Ilokano short film joins Hollywood’s top 100



A short film created by an alumnus of the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) was shortlisted in the prestigious Hollywood Venus Awards (HVA) 2020 announced last May. 

The Rural Agents, a film about Ilokano life and culture, was produced by Mr. Gabb Gantala, a Bachelor of Secondary Education graduate of the College of Teacher Education (CTE). 

This film is one of the top 100 films included in the HVA official selection, outshining more than 1,000 other films from all over the world. 

HVA is a free, online short film festival organized by the International Cinema Community that provides international network for makers of short, feature, experimental, animation and documentary films. 

Gantala expressed his delight upon learning that his film was selected as one of the potential awardees, saying that the extraordinary opportunity is one way to show Ilokano ingenuity to the world. 

The Ilokano short film, which was made in 2017, is a story about the dramatic journey of two brothers looking for their dog named ‘Rona’ – the only family they have after losing their beloved parents.

The scenes of the movie were captured in the City of Batac, and the towns of Pasuquin and Sarrat. The movie actors and crew members were his former schoolmates, friends, and some residents in the shooting areas. 

“Because of its recognitions before, I became more encouraged to submit this film to an international competition. Then, I found an online platform that accepts short films from different parts of the world,” he narrated. 

Gantala shared that his movie was an entry for an independent film festival here in the Philippines last October 2019. However, the movie was not included in the list of official selection of the film festival.

Instead of giving up, he submitted the movie to the Urduja Film Festival in the same year, which garnered three major awards: 2nd Best Film, Best Screenplay, and Best Child Actor for Andrei Coloma from San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte. 

Also, Rural Agents was among the 100 select films shown during the Pelikula: 100 years of Philippine Cinema exhibit held at the Ayala Museum in Makati last August 2018. 

A native of Sarrat, Ilocos Norte, Gantala has already created 10 films since 2013. He believes that film-making is relatively challenging and time-consuming, particularly in delivering a believable story in a creative way. 

Currently, Gantala is working as a multimedia artist in a photography and videography studio in Laoag City. (StratCom)