The Art of Mobile Filmmaking With Mikhail Red, Samantha Lee, and Pepe Diokno

A short masterclass in smartphone movie experimentation.

What happens when we put together the most dynamic filmmakers in the country and a bunch of smartphones? We still get pure cinema. 

For the Samsung “Untold Stories at Night” Festival, the brand relied on the award-winning filmmakers like Pepe Diokno, Samantha Lee, Mikhail Red, and more to shoot movies on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. An infatuation with "nightography" is in the heart of this fun little festival, guiding the directors to get the most out of light, motion, and detail even in low-light situations with Samsung's latest technology. And the results speak for themselves.

Siargao: Day & Night

Photo by SAMSUNG.

Diokno did a documentary for the festival. Siargao: Day and Night talks about the resiliency and triumph of the people of Siargao after Typhoon Odette. "Six months on, the island was already starting to bounce back. This is a film about how the island is coming back to life, from sunrise to sundown," he added. The movie follows the stories of various artists, businessowners, and residents of Siargao, as they pick themselves up again from devastation.



Photo by SAMSUNG.

Directed by Noel Escondo and Tristan Cua, Sinag follows a kid named Rafael in his journey toward his big ambitions. He hopes to get to the town's only bar to perform, going through various obstacles in between. Escondo and Cua also happen to represent Mobile Filmmaking Philippines, a community of dedicated filmmakers exploring new ways to make movies out of the medium.


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it was a love story (after all)

Photo by SAMSUNG.
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"As a queer Filipino woman, I spend a lot of time thinking why people like me are invisible in history. Where are all the women who loved other women? Were they forced to hide who they were and repressed their feelings out of fear?" Lee explained.

In it was a love story (after all), Lee thinks back to her own prom experience. "This movie is an attempt at giving all the women who came before me something I wish we all had a chance to do," she noted.

The film tackles the burden of loneliness, isolation, and regret. It offers us Lee's signature visual palette in short form, with distorted imagery and subtle, candid movement, as she puts her characters in a dream-like state. We witness the defiance of guilt and shame, and the beauty of the imagined worlds of nostalgia.


Photo by SAMSUNG.

Lumina is Red's first foray into cyberpunk. "It's a simple film about finding the light and escaping the darkness and our search for home. It's a sci-fi film, and as a filmmaker, I always have fun with trying out new genres," he claimed. "It's an ode to the genre of midnight television specials, cyberpunk night cities, and retro sci-fi."


In the short film, Lumina is a young girl who happens to evade not only a menace at a club she was partying at, but also some mean-looking intergalactic antagonists. She rides through Metro Manila on the back of a motorcycle with a complete stranger as she tries to escape foreign land. It's a story of ambition and adventure with some wicked-cool sci-fi action.

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Bryle B. Suralta
Assistant Section Editor
Bryle B. Suralta is the assistant section editor of Esquire Philippines.
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