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Nespresso Talents 2021 announces vertical filmmaking competition winners

By Kara Santos Published Jul 07, 2021 3:42 pm

Three aspiring and professional filmmakers were awarded in Nespresso Talents 2021, a global filmmaking competition celebrating stories about "being a force for good."

For its 6th edition, the theme of Nespresso Talents 2021 focused on "Doing Is Everything.” Rooting from the challenging realities we've been faced with, it conveys that even the smallest action can create an extraordinary positive change in the lives of others.

At the virtual awarding ceremony held Tuesday (July 6) hosted by Lexi Schulze, the international vertical filmmaking competition showcased the extraordinary talents from the national/Philippines category and awarded the top three winning entries.

The films were assessed by a local jury including directorJose Javier Reyes, filmmakerQuark Henares, and actressBela Padilla, along with Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing DirectorPatrick Pesengcoand Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development ManagerFabio de Gregorio.

During the virtual awarding ceremony, Reyes said he was honored to get aglimpse of the voices of new filmmakers in the country, see a variety of genres, and was inspired by how they were able to interpret stories in a span of two to three minutes.

"The creation of micro-short films such as these is even more difficult than making a full-length or even 20-minute film to be able to capture a narrative which is distinctly Filipino, and carrying the theme which is being demanded by the competition," said Reyes. "It gives us great hope that the future of Philippine cinema despite, in spite and because of the living conditions we have to bear with right now, we have a great future ahead of us."

“I was again amazed with the quality of the films, especially considering the pandemic that we are unfortunately living in today,” said Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development Manager Fabio de Gregorio.“They (the films) have been a source of inspiration and there was this great value in them. These films helped me understand the Filipino culture better,” he added.

For the Philippine category, the grand prize went to Napamata Ako sa Sadit na Kinaban (I Woke Up On A Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta.

The innovative short film focuses on a man who wakes up on a little planet and doesn't find anything that interests him, so he sleeps on it. Eventually, he realizes that he should have started taking action from the very beginning because the planet depends on the person living on it.A first for Nespresso Philippines—the film also made it to part of the international shortlist.

While accepting his award virtually, Rebeta stressed that the film captured his story during the pandemic.

"As your world gets smaller, the feeling of emptiness gets bigger—there are some who would go through depression, anxiety. But our eagerness to forge ahead will always prevail. It (the film) may not be about the pandemic—it may be about one’s life—you will always move forward. Ironically, in a situation where our movements are limited, working on a film that revolved around the theme 'Doing is Everything' allowed us this opportunity to work on something boundless," said Rebeta.

Ma, by Dexter Paul De Jesus, took home the second place prize. The emotional short incorporates animation to shows a son's longing to spend time with his mom who hasn't come home for months due to her job as a medical worker.

Third place went to Special Delivery by Gerald Foliente (Sinematika Inc.), an inspiring piece that shows the daily struggles, hardships, and motivations of a bicycle delivery man, one of the unsung heroes of the pandemic, as he goes about his work for the day.

The grand winner received a peso cash prize equivalent to 1,500 euros, followed by 1,000 euros for the runner-up, and 500 euros for the third placer. All three winners also received Nespresso machines and coffee capsules on top of their cash prizes and trophies.

The other local finalists and their short films included:

  • Mr. Everything by Romel Cabuguang: A tutor, an illustrator, a barber, an online seller—a 25-year-old Rommel Royo wears many hats so he's able to support his mom and brother.
  • PR 3953, NOW BOARDING by John Thomas Trinidad: Despite a daughter having a conflict with her dad, even the smallest bit of giving him a neck pillow shows how much he means to her.
  • Waves by Ian Palomar: Musical depiction associating sea and waves with a person and life's struggles.
  • PARA UMA (farmer) by John Kenneth Paclibar: A visual and realistic portrayal of a Filipino folk song, Magtanim ay di biro (Literal translation: Planting is not a joke)," which talks about the challenges in the lives of farmers. The ending shows the average age of farmers.
  • SAKA NA (SOMEDAY) by Cheska Marfori: Two sisters put their dreams aside and take on different paths in life to support their parents' farming jobs.
  • Bahay-bahayan (Playhouse) by Xyron Parapara: A deaf kid expresses his love towards the people around him through actions.
  • 150+ Heads by Bennel Canlas: Gio DiAntonio, who lives in a shelter for street kids, finds joy as the official barber of those with him. During the pandemic, a friend sought his support in giving free haircuts to nearby areas.

Nespresso Talents Philippines received a total of 71 film entries for the competition. Combining local and international submissions, 993 filmmakers participated in the global competition of Nespresso Talents 2021.The prerequisite for every film submission was it should be in vertical format (9:16) with the length of 2 minutes minimum and 3 minutes maximum, in any genre.

“It’s very impressive that, though this happened during the entire pandemic lockdown, we still saw the quality in these films. To everyone who has been with us and continues to be with us ever since we launched Nespresso Talents in the Philippines, we really appreciate the belief and sincerity that allow us to promote such young talents,” said Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing DirectorPatrick Pesengco.

The Philippine category of Nespresso Talents 2021 was held in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), De La Salle University College of St. Benilde Film School, and

To watch all the films in the Philippines, and across the world, visit the Nespresso Talents website at

The international winners will be announced on Friday, July 9, 2021. Winners in the international category will receive cash prizes from 2,000 to 5,000 euros, an invitation to the Cannes Film Festival 2021 and a mentoring session with cinema experts.

(Images via Novateur Coffee Concepts Inc.)