Not Rejection, Just Redirection

Rebelde, according to their website, is “a community of bold, driven, and free-spirited independent filmmakers from the Philippines who believe in the power of films in storytelling and nation-building.” They launch film camps every year in order to give aspiring filmmakers an avenue for learning about film-making and for igniting their passion in doing and celebrating films.

When I learned about this a year ago, the frustrated filmmaker in me really wanted to join the camp. But I got acads. I got thesis. And I don’t have money to register. Registration fee costs 18K for early birds and 25K for regulars. And I was like, SYET. PANG-TUITION KO NA ‘YON. I waited for promos, raffles, or anything but there was none. So long story short, I did not pursue it.

This year, they decided to open scholarships. When Jake saw their post on FB, he immediately tagged me and said “Ito na ‘yun.!” And remembering how my mother and my best friend can see me as a director, getting inspired by Tonette Jadaone, and trying to connect the dots — from my Best Playwright award in high school to my cap with “Direk” embroidered on it (it’s a gift from my best friend) to my blog entries here about my “confusion” about pursuing film,  I took my chance and applied for a slot in Screenwriting and Directing. And to my surprise, I was shortlisted and became part of the Top 50. SOBRANG THANK YOU LORD. When my friends and my family found out about it, they expressed their happiness for me and congratulated me. Sobrang sarap. Lalo na yung reaction ng Nanay ko. But it was just half of the battle. As for the next level, we were interviewed. And it was not a typical interview. Feeling ko PBB besh! While waiting for the result, I felt like my heart will explode. That’s when I knew, I wanted it so bad. But then, the agony was prolonged when they told us to wait for the final result to be emailed to us.

One week of waiting was a torture for me. I kept saying “Okay lang kahit anong result. The world can take it. I can take it.” But I know, deep down, it would be frustrating for me to get that close but still fall short. But fortunately, I took a break and went home in Quezon. There, I recomposed myself. Talked with my Mom about it —  about having a Plan B just in case I didn’t get in. So in short, the psychological torture ended.

Then, last Saturday night, as I was browsing my FB timeline, I saw Rebelde’s announcement. Unti-unti ko pang binaba. Number 5, wala pa ring Ann Gielou Posedio. Number 9. Wala. Syet yung puso ko parang malulusaw. Number 12. Wala nga yata. Teka hanggang 15 yan, malay mo naman! 14. Wala. And 15. Negative. And how am I? First 10 minutes, I’m cool. I ate dinner with Ate Dimple. After that, I called (video call) Ericson and Kathkath. Tapos doon na ako may paggulong sa kama. Hahahaha Para pala akong tanga. Pero actually, hindi naman naging ganoon kasakit. Napaghandaan ko rin kasi siguro. Ate Apple even became worried as she thought I’d be depressed. But I told her I was not. Which is the truth. And it took a conversation with Jake for me to realize why. And let me quote myself (LOL):

“Eh kasi, if I really want it, bakit di pa ako mag-apply sa film production companies? May hesitation pa rin. Deep down. I know. At yun ang goal ko this week, to talk to my heart. Kung gusto ko ba talaga or not. Kasi kung oo, hindi film camp ang magsasabi nun. Ako dapat. Di naman dahil nagfilm camp tuloy film na talaga. At hindi dahil hindi nagfilm camp, hindi matutuloy sa film. So feeling ko, itong pangyayaring ito, itong Rebelde, ito yung kulbit ni yunibers na, Uy, Di ba gusto mo ‘to? Gaano mo ba kagusto? Seryoso ka ba? Kasi kung oo, now’s the time to do it.”

So there, I guess this is neither an end of a dream nor a simula-pa-lang-yan moment. Not yet, at least. This is like a call for self-assessment. A call for some reflection about what I really want to do now. About the pros and cons of my actions. About the weight of the risks I am willing to take. About the value of the things I may have to give up just to traverse a new direction in life. About the change that I really want to happen and when do I want it to happen.

Because the thing is, you don’t wait for a turning point. You make the turning point.