This Filipino short film gets attention in European film festivals

Still from ‘Ari Kris’

Streaming shows and movies online has been an escape for many, even before the pandemic became part of our lives. And after months in solitude, it has become a form of therapy for many to fight that “languishing” feeling. While many found sanctuary on virtual streaming platforms, others got inspired to turn their time at home into a creative journey by writing stories, picking up their cameras, and presenting shows online.

The internet has truly paved a way for artists to thrive, especially this time of pandemic. It also gave independent artists the push they needed to make their art a reality. Among those new breeds of digital creatives is Renz-Bhil Quiros. Together with Camp Avenue Studios, the team behind girl love (GL) series “Chasing Sunset,” Renz directed a short film that is now gaining attention from international film festivals.

According to the production house’s Instagram posts, Renz’s featurette, dubbed as “Ari Kris,” is now an official selection for Prague International Indie Film Festival and a nominee at the London Shorts.

To know more about the short film, Manila Bulletin Lifestyle chats with director Renz as he shares details about “Ari Kris,” how they shot it during the pandemic, and the goal behind making it.

How did ‘Ari Kris’ start? What’s the concept behind it?

The concept for “Ari Kris” was made through a sharing of stories in a casual gathering where I was included. It is somehow mind-boggling to watch as it is a story of a religious sect, if I’m going to put it in a nice way. But in the eyes of many, it can be considered a cult. It is a story where it challenges the viewers about how they distinguish fatalism to faith.

Still from ‘Ari Kris’

How long did you work on it? Did you tape it during the pandemic? How was the experience?

We created “Ari Kris” for about three to four months including the pre- and post-production. Yes, we produced our short film during the pandemic and we have strictly complied with the mandated requirements provided by the government, from “Chasing Sunsets” to “Influencers” and “Ari Kris.”

Considering our small number, we abided by the protocol on the number of production staff and, because of that, some of us need to take multiple roles. I really cannot say that we were restricted because Camp Avenue Studios was established in the first few months after the pandemic started.

The overall experience was really life-changing and exhilarating. Looking back at the process, we really wanted this featurette to be recognized globally and we are tremendously overwhelmed that we’ve been part of two biggest international festivals—Prague and London Shorts, respectively—and we’re hoping to expect more in the next coming months.

What is the goal of the featurette? What do want viewers to get from it?

The goal of the project was to become an experiential awareness. Experiential awareness means the message is not directly served to the viewers but the total experience of watching the full short film—changing of emotions, the absurdity, the weirdness. The experience will justify the answers viewers are looking for after they watch the short film. We wanted our viewers to be called to action about their beliefs, especially their socially-constructed influences about the difference between fatalism and faith. As much as possible, we don’t want to impose what is the truest right or wrong but it depends on the viewers on how they will accept and digest the film.

Still from ‘Ari Kris’

What do these international recognitions mean to you and your team?

It symbolizes hope, not just for us but also to young filmmakers and small production companies who’d like to make it in the industry. To be honest, the production was built because we believed that we have to lend our voices and talents to the ideas that are needed to be challenged in this generation. Being recognized internationally is something significant because this proves that the ideas that we’re presenting are not only exclusive to one culture, belief, or tradition but there is a proof of inclusivity with other nations. That’s what we’re aiming for. The inclusivity as a symbol of hope in humanity as consumers of different mediums in this generation.

Visit @campavenuestudios on Instagram to know more about their releases.

Source: Manila Bulletin (