Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your team!
My family and friends call me Josel, I’m currently studying AB-Communication in Far Eastern University and I am on my way on the last semester of my college.
I started filmmaking 4 years ago, back in 2013, which mostly all the short films that I make I execute all by myself because I had a hard time finding friends who share the same interest in film, this became a challenge as I did the directing, cinematography, editing and even the production design in all films that I created.
A scene from ‘Caterwaul’
While studying on my second year in Far Eastern University (FEU), I joined an organization in my course, the FEU film society, which gave me an opportunity to make friends who share the same interest, which eventually the people I met became my team, Monster Piece, which I created as a group where all films that we create has a “Monster” in a symbolic, metaphorical and even literal way.
Q2. What is the inspiration behind this short film?
The inspiration for Caterwaul is a story I heard from a female friend of mine, that a female friend of hers went missing and got found, dropped using a van a couple of days later.
Rumor has it that the girl was drugged and was taken advantage of. This story affected me as I despise maltreatment of females in the society which also sparked an inspiration to send a message through the use of film. To be aware of the strangers we meet, to not to trust people so quickly and to show the reality of objectification experienced by women.
Q3. Could you share with us what your main challenges were in putting this together, and how did you overcome them?
The main problem that occurred is properly using the medium of film to show a tragic story of a girl taken advantage of which was supposedly only written by myself. I was really interested in making the film but felt uncomfortable of the story at first, being a man writing a film about a female character’s perspective on the delicate subject.
I struggled to find a way to solve this and all came out smoothly when I collaborated with my friend, Jennifer Leoncio, in writing the script, which gave a female’s perspective in telling the story, this gave the film a feminine feel on what teenagers say and react to in situations such as what is in the film and also the objectification of women in a female’s point of view.
Another problem I encountered was transcending the feeling of betrayal, from the film to the audience, which was experienced by the Victim character. This was solved when I thought of having the story lure the audience into thinking they are watching a purely erotic film but then takes a different turn right at the very last part of the short, which I am confident to say, makes the audience feel betrayed.
I had reservations in using “Male Gaze” in the language of cinematography and consulted my team first in pre-production. We came to the conclusion that it is was necessary evil to amplify the level of eroticism of the film and also provides the audience a peep-hole to the story of the characters.
Josel is one of the ten finalists of the Viddsee Juree Awards for the Philippines competition, a filmmaker community initiative to celebrate and support filmmakers and film communities in Asia. Check out the rest here.