SA AMONG AGWAT (IN BETWEEN SPACES)
by Don Senoc
Jun is a farmer who lives near a pineapple field with his mother Dita and his brother Mako. His aunt from Manila who can’t bear a child offers to adopt Mako with a promise to give him a good life. Jun and Mako face their impending separation and think of ways they can spend every minute together.
Don Senoc is a regional filmmaker from Mindanao and a product of the University of the Philippines Film Institute where he graduated Cum Laude last June 2018. In his film education in UP, he had written and directed several short films that received recognitions from local and international film festivals. His film “Daluhong” was part of Salamindanaw Asian Film Festival 2017. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Cinematography during the Mindanao Film Festival 2017. He also represented the country in Thailand International Film Destination Festival 2017 and shot his short film “Sound of Colors” in Thailand. He is also one of the finalists of the first SineKabataan Short Film Competition during the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino 2017 for his film “Delayed si Jhemerlyn Rose” which won Jury Prize that year.
Don Senoc co-founded Film Producers Society, an organization which aims to uplift Philippine Cinema by providing avenues in which films that champion and reflects the artistry and talents of Filipinos can reach wider Filipino audience through strategic marketing and distribution plans. Films like “Patay na si Hesus,” “Kita-Kita,” “BuyBust,” “Ang Panahon ng Halimaw,” and “Si Apple at si Chedeng” were their first projects. He continues his passion for filmmaking and writes script for Spring Films and other filmmakers.
The film is heavily influenced by the filmmaker’s childhood and experiences with his family. As someone who almost lost his younger brother for an adoption, the anxiety about losing someone remains fresh for the filmmaker and this film is his attempt to convey that feeling. Being set in Mindanao, the film makes it more personal for the filmmaker and easier for him to create a connection with the story.
The filmmaker does not only intend to make “Sa Among Agwat” heartwarming and inspiring, but he wanted to inform the Filipinos about June and Mako’s story which exists in many of the far-flung provinces of Mindanao. Many of our farmers from Mindanao suffer from different forms of violence. The government’s failure to address the issues on land grabbing and distribution has led to many adverse effects to our farmers and the children are mostly affected. The story of the two brothers in “Sa Among Agwat” is only one of the few effects of it. June, the older brother in the story, never got the chance to go to school. He has no choice but to let go of his brother while he remains as a farmer in the province and a slave of these hacienderos and businessmen driven by greed and money. Mako, the younger brother, is forced to leave his family only because they want him to escape poverty. The film aims to inflict pain and sadness to its audiences because it mirrors the situation that our farmers have to face every single day under a system that exploits them.