December 26, 2023 (2:28 PM)

3 min read


Photo courtesy of Russel James Celeste

Featuring cases of human trafficking and child traumas, the Ateneo Film Circle (AFC) won the overall championship in the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking XI (IACAT XI) regional filmmaking competition.

Writer Francis Arrocena shared how they visualized the film to echo the primary mission, vision, and goals of the IACAT, which is to spread awareness about the veracity of human trafficking in the Philippines.

“At the end of the film, we deliberately wrote, “Your future is their future too.” Because we wanted our audience to understand that even if they are not literally connected to an anti-trafficking engagement, just knowing this issue and contributing to make an overall better society will significantly impact this ongoing concern,” Arrocena stated. 

The short film titled “DRES” also tackled the involvement of LGBTQIA+ issues and child traumas, as Arrocena said that these underrated issues have unfortunately become common in Filipino households. 

“I am hoping that this film will at least offer a perspective, if not spark, conversations about the solutions for these issues,” Arrocena added. 

The lead actor in the film, RR Arpilleda, also stated that their film can ‘extend the conversation about sexual exploitation and human trafficking to the Ateneans.’

“Winning an award for the film with the said subject matter opens up a lot [of] opportunities for people to add to the discussion and awareness [of] their preferred art forms, and we all know Ateneo has nothing short of creative, artistic people,” Arpilleda furthered. 

Additionally, he hopes that the message of the film will create a societal movement and encourage public servants to make a difference to prevent human trafficking and human exploitation altogether. 

“I see this film impacting the age bracket that I am in first, and with the power of technology and the growth of societal awareness that my generation and generations to come have attained. We will see more uproar against many forms of exploitation like what was displayed in the film, and may even impact future public servants with ideas on how to slowly eradicate human trafficking and online sexual exploitation,” Arpilleda added. 

Amidst the successful bout, film director Giovanni Carillo reflected on the experiences and challenges they encountered while filming the award-winning film. 

“Directing a film while having a busy day job presented with quite some challenges. First is the limited time of production, so I overcame this with careful planning of schedules but being ready to make some compromises along the way… but I’m glad this was easily solved since the people from AFC are good listeners and are all determined to what they can for the production,” Carillo stated. 
The regional film competition is part of the IACAT Onse Short Film Competition 2023, hosted by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking XI (IACAT XI). The short film can be viewed on the IACAT ONSE Facebook page.

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