Zamboangueña artist bags 44th Gawad Urian’s Short Film Award

This is Ola’s boat, the thing that carried her back to her world in the Malaking Dagat (Big Sea). May this image and symbol give us courage to go on with our own long journeys. From Facebook page of OLA short film

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews / 25 October) — “Ola,” a movie directed by a Zamboangueña artist based on her experience as a grieving mother, bagged the 44th Gawad Urian’s Best in Short Film Award held on Friday, 21 October.

Winning director Mijan Jumalon, who is also the short film’s screenwriter, said in a phone interview on Sunday that the story relates to her personal life.

“In 2015, I lost my second child in childbirth and for five years I have dealt with the loss through art. As an artist, I know that the formless can be made less overwhelming by encasing it in a language capable of transforming an ineffable experience into something comprehensible,” she shared.

“As a painter, I have created several paintings in my efforts to fathom the depth of grief and loss. Retelling this particular story through film has added dimension to such a life story, allowing me to understand and confront death—and life—with greater courage,” she added.

Jumalon said that Ola is a project that she feels most passionately about— as it shows how the universal experience of childbirth loss can be portrayed in a short film to reach out to an audience who may have directly or indirectly undergone the same experience.

According to her, childbirth loss, oftentimes, “is a taboo subject.”

Ola is about a still-grieving artist who gets “visited” by her departed daughter who one day asked her to build a boat.

“What happens next is an exploration of how art and madness can transform and transcend grief and tragedy,” said film producer Neil Carandang, who is a painter, an actor and a director.

Carandang began his film acting career in 2013. Since then he has had numerous lead acting credits to his name in short films, television shows and advertising.

His last short film, “Ang Huling Coke” (which he also wrote, directed and starred in), had earned him awards and recognition in the Kilusang Sining Film Fest in 2018.

Carandang was also the producer for Jumalon’s short documentary Maglabay Ra In Sakit (2019) and the award-winning short narrative film Ola.

Ola starred Italia Co Ngayo as the child Ola and Sheenly Gener as the grieving mother. (Frencie Carreon / MindaNews)