“Taguan Pung”, the Maiden Film Project of La Verdad Christian College Student Film Club, Premieres

You thought the story of six teenagers out to search for meaning of life, identity, and their self-worth is something you’ve watched or seen couple times already. You might ask yourself if it’s in the mall theaters near you that just recently or during the seasonal Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival or Metro Manila Film Festival where you’ve watched such youth-themed piece of film.

Anyway, be it from Star Cinema to Viva Films, or something crafted by Gino Santos (“The Animals” and “#Y” fame) or Pepe Diokno (“Engkwentro”), the notion of all-too-familiar-storylines don’t seem to matter anymore but the approach and imagination the filmmakers can conjure to enliven the genre.

Taguan Pung poster
Official poster of Taguan Pung, the debut film offering of the student film society of La Verdad Chrsitian College in Caloocan.

These days, it’s hard to simply dismiss anyone equipped with passion and creativity to not offer anything new, break new grounds or blend new twist to the teen movie flick.

Who knows the budding filmmakers with fresh voice could be someone near you and they’re out to bring something exciting and challenging in the teen movie genre. Yeah! That’s real pressure to anyone thinking talent alone trumps everything.

Here enters Taguan Pung, the premiere offering of Cine La Verdad, the newly-minted student film society of La Verdad Christian College in Caloocan City.

Mixing elements of the mystery and suspense-thriller genre, the student film “Taguan Pung” dealt with the almost perennial search for meaning and identity. Is there something new? Is this the kind of film that will reveal the newest voices in the world of cinema? That’s of course something we’ll need to find out upon watching the film this week.

Using the traditional hide-and-seek game called tagu-taguan or taguan pung as allegory to find answers to the characters’ bigger-than-life questions, the premise alone makes for a promising take of the genre.

While a curiosity why use the suspense-thriller genre to debut a film project, the film’s scriptwriter Joemer Delos Santos said he and the film director wanted to capitalize on the popularity of the genre to draw audience to watch their film.

The almost zero-budget independent film production relied on borrowed cameras, lighting and editing equipment to complete Taguan Pung. But the trailer the filmmakers showcased during the press conference is proof guerilla filmmaking is alive and working so long as you’re armed with great story, passion, dedication and teamwork.

During the press briefing held last February 20, the film’s director Mark John Viola revealed that while everything’s been wrapped, editing is still ongoing. So it seems it’s even miraculuous they’ve completed the film with the addition of press briefing that’ll put even big mainstream production to shame. Yes, that’s how admirable and serious these folks really look to me.

Anyway, the young filmmakers, who could be in their 18-20 age range only, further revealed the main inspiration for their film is Bro. Eli Soriano and UNTV’s Kuya Daniel Razon, the two leading figures who founded La Verdad Christian College.

The La Verdad school is well-known locally as perhaps today’s only private school that offers tuition-free education, free meals, book and school supplies budget and fare transportation.

The main casts named during the press briefing include Paul Jason Ramirez, Mark John Esteban, Darells Ison, Mark Abucejo, Jaisa Pomida, and Eliosa Malig and ….

That “You” as the last participant – as it is written in the press notes — is what the director and the film’s writer used as a cliffhanger thingy. Is it a trick? Perhaps or maybe not. Anyway, whatever these filmmakers’ up to is enough for filmgoers everywhere to go and check them out.

Initial showing were held last February 26 and 27 at the La Verdad’s Caloocan Branch’s Auditorium.

Visit the film’s Facebook fan page for more information.


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