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Pinoy filmmaker winner: ‘Activism isn’t terrorism’

Care Balleras



JAMES Allen Fajardo, director of The Boy Who Bleeds in The Middle of The Sea. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF VIDDSEE.COM

Filipino short films “The Boy Who Bleeds in The Middle of The Sea” and “Day of Danger” (Petsa De Peligro) won the gold and silver prizes, respectively, in the 2020 “Juree” or Viddsee Juree Awards held online from Singapore.

The Juree is an annual industry pick award celebrating best short films from Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. In each edition, the three countries submit their entries to a panel of international judges, which will decide the winning entries.

Director James Allen Fajardo represented The Boy Who Bleeds in The Middle of The Sea — the story of a teenage boy experiencing menstruation while fishing.

The film has been shown in the 2018 Toronto Queer Film Festival, Black Beret Competition and Indie Un-film Festival.

“It’s been two years since I made this film, and with the passage of the anti-terrorism bill, the film continues to remain relevant,” Fajardo said in his message. “Just like the father of Simon, anyone can be considered a terrorist, even though they’re just fighting for their rights and lands. It’s important to emphasize the idea that activism is not, and will never be a form of terrorism.”


First-time competitor Cynthia Saluba bagged the silver prize for her dark comedy Day of Danger which revolves around a woman and her personal complexities.

Regarded as one of the Philippines’ promising filmmakers, Saluba said: “I hope you didn’t just enjoy it (film), but also thought about the moral choices of these marginalized people depicted in the film.”

Another Filipino filmmaker, Ken Leviste, received a special mention for Peter’s Last Semester, about underprivileged graduating student and online classes.

Juree panel of judges included Filipino filmmaker Jade Castro (Endo), Indonesian producer Mandy Marahimin and US-based film festival programmer Eseel Borlasa.