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Jerrold Tarog recalls triumph of "Confessional" at Osian Film Fest
by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
First-time actor and director Jerrold Tarog was recognized for his work on the mockumentaryConfessional, which tackles corruption. This film won as Best Film in the First Features Section of 10th Osian Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema in New Delhi, India.
In Confessional, Jerrold was tapped to play Ryan Pastor, the filmmaker who uncovers a complex world of politics and corruption. While shooting scenes in the colorful Sinulog festival of Cebu, the young man meets a politician (played by Publio Briones III) who promises to give him the scoop of a lifetime or what could possibly be a big hoax.
According to Jerrold, they deliberately chose not to cast a celebrity in the role of the filmmaker to maintain the illusion that the movie is a documentary. He actually had someone else in mind to play the part of the filmmaker but due to time constraints, he agreed to go in front of the cameras to be the lead star. Ruel Dahis Antipuesto was the film's cinematographer and is considered as Jerrold's co-director in the movie.
What made Confessional stand out among the 200 films that participated in the international film fest?
"Basta ang alam ko lang talagang sinadya namin iwasan yung usual na elements ng mga films na pinapadala sa ibang bansa, palaging may poverty, sex, gay sex," explains Jerrold during the July 24 press conference of Cinema One at the ABS-CBN compound. "Basta nag-isip lang kami ng ibang way para makapagkuwento. Although, aaminin ko, hindi ko ineexpect na magugustuhan ng people from another country but at least we made sure na wala yung usual elements na ganun."
What was the reaction of foreigners to his film?
"After ng screening [sa India], madaming nagsalita, madaming nag-comment. Pero ang pinakasummary ng sinabi nila, sobrang nakakarelate sila dun sa mga themes ng pelikula at saka kung ano yung mga nangyayari dun, kung anong nangyari sa pelikula, nangyayari dun sa India, particularly corruption. Nagustuhan nila yung fact na although mabigat yung subject matter, yung treatment magaan. Hindi ko inexpect yun na makakarelate sila."
It might come as a surprise but Jerrold is actually a graduate of the College of Music. He took up film theory courses while working on his Music Composition degree at the University of the Philippines-Diliman. He also enrolled briefly in the International Academy of Film and Television in Cebu.
Critics have observed that a lot of indie films being shown today tackle sex and homsexuality but Cinema One Originals project head Ronald Arguelles observed that Jerrold's film was able to shine abroad even without resorting to these themes. "We're happy that Confessionalbroke that mold—walang sex and walang poverty," says Ronald, who served as the executive producer of Confessional.
For winning in the Osian Film Fest, Jerrold took home a cash prize of $5,000 and a film grant of $20,000 for a future film. Confessional will be screened at Robinsons Galleria IndieSine starting August 13.