Cebu Living


Internatio­nally-acclaimed filmmaker Sherad Anthony Sanchez traces his trajectory from Davao teen to one of the brilliant Filipino auteurs of his generation

- by Cheekie Albay

These days, Sherad Anthony Sanchez has his hands full. For one, the 28-year-old Davao-born filmmaker is still basking in the critical success of Jungle Love, an erotic opus that has been hailed as one of the best local films of 2012. When he’s not weaving his celluloid tales, Sherad is a creative consultant at Cinema One Originals, for which he has supervised the making of over 30 feature films. He also sits among Cinema One Originals’ selection committee, which chooses screenplay­s and projects by budding artists to produce. On top of these, he shares his expertise with the film community by speaking at seminars, acting as consultant, and penning screenplay­s for other indie filmmakers.

A cursory glance at Sherad’s CV shows that the young filmmaker’s career couldn’t be better: four feature-length films, over a dozen internatio­nal honors, and participat­ion in over 50 festivals worldwide—and he hasn’t even hit his 30th birthday yet. But before all the praises heaped and awards bestowed, Sherad was once a teen from Davao City who almost chose an entirely different path.


Sherad still recalls the exact moment his fate took a turn, sending him straight into the calling he now finds himself in.

“Films have always consumed and drawn me in ever since I can remember, but the actual moment I realized I wanted to make films was while I was ticking boxes on college applicatio­n tests,” he reveals. “I come from a family of doctors, and I was brought up to be one. But when the time came that I had to tick that box, I couldn’t. I realized I really wanted to make films.”

After taking a year off to reflect on his decision, the Davao native ended up pursuing AB Communicat­ion at the Ateneo de Manila University. While in college, he made his first short film, Apple, which went on to screen at the Internatio­nal Film Festival Rotterdam in Netherland­s in 2006. That same year, he won a grant

from Cinema One Originals, allowing him to produce his first feature-length, Huling Balyan ng Buhi: Or the WovenS tories of the Other.

Besides earning a Best Picture win at the 2006 Cinema One Originals Film Festival as well as nomination­s at the Gawad Urian Awards, Huling

Balyan ng Buhi took home the Best First Work award at France’s Marseille Festival of Documentar­y Film and the One Future Prize at Germany’s Munich Film Festival the following year—sealing Sherad’s status as a Filipino filmmaker to watch even before he had graduated from university.

With these early triumphs under his belt, Sherad went on scholarshi­p to the University of Southern California, where he took up further studies in film.


Some of Sherad's creative works which feature compelling visuals

Sherad’s second feature-length, 2008’s Imburnal, was marred by controvers­y: it suffered through three rejections by the Movie and Television Review and Classifica­tion Board (MTRCB) before finally getting the green light. Neverthele­ss, his avant-garde approach and bold portrayal of poverty proved effective; Imburnal swept up honors left and right, including Best Picture at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival, the Lino Brocka Award at the Cinemanila Internatio­nal Film Festival, and the Woosuk Award (Best Film) and the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) Award at South Korea’s Jeonju Internatio­nal Film Festival.

Sherad also put up his own production house, Salida Production­s, through which he produced and wrote the screenplay for Ruelo Lozendo’s Kolorete in 2008, a Special Jury Prize winner at the Cinema One Originals Film Festival.

In 2010, the Filipino visionary teamed up with Sweden’s Robin Fardig to co-direct Balangay, which bagged the Grand Jury Prize at the Cinemanila Film Festival and earned a nomination at the Hong Kong Internatio­nal Film Festival.


He may have conquered different corners of the world through his craft, but the award-winning auteur remains a child of his hometown, Davao City.

“You can never take Davao away from me. My perspectiv­e, rhythm, and dreams have been shaped by Davao,” Sherad proclaims. “Filmmakers seldom escape their childhood and its many issues and jubilation. I find my inescapabl­e childhood in Davao.”

In fact, a number of his works take place in and around Davao, a testament to how strongly rooted his geographic identity is: Apple’s tale of a young funeral singer unfolds with the Bankerohan River as backdrop, Imburnal follows the youth residents of Barangay Matina Aplaya, while other projects were shot in various locations in Mindanao.

Sherad is the first to admit that there are more challenges to his work than all the awards and recognitio­n let on. “Filmmaking is not something you only do once you have a film in production,” he admits. “The process consumes me 24/7. As they say, it’s like priesthood—only it’s a vocation with less benefits,” he quips.

But if the audacity and inquisitiv­eness that have marked his rise are any indication, this artist will be molding groundbrea­king visual masterpiec­es for years to come.

“My short term goal is to make films,” Sherad concludes. “And my long-term goal is to continue making films.”

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 ??  ?? An award-winning filmaker, Sherad Anthony Sanchez hails from Davao and continues to be a proud Davaoeño.
An award-winning filmaker, Sherad Anthony Sanchez hails from Davao and continues to be a proud Davaoeño.

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