About 10-year-old Annika and women empowerment
IAMANNIKA, a Filipino animated short film that promotes gender equality and women empowerment, tackles the long-persisting social discrimination against women through the lens of a 10-year-old girl named Annika.
Annika comes across a school requirement for her online class that leaves her pondering upon the normalized unrealistic expectations on women. With the guidance of her mother, whom she highly looks up to, the girl understands the role and strengths of women in the modern world.
“IAMANNIKA is more than just an animated film, it is a reminder that there’s still gender inequality and we must use our platform to spread this message in whatever way we can,” said director Dan Verzosa, a De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Digital Filmmaking student. “As a female artist, making art about it is my way to give light to the issue and fight for equal rights.”
The 20-year-old budding filmmaker believes that the voice of the next generation plays a crucial role in redefining the social issue. With the help of Annika’s character, she wishes to reach out to the younger audience who can be a significant part of this change.
Verzosa wrote IAMANNIKA with fellow Benilde Digital Filmmaking student Jean Evangelista. It was produced under Tuklaw Films, a team of young artists from diverse creative programs from different universities.
The film was brought to life through the animation works of Verzosa and Benilde Animation students CJ Casambros and Bea Acepcion, together with their head animator Ria Caluya from iAcademy and background illustrator Shane Sitchon from Far Eastern University Manila.
The five-minute short took home the Southeast Asia Audience Award in the recent Southeast Asia Competition of Short Animations – CRAFT International Animation Festival in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
CRAFT International Animation Festival has three parallel competitions: Southeast Asia Competition of Animation Shorts, International Competition of Stop-Motion and Traditional Techniques and Shorts for Kids Competition. The fest, which aims to celebrate craftmanship and talent amid authenticity, diversity, and physicality, received over 1,800 entries from 97 countries.
IAMANNIKA likewise bagged several awards in other contests such as Best Animated Film, Best Film Editing and Award of Virtue at Realifilm, organized by Adamson University’s Silip@Lente; top prize at the Safe Communities category of Global Peace Foundation and Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation’s short film competition; and was selected as part of the 16th International Student Animation Festival in Brazil and the ninth Seoul Guro International Kids Film Festival.
This empowering piece is the latest addition to Verzosa’s award-winning works. 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, while 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.