Best climate change films win at 6th Indie-Siyensya

Excitement and anticipation surrounded the halls of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) last February 25 as the 6th Indie-Siyensya Filmmaking Competition organized by the Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) marked its first physical awarding ceremony after almost three years and two seasons of virtual runs.

“K5: Katutubong Kahoy Kontra Krisis sa Klima” directed by Celine Murillo bagged the best film award for the open category. The mini-documentary film discusses how planting native trees, while limited, is an important nature-based solution for mitigating the climate crisis. 

The second best film for the open category was awarded to “Climacts” by DOST-SEI scholar and De La Salle University student Kyle Carlo Lasala. “Climacts” is a documentary that highlights the root cause and drastic effects of climate change. It features existing and developing actions with an emphasis on systemic change. 

Meanwhile, “Marka ng Pawikan,” a film directed by Humphrey Mark Gian Francesco Torcuator, a captivating film that shows how climate change directly affects the pawikan brooding and survival, causing detrimental effects to their species, received the award for the third best film for the open category.

For the Youth category, “Tanaw Juan” directed by Yashmen A. Gerez of Quezon Science High School won the Best Film Award. The movie was praised for its powerful storytelling, compelling character, and ability to raise awareness of the impacts of climate change in everyday life. It follows the story of Juan who goes through his normal daily routine and casually explains scientific concepts and phenomena surrounding climate change with various encounters throughout his journey. 

The team’s concept of climate change expression and communication is delivered in an interactive, engaging, and fun way transitioning into a motivational mood for a call for action as the film’s ending statement.

The power duo of sisters Sophia and Felizia Shayn of De La Salle University and Marcelo H. del Pilar won the second-best film under the youth category for their entry “Marvels of Science: Climate Change.” Their explainer tackled climate change’s impact on life, the environment, and the entire world.

The film “Sirak” by Charles Joshua Uy of Philippine Science High School-Eastern Visayas Campus snatched the third-best film award for the youth category. “Sirak,” a Waray word that means sunny, is an explainer film that communicates climate change through the greatest common denominator, the heat felt by humans.

Also bagging trophies and cash grants were crowd favorites “Climacts” and “Tanaw Juan” for winning the Viewers’ Choice Award for the Open and Youth category. These films garnered the most votes gathered during the physical voting held at Cinematheque Centres last January 21 and 22 and online voting held last January 28 to February 6.

3D trophy, cash prizes

All top three films for each category received a clapper back-designed 3D trophy, a certificate, and a cash grant. The best films were given P100,000 while the second and third-best films received P50,000 and P30,000, respectively. Finalists also won P5,000 each, while the Viewers’ Choice Awardees claimed a cash grant of P20,000, a certificate, and a trophy.

DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr emphasized the importance of science communication in national development, anchored in research that is impactful, useful, and relevant to society. 

“Through the Indie-Siyensya Science Filmmaking Competition, we hope to highlight the important role of science for national development, encourage our students to pursue meaningful STEM careers, and contribute to forwarding important causes and moving people into positive action,” Solidum added.

DOST-SEI Director Josette T. Biyo also thanked all the filmmakers for making this year’s Indie-Siyensya run a special one as it gathered more than 200 film entries, a record high since the competition was launched. She also thanked DOST-SEI’s partner, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), for being instrumental in popularizing science films through film screenings in Cinematheque Centres and the online viewing platform JuanFlix.

“We give thanks to our young Filipino filmmakers, who were brave enough to participate and take the challenge to be part of Indie-Siyensya’s movement to use films to communicate science and forward social and scientific advocacy,” Dr. Biyo said.

Indie-Siyensya, which aims to promote science communication and provide a platform for young filmmakers to highlight their work, featured thought-provoking films that tackle encompassing topics on climate change—from its threatening impact to helping mitigate its effects and offering solutions all related to the theme “Communicating Climate Change Action.” The top three best films from each category stood out from 267 entries from across the Philippines.

The Indie-Siyensya Film Festival is expected to return in the second quarter of the year. (DOST-SEI Media Relations)