Rising from the Ashes: TMA 2024 fuels Comm students’ embers of excellence

FEU Advocate
June 18, 2024 07:30

By Shayra Ayah S. Laja and Mariah Louise Miciano

Emerging victorious from setbacks, Far Eastern University (FEU) Communication (Comm) students turned their challenges into accomplishments deserving of recognition with the Tamaraw Media Awards (TMA) 2024 celebrating feats of the ‘COMMunity’ from all levels at the FEU Main Auditorium last Friday, June 14. 

The event, themed ‘Blazing Media Excellence,’ aims to ignite the passion within students to continue promoting advocacies in their work. The students persevered despite facing numerous obstacles such as limited resources, strict deadlines, and the external pressures in the field.

Outgoing Department of Communication (DepComm) Chair Herwin Cabasal claimed that the event continues to fuel the fire of media despite suppression and restriction of press freedom.

“We are trying to send a message na kahit may nangyayaring mga red-tagging, may nangyayaring mga (that even if red-tagging occurs, there are) issues in relation to our field, we will never lose hope. We will continue igniting that passion within us, to serve the Filipino people through media,” he  shared.

Additionally, newly-appointed DepComm Chair Christina Ustaris also stated that the students’ outputs take a stance against issues that undermine the ethics of the profession.

“We will see that most of the outputs are something that resist those things, they resist the press media being muzzled, they resist the freedom of speech being controlled. They will be the future, [and] they are part of it [media] now,” she stated.

Igniting aspirations amidst trials 

The recognition following the obstacles of long productions prompted the students to endure the smoldering battle towards their aspirations.

Aside from the satisfaction of finishing an immense project, they get the chance to find opportunities that would nurture their platform and would contribute to their own skills, personally and professionally. 

In an interview with FEU Advocate, scriptwriter and director of ‘Tumpak: Tamfact’ Carlos Lopez shared that their award, Best Special Project, proved how their struggles led to better outcomes amidst the revival of DepComm’s official news and current affairs center, FEU NewsdotComm (NDC).

“We had differences with each other, we had skirmishes with one another, and of course, it was a hindrance. It hindered us from doing what was expected of us. However, we set aside those, we come out great, we did great,” he shared.

Lopez also stated that their award serves as an achievement for their aspiring juniors in NDC and hopes to continue its legacy in pursuit of their unwavering principles and purpose. 

Fanning the flames of advocacy

Along with the long-awaited awarding ceremony, are the heartfelt messages and advocacies the students emphasize in their projects leading up to their moment of recognition.

Best Documentary ‘Pitik ng Paglaya’ Director Zedrich Xylak Madrid stressed the role of filmmaking as a compelling avenue in historical reflection.

“A medium is a powerful tool, it’s a good avenue for us to express our message to the audience. Sa case ng documentary namin (In the case of our documentary), it is important, too, that pictures are there to give a window into the past that will affect the present and future, pagbigay ng balik-tanaw sa mga nangyari noon para ‘di na mangyari ngayon (reflecting on past events to prevent them from happening again),” he explained.

Similarly, the director of Best Short Film ‘Revise,’ Earl Justimbaste, expressed that their win is a stepping stone to pursue their principle to inspire and share awareness.

“We want them to stay ‘woke.’ Maging mulat sa panahon ngayon… mahirap maging bulag at bingi so we want them to stay vigilant sa mga nangyayari [in the society] (To be aware to the current times… it’s difficult to be oblivious so we want them to stay vigilant with what’s happening in the society),” he said.

Both the Best Short Film and Best Documentary highlighted the oppression of press freedom that enveloped the nation during the Martial Law era.

These outputs also highlight stories that are significant not only to Tamaraws but also nationally.

Notably, Best Film ‘Bilanggo ng Kinahinatnan’ aims to urge people to take action by showcasing the experiences of war veterans and victims. Director Euxim Valonzo-Garcia stressed the importance of the film’s story in recognizing that wars end in a stalemate as no one wins wars as long as casualties prevail.

Kahit saang side ka (whichever side you are), victims are victims, people are people, and both sides are dying. At the end, sino ba talaga ang panalo kung lahat ay talo (who is the real winner if everyone loses),” the director expressed.

Showcasing the academic prowess of Comm students, Joella Vlen Camique and Andrea Mhae Calam bagged Outstanding Senior Communication Student in the Convergent Media Track and Digital Cinema Track, respectively.

The event also granted Daryl Sumadsad as the Photographer of the Year, Luis Romero as the Video Editor of the Year, and Jedidiah Laudencia as the Performer of the Year.

TMA is an annual event presented by the Department of Communication, FEU Communication Society, and the FEU Media Center. 

It highlights outputs by students throughout the academic year from their Communication courses, which are nominated and judged by their respective professors. 

These projects, ranging from films to papers, symbolize the student’s dedication to tackling and portraying social issues.

More than its awards, TMA empowers the students to embody the department’s mantra ‘May alam, may pakialam,’ fueling their purpose to be involved in remembering societal issues through their work and igniting their inner fire to persevere for their ambition. 

(Photo by James Neil Tamayo/FEU Advocate)