JMSC summer course helps filmmaker net prize at international film festival

A JMSC summer course on documentary filmmaking has helped a filmmaker from the Philippines win an award at an international film festival, with a documentary about the life of her 105-year old grandmother.

Curiosity, Adventure & Love was released in 2016 (Image credit: Town and Country Philippines)

Curiosity, Adventure & Love, co-produced and co-directed by Sunshine Lichauco de Leon and Suzanne Richiardone, competed in the “Filipino New Cinema” category of the 2016 World Premieres Film Festival, where it was awarded a Special Jury Prize for documentary.

Manila-based freelance journalist Lichauco de Leon flew into Hong Kong from the Philippines in 2011 to take the four-week summer intensive course in documentary production at the JMSC.

“I’d had the idea of the film in my head for a decade and taking this course gave me more confidence and a great overview of what it takes to make a film,” said Lichauco de Leon. “The hands on experience also really helped to de-mystify the process.”

Curiosity, Adventure & Love tells the story of Jessie Lichauco, who moved from the United States to the Philippines in the early 1930s and saw the country through a series of great transitions—from a flourishing American colony, through the Japanese occupation of World War Two, Philippine independence and subsequent evolution into a modern democracy.

The story also weaves in messages of wisdom and insights gathered by now 105-year old Lichauco along her life’s journey.

The film continues to be screened around the Philippines, and in the US by the Philippine Consulate in New York and the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC. It was also screened in Hong Kong by the Asia Society on 14 February.

Visiting Associate Professor, Nancy Tong, who taught the documentary course that Lichauco de Leon took in 2011, attended the recent Hong Kong screening.

Jessie moved to the Philippines from the US in the 1930s

“The screening was sold out and there were not too many dry eyes when the film was finished—it’s an inspirational story of love and compassion,” said Tong. “It took Sunshine seven years to finish this wonderful film. Great documentaries often take time and persistence.”

Lichauco de Leon is a freelance journalist based in Manila working for international media such as the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian and CNN.com.

Watch the trailer for Curiosity, Adventure & Love here and visit the website for the film here. You can also follow it on Twitter @nanafilm and Instagram here.

(Feature image credit: Wig Tysman – Jessie at 100, shot five years ago)