Stories on animals like ants, pawikan and fishes surely catch the attention of children, while those on environmen­t and illnesses, such as microplast­ic pollution, schistosom­iasis and E. coli bacteria make young scientists curious.

Putting these subjects into well- crafted films would surely make them winners.

And they did.

The films “Into the Minuscule World of Ants” by Heinrich Domingo of Quezon, Isabela, and “Sansala” by Cyah Angela Somblingo of the youth organizati­on Focus Cavite, were hailed as the Best Films in the Open and Youth Categories, respective­ly, in the Four th Indie- Siyensya Filmmaking Competitio­n.

They won against a total of 23 entries in the Open Category, and 55 entries in the Youth group in this year’s theme “Communitie­s Beyond the Naked Eye.”

The winners were announced recently in an online awarding ceremony, which premiered live in the Department of Science and Technology­Science Education Institute’s ( DOST- SEI ) social media page.

They were judged based on the criteria of scientific content, idea execution, film technique and impact.

Open category

“In to the Minuscule World of Ants” documents the growing ant- keeping community in the Philippine­s led by Youtube personalit­y, Mikey Bustos.

Filmmaker Domingo said that making the film made him realize the presence of many scientific groups and communitie­s that are not popularly shown in the media.

“My exposure to the ant- keeping community showed me that there are hundreds of Filipinos venturing into scientific fields like biology that remain unseen. Shooting this documentar­y film made me see the alternativ­e avenues where science is learned,” he said.

He said he is honored to have competed against great films with equally interestin­g tales and narratives, and that the win will inspire him to make more films.

“Our communitie­s are filled with stories that need to be told. We do not need to chase stories. Instead, our local tales and narratives are more than enough to make captivatin­g films,” said Domingo, who earned P100,000 cash prize and a trophy.

Coming in second in the Open Category was “Pauwikan,” a documentar­y about the nature and diversity of the turtle sanctuary in San Juan, La Union, done by Gerylle Vanmarie Palabay of the Film and Media Arts Internatio­nal Academy.

Winning Third is Edward Laurence Opena of Opena Cinematics/ Cebu Normal University for his film, “The Man Who Talks to Fishes.”

It narrates how a man enabled the Gilutongan Marine Sanctuary to become one of the country’s top marine sanctuarie­s. They won P50,000 and P30,000 cash prizes, respective­ly.

Palabay’s “Pauwikan” also secured the Viewers’ Choice Award for receiving the highest number of votes during the film screenings. The film won P20,000 cash prize for the special award.

Youth category

On the Youth Category ,“Sans ala” tackles microplast­ic pollution in Dalahican, Cavite City. The documentar­y film explore show microplast­ics gravely affect the environmen­t and the people relying on the sea for livelihood.

Somblingo, who is a second- timer in the competitio­n, referred to the win as their team’s “comeback victory” after placing second last year for their film, “Lambat.” This time, they bagged the P100,000 cash prize and the top trophy.

Their team considers the opportunit­y to echo to the residents of Dalahican the results of their microplast­ic experiment done during the making of the film as their most memorable experience.

“Educating people is something we really enjoy. And being able to reach the hear ts of thousands of people through a single film was like living a dream,” she added.

Completing the Top 3 in the Youth

Category are the films“Sisto” by Ma. Diana B alansag from Bukidnon National School of Home Industries at Second Place, and “Beyond: Escherichi­a coli” by Juliana Milan bil en from Tag aytay City Science National High School at Third Place.

“Sisto” depicts the problems encountere­d by the people of Barangay San Miguel in Maramag, Bukidnon, with the schistosom­iasis, while “Beyond: Escherichi­a coli” tackles the unseen community of the E. Coli bacteria and its nature.

The films won P50,000 and P30,000 cash prizes, respective­ly.

A project of Department of Science and Technology- Science Education Institute, DOSTSEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo congratula­ted the winners and finalists for taking the competitio­n to another level with the quality and messaging they gave.

“We’re very happy with the films we received this year and we’re especially impressed by how they tell their stories effectivel­y and in a manner that does not stay away from science,” Biyo said.

She added: “We envision our scientists to be able to communicat­e their works effectivel­y, and film is definitely a great platform. For this, we’re very proud of our contestant­s.”

Now on its four th run, Indie- Siyensya remains one of DOST- SEI ’s main platforms to promote a culture of science in the country. The competitio­n is also the agency’s response to the growing field of science communicat­ion by using film as a medium of informatio­n disseminat­ion and behavioral change.

This year’s Board of Judges include Dr. Garry Jay Montemayor of the College of Developmen­t Communicat­ion, University of the Philippine­s Los Baños ( UPLB); Director Seymour Sanchez from the De La Salle- College of Saint Benilde, and Far Eastern University; Prof. Patrick Campos, director of the UP Film Institute; renowned entomologi­st Dr. Aimee Lynn Dupo of the UPLB Museum of Natural History; and Dr. Ruby Cristobal of DOST- SEI .

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