FEU Student's Award-Winning Film Was Shot in Quarantine with Limited Budget

Meet the director of "Last Sem Na Ni Peter," Sine Siklab 2020's Best Picture.
by Ysabel Y. Yuzon   |  Sep 11, 2020
Image: Courtesy of Ken Leviste
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Showcasing how to burn brighter this 2020 both in aesthetic and spirit, a quarantine film directed and starred in by Ken Leviste took home the Best Picture award at the SINE SIKLAB 2020 awards night in August 2020, and has since garnered a nomination at the Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines 2019.

SINE SIKLAB 2020 is a fully virtual nationwide festival hosted by 24 Frames of CIIT College of Arts and Technology. It featured 15 student film finalists from high schools and colleges in the Philippines, with the lineup announced earlier in July. Themes depicted in the moving films included poverty, politics, sexuality, and identity. The range of films resonated truth and light amid dark times, and Leviste's Last Sem Na Ni Peter, burned the brightest. Click here for the full list of winners. 

Shot entirely in quarantine, and with a limited production budget, the film is a mirror of Leviste's lived experience of those two exact situations. In an interview with Candy, the FEU fresh graduate talks about the highlights, lowlights, and "mental blocks, mental breakdowns, and frustrations" included in his process of making the film.

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Watch the trailer for the film below:

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Ken shares it took him about 50 days total to produce Last Sem Na Ni Peter, with one month allotted for conceptualizing and writing the screenplay. After consulting with a friend, Marianne, and professor-turned-script consultant Nice, the story was completed and they were able to start with production.

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The principle photography took five days, and Ken was shooting and editing with his sister daily. "Mabilis ko lang siyang na-edit dahil super excited na akong mapanood siya and ilaban siya sa mga film fests...

"I consulted my prod house, Arkos Digital, for every technical aspect of the film like the pacing, sound design, color grading." Ken shares they reached five drafts before completing the final cut.

Get to know more about Ken here:

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When asked about tips for creatives who want to get to work while in quarantine, Ken hesitates, but goes on to say that, "if you want to make films during this quarantine, first, prioritize your safety."

"And just like Last Sem Na Ni Peter, create something that will inspire and put hope in everyone. Kasi ngayong dark times marami ang nalugmok, na-frustrate, and it is our role as storytellers to create something na magpapagaan sa loob ng audience.

"Because in this crisis, we need entertainment that will put smiles on our faces despite all of these. Malay natin, yung films natin ang makakapag move sa motivation ng isang tao towards his success."

You can stream the whole film here:

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Ysabel Y. Yuzon
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