Short films win at CMMA, Wales and Liverpool

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Director Chris Cahilig receives the Best Branded Digital Ad award for McJim’s “Pitaka” at the 40th Catholic Mass Media Awards. (CMMA).

“It may be gratifying to receive international recognitions for our artistic works, but it is ultimately more rewarding when a prestigious Philippine award-giving body acknowledges the sheer amount of talent Filipinos possess when crafting world-class content for the many creative endeavors they get into.” This is the message that trusted leather goods brand McJim Classic Leather wants to convey after its debut short film “Pitaka” (The Wallet) was hailed last 14 November as the Best Branded Digital Ad at the 40th Catholic Mass Media Awards. It is the newest category in the CMMA that recognizes the shift in media consumption of the modern Filipino.

THE documentary won for its compelling and values-based narrative.

Directed by public relations entrepreneur Chris Cahilig, “Pitaka” is the result of McJim’s groundbreaking and innovative efforts to project the best of Filipino values to the world.

“In producing well-executed and compelling short films like ‘Pitaka,’ McJim has applied its philosophy of style, quality and elegance — the same values that have driven it to produce truly world-class leather goods through the years,” says Cahilig.

And now, in the wake of multiple nominations and awards McJim’s shorts have garnered from prestigious film fests here and abroad, McJim inspires us to look into ourselves first, to proudly claim our strength as Filipinos.

Cahilig affirms this, saying, “I am overwhelmed and thankful that ‘Pitaka’ has achieved recognition in my own country from no less than the CMMA. This reminds us that it should not take other countries to reward world-class Filipino excellence. We must acknowledge our own strengths and proudly uphold these before the world.”

McJim’s “Pitaka,” bested six other finalists in the category, namely The Philippine Star’s “Andeng” (IdeasXMachina Advertising, Inc.); Southstar Drug’s “Credo” (Estima, Inc.); SM Supermalls’ “Daddy’s Girl,” “Little Things” and “Tradition” (DDB Group Phils); and Manulife Philippines’ “Stand Up” (J. Walter Thompson Philippines).

Established by the late Jaime L. Cardinal Sin in 1978, the annual CMMA is one of the country’s most prestigious awards-giving bodies for the mass media that honors works, individuals and institutions that promote Christian values and ideals — something that is very evident in “Pitaka.”

“Pitaka’s” storyline pays tribute to the heroism of older members of Filipino families, whose good deeds are sometimes taken for granted by the younger ones. It endorses the timeless Filipino values of sacrifice and perseverance as exemplified by the breadwinner “Kuya” played by Karl Medina, who shelved his personal dreams in order to provide for his younger brother (played by Art Artienda). The frivolous younger sibling would eventually express his gratitude and appreciation for his Kuya’s efforts through a heartwarming, unexpected gesture.

THIS horror short film is not your ordinary jump scare as it deals with a different kind of fear.

Cahilig attributes the success of “Pitaka,” his debut work as filmmaker, to its raw and honest depiction of a slice of reality in typical Filipino families presented in an extraordinary way. “By touching on a real-life experience, ‘Pitaka’s’ narrative communicates to the viewer on a deeper personal level and establishes an undeniable emotional connection without the need to sensationalize,” says Cahilig.

To enhance “Pitaka’s” emotional impact, McJim explored the beauty of the Filipino language and collaborated with Palanca-winning poet and academician Louie Jon Sanchez in coming up with a beautiful poem that serves as the film’s narration (narrated by Neo Domingo). For this, “Pitaka” likewise won the Best Illustrated Poem category of the 2018 Wales International Film Festival last 4 October.

“Pitaka” was also made possible by screenplay writer and line producer Juan Archimedes Del Mundo, cinematographer Cesca Lee, editor Cyril Bautista, and production manager Max Ganda.

Aside from “Pitaka,” McJim’s first horror-thriller short film “No Strings Attached” is also making waves globally, with its recent feat as Best Social Shorts in the Liverpool International Film Festival 2018 in the United Kingdom.

“No Strings Attached” generated significant sales for the brand after its release in September.

“No Strings Attached,” which has reaped over 1.5 million views on the McJim Facebook page alone, has been officially selected to participate in seven other international film festivals in the US, Europe, and Australia. Together with the LGBT-themed “Bag” and the more unconventional “Sinturon” (The Belt), McJim’s short films have been selected in at close to 50 international film festivals in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Serbia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Mexico and Italy.

“By collaborating with the best Filipino talents and employing innovative cinematic techniques, McJim tells its stories in a new light, an achievement that is validated by the prestigious awards the brand has so far garnered.

“But more than the international and local awards, what makes ‘Pitaka’ and other McJim shorts special is how these inspired and touched the lives of millions of Filipinos who have seen them,” Cahilig affirms.

As of this writing, “Pitaka” has been viewed over 25 million times in various Facebook platforms.

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