Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — A Filipino filmmaker has been awarded with the inaugural Short Film Commissioning Grant of The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Global Student Accommodation (GSA).
Twenty-four-year-old New York Film Academy student Drama Del Rosario — whose short film “In This Family” was shortlisted at the 2018 BAFTA Student Film Awards — won the grant on July 9 for his documentary, “I’m Okay (And Neither Are You).” Lola Blanche Higgins from AFI Conservatory was also awarded for her short film “Kissy and the Shark.”
Winners of the 2019 BAFTA-GSA grant are required to use the funding to create a film on well-being. “I’m Okay (And Neither Are You)” documents Del Rosario’s year-long recovery from sexual assault and suicide ideation, and the strain this trauma puts on his and his boyfriend’s mental health.
Today, there is still a lot of stigma surrounding male sexual assault. Despite research suggesting that at least one in six men have experienced sexual abuse and assault, cases still go largely unreported due to gender biases.
In an email interview, Del Rosario says he chose to make the film because he felt that “we need to hear a story about sexual assault trauma from the perspective of a male queer couple.”
“I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who has gone through something like this,” he says. “I’m fortunate enough to know how to use a camera and to have people around me who don’t judge me for putting my story in front of a camera. So to some degree, it becomes a responsibility to share this story when things like this happen to you as a documentary filmmaker.”
The film also explores the culture of shame and silence on mental health in the Philippines, and how many still find religion and prayer to be an appropriate remedy.
Del Rosario is still in the process of finishing the film, with the funds from the grant going to post-production and marketing. Once the film is completed, GSA will screen it to students around the world.
“[I’m] also planning to do festivals,” says Del Rosario. “Non-profit organizations are [also] helping me do a non-theatrical run in schools around LA, which I think will really hit the target market of this film.”
Watch the teaser to the film below.