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Familial frames: Behind Ana Antipuesto’s Sinulog Film Festival victory

Ana Antipuesto

Ana Antipuesto holding the top prizes for the Sinulog Film Fest 2023. | Lara Batulan.

A father’s love is manifested in a lot of different ways, and it is always unique for every daughter.

For this young cinematographer and her film-loving father–while both share the same liking for film, love uniquely plays out through their own shared lenses.

Meet Ana Antipuesto, an 18-year-old senior high school student from the Mandaue City Science High School and a winner in the Sinulog Film Festival 2023.

Ana’s wunderkind success was not solely a result of her own imaginative abilities, but also of the innate talent she inherited from her father.

READ MORE: Small steps to success

Ana’s father is Ruel Antipuesto, a celebrated Cebuano film director and cinematographer, christened as “The Godfather of Cebuano Filmmaking.”

He directed notable films like “Patay Na Si Hesus (2016),” “Señorita (2011),” and “Confessional (2007),” which raised the benchmark of Cebuano filmmaking.

Long after the credits roll on Ana’s recent success, what remains etched in her is the realization that without the various roles played out by her father in her life, her recent achievement would have been more difficult to attain. 

Film-filled childhood

Growing up, Ana’s life unfolded against the backdrop of the silver screen.

Accompanying her father on film sets, she became acquainted with the industry’s inner workings, almost immune to its allure.

By witnessing her father’s creative process, she was drawn to filmmaking slightly more than others.

Ana shared, “When it came to filming, my father was always in the picture, it’s what I associate it with. Because of him, I care about the industry a little more than others.”

Yet what made her appreciate the craft were the short films she and her father used to make. These hands-on experiences forged a cherished bond that tied them together.

When asked about her fondest memory of her father, she nostalgically shared, “I believe it was because I was afraid of horror movies, and I could not stomach even thinking about watching one. So he wanted to prove to me that it’s all just effects. To do that, we made our own horror movie.”

These little experiences sculpted the contours of her imagination, shaping her into the person she is today – someone with a sense for creativity.

Artistic tapestry

Ana enjoys film. But more than that, she loves to write. She has a deep passion for literature and storytelling.

But it was her father’s nurturing and mentoring that marked these moments as she continues her journey of self-discovery in the realm of art.

“He was always engaged in my growth, he always showed me the ropes, teaching me how things are done and what things are about,” Ana shared.

Nestled in the same love for storytelling, it wasn’t just film that bound them. It was art in general that tied their kindred spirits.

The filming and success journey

In the realm of film, Ana’s filmmaking endeavor unfolded like a captivating reel of moments woven together by the threads of familial support and personal vision.

When the Sinulog Film Festival emerged from its two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Ana’s father ignited her curiosity by encouraging her to participate.

For the Sinulog Film Fest 2023, Ana took an unconventional and comedic approach to the theme “Sto. Niño: Our Source of Peace in the Walk of Faith!” with her entry titled “Nibuhagay Ang Milagro” (The Miracle Happened).

This film follows a young girl on a quest to unravel the true meaning of miracles amidst life’s challenges. Through the lens of her family and her unique perspective, the film explores the diverse ways in which miracles manifest themselves – revealing that their essence lies in the beholder.

Ana’s father stood as her steadfast compass throughout the filming journey, guiding her with his expertise.

“He would show me how clips should be shot by taking a picture of them first, and then I imitate.”

In these moments, Ana’s creative spirit also flourished. Together, they ventured into uncharted territory, experimenting with shots and capturing moments that embody the essence of the story.

Also part of the team is Ana’s younger sister, Gia Antipuesto, who took on the lead role in the film, seamlessly weaving the threads of a familial cinematic journey.

But like any journey, there were obstacles along the way.

The constraints of time, and lack of expertise and motivation cast shadows on their filming schedules.

Nonetheless, despite the hurdles, she had always found solace and strength in the unwavering guidance of her father.

“He took the lead first, and then again I followed,” said Ana.

Sinulog Film Festival

On March 20, during the Sinulog Film Festival awarding ceremony, Ana not only bagged the Best Short Film Award but also the Best Story and Screenplay. Her sister also shared the same triumph as she was awarded The Best Child Performer award.

Ana Antipuesto

Ana Antipuesto on stage receiving the top prize for Best Film in the Sinulog Film Fest 2023. | Lara Batulan.

The true denouement of Ana’s success was the role of fatherhood in her journey and how fortunate she is for experiencing its wonders. 

“I’m lucky that I didn’t have to navigate blindly; I had somebody to follow. I had an example to look out for and imitate,” she shared.

Making her own mark

Ana acknowledges this privilege and used it as a tool instead to pave the way for young and fresh perspectives into the arena of Cebuano film.

Various opportunities may have opened following her triumph but the victor yearns to have forge her own path for college, away from her father’s shadow.

She feels that she doesn’t want to use her background as an advantage and rather make her own mark in the world alone.

Meanwhile, efforts were made to have Ruel Antipuesto interviewed on her daughter’s film success; however, he chose to decline as he feels that giving praises to a developing artist could be bad.

When asked what advice Ana could offer to young filmmakers who face doubt due to a weak support system, Ana humbly said, “Honestly, I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be in that situation. But, I feel like it’s very cliché to say, but you just have to do it for the sake of doing it [filming]. You don’t really have to have all this…You have yourself to support you, and that’s the most important thing.”


TAGS: art, Artist, Cebuano, film
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