is what we often forget.

What’s your style?
It is good to have good quality equipment in filmmaking, but you should also remember to have a story worth telling and a purpose to substantiate film content and essence. In editing, I want to be as truthful as possible; I try to avoid the excessive color corrections that look like Instagram filters.

What’s the most compelling film feedback that you’ve had from an audience?