Just learned that Auraeus Solito, director of Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and Tuli, has created a movie about Philippine Science High School aptly called Pisay. (That’s the official nickname of PSHS, and nothing else.)
Even better is that the film is a finalist in the 2007 Cinemalaya Film Festival. According to a Pisay blogger, the full-length movie finalist won the best script and hence received funding from Cinemalaya. A measly sum of five hundred thousand pesos, to be exact. Not enough? You bet.
Here’s the plot from the filmfest website:
Amidst the chaos of Martial Law in this Third World country in the 1980s, six teenagers in the top high school for the sciences discover themselves as they go through the joys and pains of adolescence. They were the top two hundred students from all over the Philippines who passed the examination for the Philippine Science High School, which was created for the purpose of giving an education highly enriched in the Sciences to exceptionally gifted Filipino children. Selected from the best and brightest from all over the country, they endure college-level courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics from their sophomore year onwards. Those who can make it are hailed as the future science and technology leaders of the New Republic, those who don’t are deemed unfortunate victims of natural selection. They all learn however that they are neither isolated from the real world, nor are they exempted from living real lives. They find the world outside, erupting into the People Power revolution in 1986 against the Marcos dictatorship, being replicated within the school as they struggle to graduate, contend with teachers, classmates, family, school officials, and a new classification to segregate students meeting the high standards of excellence from those who do not.
Exceptionally gifted? That’s debatable: talent is what you do with what you have. There’s no better place to learn that than at Pisay.
Also found this snippet from an interview online:
LP: What is next for Aureaus Solito? You know you will have to travel a lot again this year for the Worldwide festival run of Tuli, how are you preparing yourself for this….?
AS: The Good news is my 3rd film is a finalist and got funding for the 3rd Cinemalaya Independent film festival (which funded “Maximo”). PISAY will be my 3rd film, about my high school alma-mater Philippine Science High School during the 80s. We were actually the first batch that graduated in a free government, in 1986 during the People power revolution which ousted the dictatorship. For a change Filipino students will be portrayed as brilliant and sensitive, and not the usual Pinoy “high school” genre where students are portrayed as stupid and apathetic.
For the record, PSHS students are expected to pursue a career in science/technology in one’s Motherland but obviously, Solito chose a different path. But those are issues for another day.
I’m sure many will be annoyed by a film that glorifies arrogant high school nerds who pay no tuition, get monthly stipends, and use hardbound, imported college textbooks and other facilities funded by taxpayers, only to fail miserably in college and later in life. But you know what? Not everyone is like that, and it really depends on the person and not the school you came from. It’s about time somebody looked inside the minds of Pisay scholars. I just hope the film will do all Pisay students justice.
Here’s proof that tabloids are NOT credible at all:
Si Auraeus Solito (ng Maximo Oliveros) ay nagkaroon na ng pre-production work sa kanyang pelikulang Pisay. Sinasabi ng taga-CCP na “Pinay na taga-Pasay” ang ibig sabihin ng titulo.