Shim Mellord Abrio graduated from De La Salle College of Saint Benilde in digital filmmaking just two years ago. He now works as a freelance creative director, making mainly romance and drama themed films. We interviewed him about his short film ‘Felisa’, one of the films that made it to the top 10 finalists in Juree Philippines 2019 Awards.
Guilt and regret are emotions often paired with longing in familial relationships or pining for something that is lost.
In your opinion, are people in our generation aware of this unspoken experience of our elders’ longing?
Based on my observation, I think most people are either not aware of this or are choosing to ignore it as they’re preoccupied with other things in life. Many of us tend to take our parents for granted thinking they will be here for us no matter what.
You described ‘Felisa’ as a deeply personal story to you. Could you elaborate on your process, such as how you came to develop the characters in this film, in seeing this from a different POV, ie Felisa’s?
Felisa is the representation of a mother who has unconditional love and is willing to sacrifice anything for her children. While Leah and Lino reflect my generation today. We sometimes hurt our parents unconsciously through actions we take lightly.
Felisa’s caretaker, Stella, was my interpretation of the family you can’t seem to call your own. Although Felisa longed to see her children, she knew she had to face the reality of life. That is the reality that her children now had their own lives.
Tell us more about your cast and crew! It looks like you’ve invested significant efforts into directing and scripting.
My production team is made up of my block mates and closest friends in college. I’m really grateful to have the chance to work with them and witness their talents. This film wouldn’t have been possible without their feedback.
It was truly a pleasure working with the cast as well. They understood my vision and really gave justice to the story. They also gave me a lot of variations of how they wanted to attack each scene. I learned a lot from them and will treasure this experience.
What was your main challenge creating this film and how did you tackle it?
‘Felisa’ was my thesis film. I had to take in a lot of criticism in its developmental stages. Finally, I decided to retain what I originally had in mind after considering the feedback.
Of course, I was still criticised because people will always have different perspectives. But the feeling of satisfaction when you are able to deliver the message you want is irreplaceable.