The annual Metro Manila Film Festival is coming to a near, and among the other films this year, I am looking forward to watching Saving Sally, because… why not?
Some weeks ago, I barely knew about this film despite seeing posts about it on my Facebook feeds. But I got suddenly interested about it when I learned about challenges faced (and successes achieved) by the producer Rocketsheep Studios and director Avid Liongoren when I attended Graphicon 5 in Davao earlier this month. They were among the guest speakers in the event.
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. The author is just another enthusiastic fan of this promising independent Filipino animated film.
The Metro Manila film festival will run from December 25, 2016 until January 3, 2017 and there are 8 full-feature films to choose from (plus 8 short films but I don’t know how or where to watch them). I used to watch films every MMFF but when the choices became too generic (and sorta commercialised) and the films became series year-after-year, the event bore me.
This year is much different though because the organizers took a bold step in accepting only independent films! This should be a great opportunity for independent producers and people in the creative industry to showcase their craft.
But among the films in the lineup, I am really looking forward to Saving Sally. For those who personally know me, it may come as a surprise why I am hyped up with this film. For one, I don’t dig romantic films, but this one’s also sci-fi and most importantly, comedy!
Perhaps my reasons dig much deeper than loving a film genre. But I don’t know.
Here are my personal reasons why #ImSavingSally
1 | A gesture of supporting our country’s independent filmmakers.
Watching independent films (and encouraging others to do the same) is the least thing a common person can do to support our countrymen who do things for passion unlike big movie filmmakers who normally do things for commercial reasons.
Supporting this year’s MMFF will encourage aspiring independent filmmakers such as Saving Sally’s producer Rocketsheep Studios and its director Avid to hone their skills and further create high quality films later on.
2 | It all started from scratch
The hype is that this film took 10 years to finish. Why? Because everything was built from scratch and because the creators were independent, they don’t have the resources and funds to create a great movie in so short a time.
“Hindi kami Pixar”
– Rocketsheep Studios said during the Graphicon 5 as they shared their realizations while making the film
(translation: We are not Pixar)
Avid often joked during the Graphicon that they started with a 2 or 3-man team with a dog. All they wanted back then was to create an animated film that will be uploaded online and have people download it.
Avid’s college best friend, writer Charlene Sawit-Esguerra, shared in an interview with Radio Republic that the conceptualization started as an idea that it would be cool to make a film. She started writing the stories back in 2002 and confessed that she didn’t even now about scriptwriting at that time while Avid had never shot a movie.
Watching the Saving Sally trailers, you’ll be amazed how gorgeous the film would be — the animation, the dialogues, the sceneries and everything.
3 | The film reflects the ingenuity of Filipinos
Attending the Graphicon 5 has been a blessing in disguise for me because it made me realize the challenges that Avid and Rocketsheep Studios have to deal with in creating an independent film. A few weeks prior to that event, I didn’t even know who Rocketsheep Studios is or didn’t care about Saving Sally.
Now, I am even writing a blog post about the film (I repeat, this is NOT a Sponsored Post) in the hope that I could convince at least one soul to watch it.
As Avid shared, they are not Pixar. They don’t have hundreds of teams with special animation skills. In fact, they don’t have any knowhow on animation skills when they started.
They didn’t have offices loaded with special high-end equipment to create animations, unlike Pixar. When they started, they only have a computer or two… and an electric fan to avoid the CPUs from overheating.
Avid and his team made a lot of trial and errors during the entire process, especially during the first half of the production. And you know, if you’re limited in funds, you would be more hesitant to test things and fail.
But his team pushed through… in short, the entire process became an educational opportunity for them.
And true enough, their talk during Graphicon was on: Defining & Working Within Limitations for Video Production Work
Everything was shot with a blue screen due to limitations on assets and funds. In terms of animation, the team experimented on several techniques until they came up with their own animation style (they introduced 2 techniques during Graphicon but I’m not sure if I can disclose it here due to “trade secret” reasons).
When an investor got interested in their works sometime after a few years they started, the original actor portraying Sally was not available any longer. So they had to make a hard decision whether or not to drop what has been made so they can begin from scratch once again. They found a new Sally. And although they have to shoot the entire thing once again, this time, the team are more skilled than before.
Just watch the trailers (and the film) and you’ll be amazed how a team with limited resources can create stunning animations worthy of international exposure.
4 | It’s an animation with lots of Philippine references
Because it’s a Pinoy independent animated film, the director wanted to add Philippine scenes into it. This is probably what makes this film relatable and beautiful especially for a Filipino watching it. Manila slums, corrupted Filipino brand names, local references… How many will you be able to point out when you watch the film? Or even the trailers?
Please Watch Saving Sally
I’m pretty sure my words are not enough to describe how excited I am to watch Saving Sally this December 25. But I hope this blog post is contagious enough to have persuaded you to at least look into the trailers and convince your friends to check the film out this Christmas Day.
Check out the trailers below. More trailers at the official website http://savingsally.com/