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A young filmmaker’s tale about National Artist for Cinema Kidlat Tahimik

It was the screening of the Korean film “Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter… and Spring” by Kim Ki-duk, I think it was Cinemanila, I couldn’t remember what year. After the screening, I saw Kidlat Tahimik and had the courage to approach him.

I told him we met before during a screening of some women shorts in Katipunan where my film was programmed and I said I just would like to say hi to him. He said, maybe if I and my friends were available, we can talk more. I, my friends, and him ended up in a coffee shop and we stayed there until the wee hours of dawn. We talked about the film we just watched, then more about filmmaking, life, and keeping that “sariling dwende.”

When it’s time to go, he even gave his contact details to me. I was so happy that night. I was very thankful, yet I asked myself, “Who am I to deserve such great time with a pillar, a living legend in Philippine Cinema?”

Many other events with him happened year after year. The last was at the “Sandaan: Philippine Cinema Centennial Conference” at Benilde last year. I approached him again, and he gladly obliged another great conversation. The highlight was keeping that “sariling dwende” despite having to shoot more commercial works for now and missing doing independent projects.

His fire and energy are always contagious. He inspires and fulfills.

Like many others posting their moments with Kidlat, I honestly feel now, I wish I took a selfie of us in the many times we met, even the last one last year at the Philippine Cinema centennial celebration (other people took our photos at our group conversations during the event, sana may magbigay sakin for remembrance hehe!). But as many of my friends know, I don’t often take selfies, even with renowned people (even celebrities I worked with, I never had personal photos with them, just photos from others’ BTS) — though that kind of changed now, the exception being my child who I take a lot of photos of 😀

But even without photos, those wonderful experiences of conversing with a living legend, the country’s Father of Independent/Alternative Cinema, make my heart full. Even if we never had a selfie together, our stories continue. And for me, these things are truly special.

But perhaps, I should really start to learn to take more photos of special moments (of course, in the right instance to ensure a selfie wouldn’t somehow ruin the moment) for my own keeps now… 🙂

Now, Kidlat Tahimik, is our National Artist for Cinema. A truly deserving feat for someone so respected and awarded in the world of film both locally and internationally, yet remains humble and always being a filmmaker for the people. Indeed, Mr. Eric de Guia whom we dearly love as Kidlat Tahimik Jr. (because he said his son is the Sr.), lives up to the name he is best known for — two somehow contrasting but very powerful Filipino words rolled into one to create an even more powerful energy for its bearer.

This is truly worth celebrating. Thank you, Kidlat, for inspiring generation after generation of filmmakers. May you continue to inspire even more and more generations ahead of us. Mabuhay ka!

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Rianne Hill Soriano
Rianne is a director, writer, educator, and consultant in film and commercial productions. From mainstream essentials to independent flair, she knows the drill in making entertaining and well-meaning productions. She can lead a pack passionate about extreme action and technological edge; she can breathe an endearing and sentimental style for a team with a sweet disposition.

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