Historical revisionism is confronted in award-winning student film

As the national elections is close to the horizon, 21-year-old student-filmmaker Dan Verzosa reminds the general public of the horrors of the nation’s past and the present threats of historical revisionism in her award-winning short film entitled Gapos sa Kadenang Walang Kandado.

Set in the present time, the six-minute monochromatic work immerses viewers into a mourning mother (Lita Colina) who longs for the return of her daughter (Ysabella Verzosa), a student-activist abducted during the Marcos era. As she grieves, she finds herself listening and reminiscing to the old cassette tapes that recount the sufferings of her child.

Initially written at the onset of the election period, Gapos sa Kadenang Walang Kandado is a prompt of the dark days in the Philippines, particularly when the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos imposed Martial Law, the era wherein a number of Filipinos suffered from violence, human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.

“History seems to be changed by the people in power, but it will never be forgotten by the family of the victims,” Verzosa expressed.

“Altering events that happened in the past or omitting them altogether only allows mistakes to be repeated,” she added. “It is especially dangerous nowadays when politicians exploit this revisionism to clean their names and mislead the people.”

Gapos sa Kadenang Walang Kandado is the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Digital Filmmaking (DFilm) student’s invitation to the viewers to consider the past to be able to make a choice for a brighter future.

“History is the best teacher; it was taught since our grade school years yet people still disregard it,” she stressed.

The student-artist hopes that her film motivates the viewers stand their ground in the upcoming elections. “Make the right decision,” she reiterated. “Our vote matters and we should not just vote for ourselves but for everyone. We should vote for our future.”

Gapos sa Kadenang Walang Kandado earned the Misha Boris Anissimov Award, a recognition named after the pioneer of the SineDisipulo X Film Festival, which was organized by University of San Carlo’s film organization CINEMATA.

Verzosa is no stranger to utilizing her creativity and platform in tackling some of the most pressing issues in our society. She was recently hailed as one of the Film Ambassadors by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) when her short animated film IAMANNIKA, which promotes gender equality and women empowerment, took home the Southeast Asia Audience Award at the Southeast Asia Competition of Short Animations – CRAFT International Animation Festival.

Her short film on extrajudicial killings entitled Malapit Na, ‘Nay! (Almost There, Mother!) swept awards at the 2019 CineMorayta Film Festival, 2020 Karapatan at Kabataan Film Festival, and 2020 CineMapua Film Festival.

Her Sala, Salin-Laway (Living Room Banter) was a Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) finalist and 2021 Manila Student Film Festival Best Film Awardee. Ang Awit Na Lipos Sa Pangungulila (A Song of a Yearning Soul) was one of the official selections in the 2021 Viddsee Juree Luzon and 2021 Nabunturan Film Exhibition.