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Arts Culture Kidlat Tahimik, FDCP Launch 'Unsung Sariling Bayani' Short Film Competition

Kidlat Tahimik, FDCP Launch 'Unsung Sariling Bayani' Short Film Competition

Film director Kidlat Tahimik with FDCP Chairperson Liza Bautista Diño Seguerra
Film director Kidlat Tahimik with FDCP Chairperson Liza Bautista Diño Seguerra
By Tatler Philippines
April 29, 2021
Renowned film director Kidlat Tahimik together with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) sheds light on the country's unsung heroes through the 'Unsung Sariling Bayani' short film competition.

The local film industry continues to thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On 27 April 2020, renowned filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) opened the Unsung Sariling Bayani (USB), a short film competition that seeks to highlight the country's "unsung heroes." 

In a statement, Kidlat Tahimik said that the recently launched contest may be at par with the influence of foreign comic books on the Filipino youth's mindset. "Let us go back to simple storytelling, I think we are all intelligent enough to see a positive value in somebody older or a hero who we think brings out the best in us," he said. 

"For me, this [contest] is a good catalyzer. We could focus on heroism and maybe redefining what heroism really means," he added.

More from Tatler: What Does It Mean To Be Original? Filmmaker Kidlat Tahimik Shares His Thoughts

Photo courtesy of FDCP
Photo courtesy of FDCP

The competition for Filipinos accepts shorts of any genre as long as they feature a story depicting the life, times, and achievements of documented and verifiable unsung local heroes. The entries must be five (5) to eight (8) minutes long, including the credits. 

The USB has three categories: Youth Category - Senior High Student (Public School), Youth Category - Senior High Student (Private School), and Adult Category (Aged 18 and above). The deadline for the submission of entries is on 11 October 2021.

The FDCP Channel will host the USB Online Film Festival from 11 to 17 November and will stream the Awards Ceremony on 14 November. Aside from the festival proper, USB will hold the FDCP Film School Basic Workshops on Filmmaking as well as the Storming with Kidlat: Usapang Bayani Forum wherein participants can converse with the National Artist.

Related: Filipino Filmmaking Has Unlimited Potential, Says Brillante Mendoza

Photo courtesy of FDCP
Photo courtesy of FDCP

According to FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño, there will be a total of 30 finalists selected for the USB. These contestants will come from the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Finalists will also receive cash prizes and free access to all educational events to aid in their filmmaking process.

“Through the guidance of National Artist and Father of Philippine Independent Cinema Kidlat Tahimik together with other esteemed Filipino filmmakers, I am confident that the USB finalists will take inspiration and motivation from Tatay Kidlat’s ‘bamboo camera filmmaking’ to promote the appreciation for lesser-known local heroes through short films,” said Diño.

Read also: FDCP To Host 1st Cut Lab Int'l Film Conference in Manila

Below are the competition's mechanics and guidelines: 


  • Time limit: Minimum of five (5) minutes to a maximum of eight (8) minutes, including credits
  • Genre: Any, in live-action, documentary, or animation
  • Language: Preferably Filipino. English or any native language is allowed, provided that there are subtitles in Filipino.
  • File format: Complete final cut and trailer must be submitted in 1080p, mp4 format, mixed in 5.1 audio formats. 


Stories that depict the life, times, and achievements of Filipino heroes (documented and verifiable - local heroes).

  • Local heroes recognized by the local government or by the provincial government units.
  • Local heroes that have significant acts or noble contributions to the country or their own communities, such as, but not limited to:
  • An initiative that has contributed to achieving the nation’s freedom
  • An initiative that has helped an individual or community achieve a life of freedom, peace, and prosperity
  • An act that helped save the life of an individual, especially one that involves risk to physical comfort, social stature, or quality of life
  • A notable form of service that helped an individual or community in times of adversity
  • A significant figure that has made relevant contributions or has introduced a positive change in his/her field. 

These people must have appeared at least once in literature, such as reference books, newspapers, journals, etc. Nationally recognized heroes who are not covered in the Festival are Jose Rizal; Andres Bonifacio; Emilio Aguinaldo; Apolinario Mabini; Marcelo H. del Pilar; Sultan Dipatuan Kudarat; Juan Luna; Melchora Aquino; Gabriela Silang; Lapu-Lapu; Antonio Luna; Gregorio del Pilar, et al.


The competition is open to all Filipinos and will have the following categories: 

  • Youth Category - Senior High Student (Public School)
    Open to all public senior high school students who are currently enrolled in the academic year 2020-2021(2nd semester) or academic year 2021-2022.
  • Youth Category - Senior High Student (Private School)
    Open to all private senior high school students who are currently enrolled in the academic year 2020-2021 (2nd semester) or academic year 2021-2022. 
  • Adult Category- Open to all filmmakers from ages 18 and above.


  • For the Youth Categories (Public and Private):

    Best Short Film - PHP30,000 + certificate each
    Best Director - PHP20,000 + certificate each
    Audience Choice Award - PHP10,000 + certificate each

  • For the Adult Category:

    Best Short Film - PHP50,000 + certificate
    Best Director - PHP30,000 + certificate
    Audience Choice Award - PHP15,000 + certificate

The 21 non-winning finalists will be given consolation prizes of PHP5,000 each + certificates. The winners and finalists will also get the chance to attend free training and workshops to be conducted by the FDCP after the competition.


Entries must be submitted on or before 11:59 pm on 11 October 2021 (Indigenous Peoples’ Day).


An Awards Ceremony will be held on November 14, 2021 (Sunday).

For more information on full requirements and entry guidelines, you may head to the FDCP's official website or send them an e-mail at with the subject heading “Query: USB 2021.” 


Arts & Culture Kidlat Tahimik Film FDCP Film Competition


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