Filipino filmmaker, Benito Bautista, travels back and forth between California and the Philippines. He was one of over 30 finalists from around the world competing at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Asian Project Market (APM), which is designed to provide international funding for co-production deals. BIFF is an annual filmmakers’ event in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. After four grueling days of intensive pitch sessions, Bautista brought home the prestigious CJ Entertainment award for his new film project, Samuel over the Rainbow. The award comes in the form of an initial grant for $10,000, which goes towards project development with the potential to receive full funding for the entire film production as well as international distribution. With this win in Busan, the film industry is eagerly anticipating Samuel over the Rainbow. Bautista, inspired by true events that took place in Samar, wrote Samuel over the Rainbow. He mentioned, “It wasn’t until my casual discussion with good friend and brilliant actor Ronnie Lazaro that I realized the profound meaning and cinematic story of the Samar incident”.
Bautista has worked in various independent film productions both in the U.S. and in Manila, including director Gus Van He Sant’s Oscar-nominated film, MILK, starring Sean Penn and James Franco. He directed the award-winning documentary film, The Gift of Barong: a Journey From Within that is now part of Stanford University’s Stanford Program for International Cultural Education (S.P.I.C.E.).
His first feature narrative film, BOUNDARY, is the NETPAC Best Film winner at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2011. BOUNDARY also won the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature at the Guam International Film Festival in 2012. Bautista also has been nominated Best Director for BOUNDARY at the Gawad Urian Awards in 2012.
He also directed the internationally acclaimed documentary film entitled HARANA – the search for the lost art of serenade, which won several Audience Awards from international film festivals including the prestigious Hawaii International Film Festival in 2012. HARANA made its international premiere at the Busan International Film Festival in 2012.
Bautista received the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Indie Bravo Award in 2012 for creating films that received international acclaim and recognition. He is also a film program adviser at MINT College and in his spare time, is an avid surfer and cyclist.
His works include Samuel over the Rainbow which is a satire based on the true story of the invasion of an innocent fishing village in the remote eastern region of the Philippines in 2009. The invasion in the film is accidental and the reaction to the invasion is comically naïve and fleetingly dreamlike for the natives. The town falls under a spell; cocaine and magic mushrooms ruling this once quiet fishing community. Samuel over the Rainbow will be Bautista’s fifth directorial feature length film, co-written by Bautista and Ed Samson, and produced by Scene9.1 and Wanderlustprojectfilms. Shooting is scheduled to begin in June of 2014.
Bautista is currently filming Mumbai Love, a cross-cultural romantic comedy shot on location in India and the Philippines. This is about the love between a man and a woman literally from two different worlds, from two different countries and cultures, who will risk everything; even racial differences or age-old traditions because of their true love for each other. It is the story of the inter-marriage of two totally different cultures through love, fate and dance.
– Emy Abuan