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Alba Iulia
Monday, January 18, 2021

Finding Keshi: an interview with an aspiring Filipino-Australian filmmaker

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Felino Dollosohttps://felinodolloso.wordpress.com/
FELINO DOLLOSO is a Filipino-Australian actor. He has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and is a graduate of the Victorian College of the Arts Melbourne University. As an actor, he has worked in TV, Film, and stage/theatre in Australia.

Keshi Sacdalan is an aspiring Filipino-Australian filmmaker who loves to collaborate and explore the realms of both fiction and non-fiction. 

Passionate about creative and culturally rich projects, especially those where she can share the Filipino culture, Sacdalan is a Melbourne-based filmmaker who is eager to champion stories close to her heart, and explore uniqueness and give light to a new perspective on migrant stories.

From what age did you know of your great interest in directing/filmmaking? What was your first film project?

I was 21 years old. I know it hasn’t been too long; it was only two years ago. I actually used to be a business student but I’ve always enjoyed making videos and film parodies with my classmates since high school. I also love writing stories so I guess the creativity has always been with me.

I eventually realised my true passion and made my first thriller short film “IVY” after taking the Diploma of Screen and Media course.

What are the films that you have been involved in here and overseas?

With films, I’ve mainly worked on student and passion projects like:

  • “Hayat”, directed by Renda Haj, a short doco about a Muslim refugee family in Melbourne
  • “This Is Not A Fish”, directed by Samara Lucich
  • “Blood Quantum”, directed by Matthew O’Leary, a short doco inspired by Aboriginal stories

I also directed my own short doco this year called “A Family’s Dream” which features the story of a Filipino migrant family in Australia.

Of the work you listed, which one would you consider your favourite or the best one you have undertaken so far?

It’s really hard to choose one, to be honest. Every single film that I’ve worked on are really interesting to me and entails a wonderful story. But I guess if I have to choose one favourite, I’ll choose my latest project “A Family’s Dream”, mainly because I worked on it during an unprecedented situation (COVID-19 lockdown). It was very challenging. We had to compromise and change our plans. But we managed to finish the project so it was very memorable to us. The story itself is also something very close to my heart.

Who would you credit as having the greatest influence on you and in what you do? Who would you select as the most enjoyable person/s you have worked with and why?

It’s not a specific person, but a group. They are called “2NE1”. They’re not filmmakers but a group of K-Pop idols from South Korea. They’re very talented and hardworking people who helped me realise what my own passion is. They also taught me to work hard and never give up. They are more of an inspiration to me, to be honest.

It’s hard to choose a specific person, or even a group of people. To be honest, I’ve been lucky enough to work with fun and talented people every single time. I’m also really enjoying working with the crew that I’m with right now.

What project are you currently working on? What are planned in the next five years?

I’m currently working on my graduate short film “Aswang”. It’s a horror-drama short film inspired by a Filipino folktale about aswangs, which many Filipinos would be very familiar with. We’re planning on sending it to various film festivals and I’m also hoping for my fellow Filipinos to support our film.

I’m also involved with another Filipino short film. It has to be put on pause due to the lockdown but hopefully, we can continue working on it soon.

In the next five years, I’m planning to continue working on culturally diverse and inclusive projects. One of them is a short doco but it’s still in the early pre-production stage.

What was the most enjoyable/best part of your career so far?

My career hasn’t been that long but I’m really enjoying working on my current project “Aswang”, mainly because I’ve finally found my voice and what I really wanted to do as a filmmaker. I’m also using this opportunity to feature fellow Filipino creatives by using Filipino-made artworks. It gave me a chance to meet more Filipino creatives that I can work with again in the future so it’s been very enjoyable so far.

What else would you want to accomplish?

I want to collaborate with fellow filmmakers who have the same passion and of course, with fellow Filipino filmmakers and creatives, whether it be by writing, directing or producing.

Do you have any projects coming up?

COVID-19 lockdown has slowed down many projects but my short doco “A Family’s Dream” would hopefully be made available to the public next year.

What advice would you give to other aspiring Fil-Aussie Directors/Filmmakers who are still trying to establish themselves in the filmmaking industry?

To be honest, I’m also still establishing my career in the filmmaking industry. It’s a very competitive industry. A lot of hard work and sacrifice must be made and not many will succeed. But if you really love filmmaking, if you still enjoy it despite all the hardships, don’t give up. And whenever you feel like giving up, go back and try to remember why you wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place.

I’m not sure if it’s effective advice but that’s what keeps me going in this industry.

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