A creative writing student from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman has been officially selected one of ten successful candidates to the Far East Film Festival (FEFF) Campus at Udine, Italy.
Eunice Joyce Helera, a BA Malikhaing Pagsulat sa Filipino (Creative Writing in Filipino) major from the UP Departamento ng Filipino at Panitikan ng Pilipinas, is the only Filipino to qualify this year for the FEFF’s prestigious education program for aspiring cultural reporters and film critics from Europe and Asia.
For the first time in two years, the FEFF is conducting the school of journalism as an onsite event for the students to meet and learn from directors, critics, curators, producers, and other film professionals.
“I wanted to improve my writing and how I view films,” Helera revealed her reason to join the FEFF Campus. “I have always been insecure about my writing, my interpretations, and how I construct my reviews. Instead of hiding away and giving up, I’ve always tried to find opportunities where I can learn,” she added.
Mathew Scott, one of the FEFF campus coordinators and her mentor for a short course on Asian Cinema Education under the Five Flavours Film Festival (Warsaw, Poland), encouraged her to join the program.
Helera, who is still in Italy as of press time, feels exhausted but she relishes the unique experience of attending the FEFF Campus. “I have Cine Sundays to thank for. Being a moderator in the community, especially when I have to fill in at the last minute, has trained me to converse and create questions,” the young film buff said, referring to the online film community established by director Dan Villegas.
“The sessions we’ve had throughout are a good briefer to know all fields of the industry and that’s how it has helped me so far now that I am immersed and seeing these people up close. The same way, the diversity of films that we analyze through Zoom, somehow adds to our knowledge of the different genres, that gives me that familiarity of structure, for the films being shown in this year’s film selection,” one of the Cine Sundays core team members shared about the experience she gained from the program.
Helera, whose “love for film is rooted in her love of discovering the world,” is also part of the UP Cinema Arts Society or UP CAST. She is currently a film criticism fellow for UP Cinema’s Pelikolektibo. Last year, she became a festival curatorial fellow for Movies that Matter’s Cinema Without Borders (Netherlands).
The other selected aspiring journalists are Elizabeth Alpaidze (Georgia), Amarsanaa Battulga (Mongolia), Greta Elettra Broms (Sweden), Veronica Calienno (Italy), Eunha Lim (South Korea), Harry Robinson (United Kingdom), Jolie Fan Yuxuan (Singapore), Mariona Borrull Zapata (Spain), and Zhu Zijiao (China).
FEFF festival director Sabrina Baracetti said that they are “thrilled to have FEFF back fully live in Udine to once again welcome guests from around the world – and that includes our Campus family.”
“We were impressed with the high standard of diverse applicants and the obvious passion they showed for Asian cinema and are proud that we are able to forge these connections between film lovers everywhere, thanks to the many Campus supporters,” Baracetti added.
Selected attendees will have direct access to the FEFF Talks series of seminars and guest appearances. Since the “business of film” is high on the agenda for this year, they are also expected to gain insight into the inner workings of the industry through FEFF’s Focus Asia and the 13th Ties That Bind Workshop.