IAS student to compete in 2021 Austin Film Festival

FEU Advocate
October 21, 2021 04:13

Far Eastern University Institute of Arts and Sciences (FEU-IAS) student-screenwriter Euxim Emmanuel Garcia to participate in this year’s Austin Film Fest (AFF) with original screenplay, “Asin.” 

A screenplay featuring extrajudicial killings (EJK), Asin follows the story of an ordinary family's eldest son being falsely accused of drug dealing by the police. It is one of the 14,648 submissions across all categories that made it through to the 2021 AFF Screenplay Competition. The AFF, a prestigious film festival based in Austin, Texas will take place on October 21–28.

Garcia is currently taking up his 2nd year as a Bachelor of Arts in Communication student, majoring in Digital Cinema. Although the screenwriter is only 18, he has not allowed his young age to limit him.

Despite being relatively new to the screenwriting industry, Garcia bagged “Best First Time Screenwriter” at the 2021 Košice International Film Festival in Slovakia, while Asin  garnered international acclaim, including being a finalist on “The Best Short Script” category in The 2021 Best Script Awards in London and the 2021 Prague International Film Awards, becoming one of the official selections at the 2021 Rome Prisma Independent Film Awards, the 2021 American Screenwriting Conference, and the 2021 Arkadia Studio Screenwriting Contest in Italy. 

In an interview with FEU Advocate, Garcia shared that Asin was actually his first formal screenplay. He wrote the screenplay as a personal project in high school, wanting to write about current issues and pursue his passion for writing and the arts. 

Originally from Nueva Ecija, Garcia explained that the screenplay was written when he was a newcomer to Manila. At the time, news reports of local EJK cases were on the rise. He recounted the time when a student’s father was shot just outside his school, realizing that EJK was a nationwide issue. 

Aiming for his story to portray a hyper-realistic depiction of the gruesome killings, Garcia researched extensively through news reports and online articles. For him, the main appeal of Asin was how close it resembles reality.

“The best part of writing for me is the fact that I can educate my readers and my audience,” Garcia added.

When asked what was Garcia’s biggest enemy when writing, he shared that when he writes, he usually focuses on the flow of his story and often overlooks the technicalities. When re-reading his draft,  he is regularly greeted with a ton of typographical and spelling errors that he missed.

Despite these, he needed to persevere, so Garcia spends days refining his drafts to make sure the final screenplay is spotless and cohesive. Persevering through the stress and frustration of revising his screenplay was a difficult yet necessary step he needed to do before setting his screenplay free into the world.

At first, Asin was a passion project that Garcia wrote, a story that he needed to tell—he did not expect his story to win multiple international awards. He was only initially eyeing the 2021 Los Angeles Shorts International Film Festival but decided he ought to try submitting his work to different Film Festivals as well, where Asin bagged its awards.

For now, Garcia is planning to concentrate on finding funds for Asin so it can be turned into a film. He is also currently working on another screenplay that delves into the current struggles of Filipino farmers.

With pen in hand and stories to tell, Garcia advises fellow aspiring screenplay writers to follow their visions.

“It’s your story. You have the final say kung anong ilalagay mo sa story mo (on what to put in your story). So always trust your vision, always know your vision,” he said. 

- Mikaela Anne A. Laxa and Maxine Alessandra B. Turiano

(Photo courtesy of Euxim Garcia)