“Aninag” (“Light’s Play”)

a film grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
a film by Rianne Hill Soriano



Aninag Poster



Isabel journeys in a dreamworld with her new mystical friends "Saya" (Happiness) and "Pag-asa" (Hope)
in an attempt to overcome her isolation due to her blindness.


Isabel, a blind girl who journeys in a dream world formed through the emotions she feels, shortly plays with her new mystical friends “Saya” (Happiness) and “Pag-asa” (Hope). But soon, she is succumbed by her negative thoughts of becoming alone. Her life becomes endangered. And the question is: “how would she overcome her fear, helplessness, and depression in this struggling situation?”

“Aninag” (“Light’s Play”) is a 15-minute narrative shot in 35mm film. This short film plunges into the domain of a blind girl and her struggle to overcome her fear and depression. It promotes hope against the setback of interests of the incapacitated, the frustrated, and the depressed, who tend to lose hope because of the tribulations that come into their lives. The film provides particular appeal to the children audience.


This film was a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). Most of the film stocks came from Kodak Philippines through the filmmaker’s prize as Kodak Film Awardee 2003 of the University of the Philippines Film Institute with her thesis film “Karsel” ("Prison"). With the help from the production houses Filmex (through General Manager Von Villareal) through a number of short ends and lending of equipment and studio, and Production Village (through General Manager Mari Buencamino) through a number of short ends, the film was indeed blessed with a number of kind-hearted institutions and artists who were all willing to help out with this kind of independent film production.

The dream sequence of the film was inspired by the children’s storybook “Ang Ika-Sampung Taong Kaarawan ni Prinsesa Mayumi” (“Princess Mayumi’s 10th Birthday”) which the filmmaker originally wrote for the film. She dreams to publish the storybook in the future.


aninag photo


The children who acted for the film were from the Advocacy Program of the Museo Pambata (through the now Executive Director Maricel Montero). The people behind this production are all proud of the three kids who did a great job as first time actresses and actor for a film production.

Through the help of the Department of Environment and National Resources (Province of Rizal, Philippines), the City Hall of Antipolo and Municipal Hall of Rodriguez, Rizal, the bulk of the film (dream sequence) was shot at the historical site of the Wawa Gorge in San Rafael, Rodriguez (formerly Montalban), Rizal, Philippines, where the legend of Bernardo Carpio’s “Dalawang Nag-uupugang Bato” ("The Two Clashing Rocks") originated.

Additional details about the film can also be viewed at IMDB.com.

The Cast
Isabel - Patricia de Silva
Mom - Karla Pambid
Dad - Joel Torre
Pag-asa - David Trinidad Jr.
Saya - Rency Van Dorpe
Fairy dancer - Charisse Mara Luluquisin
Fear-fed shadowman - Iroy Abesamis

The Production Team
Screenplay and Direction - Rianne Hill Soriano
Director of Photography - Wowie Hao
Production Designers - Chrisel Galeno
and Joy Puntawe
Asst. Director - French Lacuesta
Editor - Ron Dale
Musical Scorer - Philip Arvin Jarilla
Audio Engineers - Jason Galindez
and Noel Bruan
Production Managers - Alda David, Rianne Hill Soriano,
and Mayleen Enorme-Meñez
Choreographer - Iroy Abesamis
Storyboard Artists - AG Saño, Rianne Hill Soriano,
and Philip Arvin Jarilla
Original storybook for the film - Rianne Hill Soriano
Storybook Artists - Ojay Desuasido
and Al Rio

More about the film

aninag photo  

The “light’s play” drew irony to the idea that “Isabel was blind but she sees herself completely in her dreams." The treatment pursued a simple cut to cut from start to end (without fades and dissolves, no special effects), and yet rendering the film in a justifiably “fantasy look” through cinematography and production design. Experimenting with lights and colors in the dream sequence, the film paved way for explorative venues mainly through play of light and powerful visual design.

The costumes of the two mystical kids were inspired by northern and central Philippine/Christian influences (Saya/Happiness) and southern Philippine/Muslim influences (Pag-asa/Hope). Accordingly, the film's music and dances were inspired by Philippine culture/traditions as well. The filmmaker's personal influences were also infused: showing the beauty of nature and the elements including fire (Saya with the torch/scepter), water (Pag-asa with the crown of seashells), air (the elemental fairy and the “talahib rain”), and earth (the rocks and the elemental shadowman) which were created into an ensemble honoring the culture of the Philippines and the richness of the environment as a whole.


The music and sound design paid much significance for the film as they were made in par with a fearful blind girl’s point of view. The music was recorded in a boarding house located within the very busy area of Krus na Ligas in Quezon City, Philippines. Amidst the lack of funds and resources, the production managed to record the music and dub additional lines by placing a number of clothes and cartons to all the windows to block the sounds of tricycles, cars, barking dogs, and other unnecessary sound/noise within the very active street. The musical instruments were borrowed from Kontragapi and other generous friends. All the musical instruments were played and recorded one by one/track per track by two people Chucky Aringoren (from Kontragapi) and Philip Arvin Jarilla (the film's musical scorer). Philip finished the mixing of the music in the same location. Some additional dubbing requirements were also there and another filmmaker friend's house. Additional foley, some dubbing, the final sound mixing, and the lay-in of all the sound requirements were done at LVN (through General Manager Nenita Eraña and Technical Operations Manager Carlos de leon).

Using Finalcut Pro, the video finish work was edited by Ron Dale at Giant Sponge Productions. After getting the cutlist from Cinema Tools, the negative matching was done at LVN. The opening and closing credits were shot at the animation table of LVN as well. The color grading of the 35mm print was done at LVN, while the telecine transfer and color grading of the video finish work were done at Optima Digital (through General Manager Pete Jimenez).





The renowned film and TV actor Joel Torre and character actress/commercial model Karla Pambid acted as the main character’s parents. Charisse Mara Luluquisin and Iroy Abesamis, both from the University of the Philippines Filipiniana Dance Troupe, played the roles of the fairy and the shadowman. Prior to the auditions, an initial dance workshop was conducted at Museo Pambata in order for the director and the choreographer (also the Filipiniana dancer Iroy Abesamis) to see the dancing skills of the children needed for the main and supporting roles. Museo Pambata and Sun for All Children were the two organizations handling the kids chosen for the roles – and they were very supportive of the project. Acting workshops rendered by the filmmaker and bonding sessions for the actors and actresses were also organized prior to the shoot in order to capture the best emotions for the film.
  aninag photo
  aninag photo

The film grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts was the main source of funding for the film. The filmmaker seek help from a number of philanthropists, politicians, and institutions in order to complete the money and resources needed to finish the film. She acquired a decent amount and received a number of production materials (film stocks, slightly used betacam tapes, VHS tapes, V8/Hi8 tapes, mini-DV tapes, quarter inch tapes, DAT tapes) through sponsorships and solicitations from: Kodak Philippines (using her prize of Php 30,000 worth of Kodak film from her previous film "Karsel/Prison" winning the Kodak Film Award 2003), Filmex, Production Village, LVN, and other supporting friends and institutions. She also acquired discounted rates/waived fees for production and post-production services at First Call, Cineforce, RSVP, Giant Sponge Productions, Optima Digital, and other supporting people and institutions.


Related articles and links about the film:


Aninag (Light's Play)
a film by Rianne Hill Soriano
All Rights Reserved. 2005.
All photos/artworks used in this page are owned by Rianne Hill Soriano.

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