Producer/Writer: Angelo Agojo
Synopsis: One statue immortalizes our religious belief, but does this limit our faith only to what we see?
Cast: Lawrence Espinosa, Ian Martensen
Official Selection, Sinulog Short Film Festival Philippines 2009
Winner, Best Picture – Angelo Agojo and Peter Mancao
Winner, Best Screenplay – Angelo Agojo
Winner, Best Director – Peter Mancao
Winner, Best Cinematography – Peter Mancao
Winner, Best Editing – Peter Mancao
Winner, Best Actor – Lawrence Espinosa
Winner, Best Child Performer – Ian Martensen
Mar. 11, 2009 – The Santo Niño statue is one of the most familiar religious images among Filipinos. Faith, as represented by this icon, is lost and found by a family in The Portrait, a short film created by alumni of the International Academy of Film and Television (IAFT). The Portrait was honored with Best Picture and six other awards at this year’s Sinulog Short Film Festival, and can be viewed on YouTube (www.youtube.com/
“The Portrait is a story about genuine faith embodied in the image of the Santo Niño, which is present in every Cebuano household to immortalize their belief,” says Peter Ian Mancao, the film’s director. “I was inspired by the real idea of faith, like how Martin Luther King put it: ‘Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.’”
The making of The Portrait was also a spiritual experience for Lawrence Espinosa, who plays the lead role of the family’s father. “When the theme of your film is religion, it connects man’s spiritual need and the actor’s search for himself,” he says. Espinosa, who is the Program Director for Acting at IAFT, met Mancao and producer/writer Angelo Agojo when the two were classmates at the film school. “They made wonderful films as students, and I’ve wanted to do a project with them since then. When the opportunity came, I agreed immediately.”
Mancao and Agojo built their winning partnership by collaborating on several projects while enrolled in IAFT’s Diploma Program in Filmmaking, and after graduating from the program last August 2008. “I write and produce the material, and he [Mancao] shoots, edits, and directs it,” says Agojo. “Ideas flow in and if we think it works, then we include it,” adds Mancao.
The duo agrees that among their projects, they found working on The Portrait one of their most memorable experiences. “The camaraderie on set was amazing. We enjoyed getting to know the cast and crew better during breaks. Also, it was the first time for Ian Martensen, the child actor playing the family’s son, to act in front of the camera, so it was fun guiding him,” says Agojo.