Day 3 in NYC

Today, the world stood still. Fine Dining bested fifteen other films and bagged the People’s Choice Award at the Manhattan International Film Festival, so I now get to call myself an internationally-awarded filmmaker. It’s a nice way to begin my 2012.

My day began with a quick breakfast at a nearby deli. The name escapes me right now. I had a New York bagel which is pretty big, but also pretty good. Then, we went into Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side to begin the screenings. They screened the eight films by the directors that were present in the morning. I got to experience different kinds of films, from dramas to docu-dramas to documentaries. I enjoyed watching all the films and I hope everyone gets to catch them as well. I’ll try to share those that are uploaded online over here. My personal favorite was a film called Guilty Bystanders by David Moldover. I’ll let the trailer speak for itself.

After the screenings, Krzysztof Zanussi, the renowned Polish filmmaker, took the stage to give his Master Class. A lot of the things he shared resonated within me and I was able to connect with a lot of them because I agreed with a lot of the things he said. He talked about how it’s important to show conflicts within stories and how films should be based on observation of real human experiences. I was a bit disappointed because I was expecting him to critique all our films, and he didn’t. He did say that he enjoyed Fine Dining because it was about food and he loved eating. To quote him, “it was almost pornographic”. (In a good way, of course.)

They served lunch afterwards to the directors and I enjoyed that a great deal as well. I was able to talk to the other directors and exchange notes on filmmaking and technology. It was great to meet people who studied in NYU Tisch because they told me about how great the program was and how much it really helped them. I’m not giving up on that dream. I think it was the first time I really socialized with people that way. I was just walking up to everyone and starting conversations. It was really a lot of fun.

In the afternoon, they showed the films of the directors who weren’t able to come. Although some were really good, I thought that the films shown in the morning were, collectively speaking, a lot better. But nonetheless, it was a great form of exposure to different cultures since these films were from countries like India, Pakistan, and Rwanda.

After the film showing, they presented the awards. Fine Dining was awarded the People’s Choice Award for getting the most votes from the audience. Jason Stefaniak’s The Garden and Cecile Mavet’s The Calling were awarded the World Youth Alliance (WYA) Artist award for their excellent use of cinematography, while Benjamin Lorenzo’s Tengo Hambre (I Am Hungry) and Frank’s Tin Car, whose director’s name I also can’t remember, were awarded the WYA Dignity award for their excellent portrayal of human dignity amidst the trials.

Afterwards, I went with my cousin and some of their friends to have dinner at an Italian Restaurant called Gusto. I will never understand how Americans are able to eat such huge servings without rice. I had a pork chop and it was like two Filipino pork chops mashed together. It was a night of wine and great food. I also got to see the NYU Campus. It’s absolutely beautiful. We were supposed to stop by a comedy club afterwards, but it was fully booked. So I went to McDonald’s and got a Reese’s McFlurry as well. They should have those in the Philippines! I love Reese’s! I had a Carvel Reese’s Sundae too yesterday. They’re pretty big though. Their regular size is as big as the Filipino large.

The People’s Choice Award means a lot to me because it’s a testament that my approach to filmmaking is succeeding. I’m not the kind of person who’s out there to tailor-fit his filmmaking to please the critics, because I’m not really a fan of those artsy, open-ended films that are “open to interpretation”. I want to get a message across to my audience, the average Joe. When I’m able to do that, I’m satisfied. The best prize for me is when people just walk up to me to tell me how much they loved my work. That’s what’ll keep me going.

Speaking of people walking up to me, a number of people did to tell me that they loved the speech I gave about Fine Dining. They told me that they were moved and that they were amazed that such wisdom could come from an 18-year old. (I was the youngest person competing.) I’ll try to upload the video when I can.

I’m back home now, dead exhausted, but determined to keep my blog updated. It’s 2:48AM, but I’m absolutely thrilled. I never thought Fine Dining would go this far.  I thank the Almighty God every day for blessing me with these talents and accomplishments and I hope that the road does not end here. Praise be to God!

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    • pao
    • January 29th, 2012

    congrats lance..keep it up! 🙂

    • Dixie Puyat
    • January 30th, 2012

    CONGRATULATIONS LANCE!! I’m so proud of you!!

    • Cecile Fernandez
    • February 2nd, 2012

    Hi Lance. This is Tita Cecile, a kumare of your mom from UPS2. We are sooo proud of you. Congratulations again and continue, with God’s graces, reaching for your dreams

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