TMFF 2024 highlights new student talents, Letran’s SIKAD-produced short film takes finalist spot

By: Thea Divina
June 05, 2024

SIKAD Productions under Letran Manila, takes finals position in the 2024 The Manila Film Festival (TMFF). Photo courtesy of the Manila Public Information Office.

The highly anticipated The Manila Film Festival (TMFF) returns this June, spotlighting a collection of eight selected short films from different colleges and universities in the Metro with “Una’t Huling Sakay,” directed and written by Vhan Marco Molacruz with the SIKAD production team from Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Manila, as an entry for the film festival.


A New Student (Athlete) Director on the Horizon

In an interview with The LANCE, 4th year broadcasting student and athlete, Vhan Marco Molacruz shares the origin and inspiration of their short film which is about self-realization and navigating life discoveries and challenges.

“I want to share my perspective on the world as a young adult navigating my way in this unideal life full of crossroads. I [am] eager to show how witnessing the determination and joy of those people around us inspires me to see the world more positively and reflect on myself. As these frames of genuine smiles hold a special place in my heart. As these moments of self-discovery are worth sharing with others. It's these authentic experiences and heartfelt reflections that I want to bring to life through filmmaking,” Molacruz stated, describing the story of Una’t Huling Sakay.

“In this film, I want to show the importance of the values we share with the people around us in the present and how it somehow informs that decisions we make in the future. This is all about self-realization,” Molacruz added, explaining the intended message of the film to its audience.


Behind the Scenes

Molacruz’s Una’t Huling Sakay stars GMA Kapuso actor, Gold Aceron as “Francis” and ABS-CBN Kapamilya veteran actor, Nonie Buencamino as “Dindo” in the short film created by the SIKAD production crew:

  • Director & Writer - Vhan Marco Molacruz

  • Director of Photography - Robert Pareja

  • Supervising Producer - Joy Jamora

  • Line Producer - Francheska Simone V. Braga

  • Associate Line Producer - Sarah Eleighna Ella

  • Creative Producer & Asst. Director - Inst. David Esguerra

  • 2nd Asst. Director - Uriel Joaquin

  • Script Supervisors - Jayson Ruiz, Earl Justin Cruz

  • Production Manager - Niña Roan Tuerto

  • Production Designer - Andrea Perang

  • Location Manager - Elisha Dejapin, Aaliyah Galazan

  • Production Staff - Shyne Tomines, Darlene Axalan

  • Talent Coordinators - Denise Surio, Eleina Leyva

  • Art director - Paolo Talabucon

  • Wardrobe Head - Calvin Manalili

  • Wardrobe Assistants - Zhermaine Dioso, Eon Marco Escoto

  • Hair and Makeup Artist - Abegail Amora

  • Props Master - Ashley Espinoza

  • Art Department - Yhuri Banayat, Althea Gezar, Vian Rich Delacruz, Simon Timbreza

  • Editor - Kristian Palma

  • Musical Scorer - Jose Buencamino

According to Molacruz, their team experienced eventual challenges during their stages of production but they succeeded through it all, given the guidance of their seniors from the industry and the dedication of the SIKAD crew.

“Majority of the scenes were exterior. A lot uncontrollable things happened. Sobrang init. Limited budget. Pero mas nanaig parin ‘yung passion at kagustuhan ng team makapagkwento,” Molacruz said.

“They were all hardworking. I am so happy to see them in harmony. Together with some professionals in the team, nakita ko ‘yung eagerness ng students in the team including me na matuto from them since itong filmmaking ay hindi basta lang natututunan sa loob ng school. It’s really about the experience and practice doing it talaga. And andyan ‘yung mga kuyas and ates namin from the industry to guide us,” Molacruz added.


TMFF: A Platform for Aspiring Filmmakers

This year’s TMFF with the theme, “Manila in Me”, provided P150,000 grants to the eight short film finalists, including entries from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, University of the Philippines Film Institute, De La Salle - College of Saint Benilde, Adamson University, Bicol University, Colegio de San Juan de Letran - Manila, and iACADEMY.

Prior to the announcement of the set of finalists in competition, Molacruz’s “Una’t Huling Sakay” is one of the semi-finalists from Letran, along with “Hopistium Noctis” by Juan Zyian Manalo and "Synthesia” by Peter Yebes.

Last year, Letranites showcased two finalist productions: “The Adventures of Kween Jhonabelle,” a comedy-drama by Kevin Brasileño and Carlo James Buan and “The Uncanny”, a psychological horror-thriller film written by Communication students Juan Xyian Manalo, Ranzelle Mariefaye Bayani, and directed by Kyle Abay-Abay.


Festival Schedule

The Manila FIlm Festival 2024 events commenced with a Red Carpet Premiere on June 4, attended by celebrities and student filmmakers. It was simultaneously live streamed on the Manila Public Information Office and TMFF’s official Facebook pages.

The eight short films along with four featured films will be open for public in a cinema screening from June 5 to 11 at Robinsons Manila and Robinsons Magnolia, with tickets priced at P200.00, designated with two set choices of package viewing.

The festival will culminate in the TMFF Awards Night on June 11 at the Bulwagang Villegas at Manila City Hall, which will also be streamed live on the Manila Public Information Office Facebook page.