Study Eleven: Space Exploration (2017) is an experimental short about how our immediate physical reality can serve as a gateway towards our inner lives that house our memories and creative inspirations. I was in a tent on a beach camping trip when I shot this film. Watching it now takes me back exactly to how I felt on that rainy day – I was happy.

I relished taking ferries to Hong Kong’s many outlying islands. Now I see that the four long shots that compose Study Twelve: Elephant Island (2017) are like affectionate gazes from a lover.

The experimental documentary Study 13: Classes Suspended (2017) portrays the experience of attending a protest as a universe in itself. The film organically intermingles constellations of realities – students, workers, children, street food vendors, activists, bystanders, artists, freethinkers, musicians, bicyclists, dogs, performers, priests and nuns, etc. – that compose the spirit of the political rally. Interweaving with this candid visuality are emotive public speech (e.g., chants, slogans, personal testimonies, instructions, hashtags, jokes) and music (e.g., protest songs, the national anthem, ethnic instrumentals). Ultimately, this film distills the insight that protest is a form of universal engagement with our fellow living beings whose hearts resonate hope for a more compassionate world.

The poetic documentary Study 14: Academic Oval, a Meditation (2018) features my alma mater, the University of the Philippines-Diliman (BA Psych, MA Film) as a haven for intellectual curiosity. In this film, the walk by the invisible but cinematic experiencer opens a gateway towards a contemplation of meaningful objects and scenes that make up university life. It takes us back to a time when we first learned about the realities of the larger social and human conditions. It was a period of transformation, when everything was possible, when we realized that we could strive for a world that was more equal and just.

The city symphony film Study 15: Transit (2019) portrays commuter life on autopilot. It exhibits co-existing experiences within the city especially through the bus stops that act as tableaus. These momentary frames evoke a sense of yearning for interconnectedness yet as the vehicle leaves the spot, the film also makes present the difficulty to achieve this resonance amidst the busy-ness of daily life and the business of living.

The abstract documentary Study 16: Morning Waltz (2019) interplays three elements: (1) dash cam footage of an early morning commute, (2) music that elevates the everyday routine into dance, and (3) video clips of space from the NASA Archives. It speaks to our occasional experience of transcendence when we do repetitive tasks. This trance-like state opens up possibilities for genuinely creative inspiration in both our inner and outer worlds.