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“Sulayman” Wins Big: Filipino Animated Film Triumphs at International Festivals

A Filipino animated short film based on a Maguindanao folktale has bagged awards from two international short film festivals.

“Sulayman” Wins Big at Florida Film Festivals

Created by Tuldok Animation Studios, the eight-minute short animated film “Sulayman” won “Best Animated Film” at the PENSACON Short Film Festival 2024, a prestigious fan community event celebrating genres like science fiction, horror, gaming, fantasy, and animation, held in Florida, USA. Additionally, it received the “Best Animation: Traditional” award at the FantaSci Short Film Festival, a shorts-only festival dedicated exclusively to fantasy and sci-fi genres, also held in Florida, USA.

Written and directed by Nelson “Blog” Caliguia Jr., “Sulayman” is a story that revolves around the sacrifices the heroes make to save others’ lives. The main character, Sulayman, uses his warrior skills, compassion, and dedication to fight against elements that disrupt the peace in his hometown. It is based on the Maguindanao folktale “Indarapatra and Sulayman.”

The short animated film was funded through the Innovation Grant Program of the Cultural Center of the Philippines, initiated by the CCP Board of Trustees, as a response to the global crisis affecting the creative industry during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown. Moreover, the program provides financial, technical, and educational support to local creative businesses, content developers, artists, and students.

“It is a big honor working for one of the major cultural institutions in the country. It is a feather in our cap to work with CCP,” said Blog. For a Filipino artist like him, partnering with the center definitely motivated and inspired him to work hard on the project.


Check Also: Filipino Film “Guardia de Honor” Premieres at Moscow International Film Festival


Overcoming Challenges


“One of the things I thought about is the technical requirements. Because I need to fit the story within a manageable timeframe and within the resources available,” explained Blog. With limited resources on hand, Blog and his team set their priorities straight. They decided to make the animated film concise and compact without losing the folktale’s elements and its cultural significance. He wanted to retain that “Filipino local vibe.”

While his other short films have won awards in local animation festivals and have been screened in other international festivals, Pensacon’s Best Animated Film award was his first international award. His previous works only concluded as finalists in other competitions.

Furthermore, optimistic about the future generation, Blog hopes that his journey and his win in the international arena will inspire young animators to create their own content rooted in Philippine cultures and help raise awareness of original Filipino animation. “Mas magandang mabigyan ng spotlight ‘yung mga locally paid animation projects made by actual homegrown Filipino artists,” concluded Blog.


Read Also: “Firefly” Illuminates the Beijing International Film Festival


Written by Marjo Piedad

Traveler | Foodie | CONTENT EDITOR
📍Cebu, Philippines
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