The Invisible Monster, a story of the Filipino spirit finding hope and happiness amidst poverty, loss, war, and hunger has won the Jury Award for Best Short Film from this year’s Festival Iberoamericano de Cortometrajes de ABC (FIBABC). Aminodin Munder, who played his namesake in the film, won Best Actor. The award was presented during the online FIBABC awards gala on December 14, 2020.
The 32-minute film was shot in post-conflict Marawi City with actual residents of Barangay Papandayan-Caniogan, starring as actors. The intent was to mobilize people against the extreme form of hunger – malnutrition, a disease that affects 4 million Filipino children. The film was directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Javier Fesser, and renowned writer and radio host Guillermo Fesser through collaboration with Action Against Hunger, a global humanitarian organization. The film is currently showing online until December 31.
Aminodin, along with Yasser Mama, one of the child actors, said “we are pleasantly surprised to know that we won an award. We express our gratefulness for being given the opportunity to be actors.” Aminodin, along with most of the actors, live and work in the dumpsite where most of the film was shot.
“I’m happy that the film won an award, I did not hope for this,” said Cawi Nasroding Mama who plays Aminodin’s father in the film. “It was hard shooting the movie because we had to do several takes.
“WHEN I SAW THE FILM, I SAW THAT IT WAS BEAUTIFULLY MADE… FOR ME, TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITIES, I WILL SUPPORT ANY INITIATIVE THAT WILL HELP MARAWI RISE AGAIN.” – CAWI NASRODING MAMA
Co-director Guillermo Fesser shares, “in the world there are two types of stories, those that impress and those that move you…the Invisible Monster wants to move you, so that it may remain in your memory.” He further states, “it shows the reality for thousands of children in the Philippines,” adding that “hunger is much more than just a food problem.”
“We wanted to show everyone through the film the invisible reality for a lot of Filipino children” said Dale Nelson Divinagracia, Fundraising and Resource Development Manager for Action Against Hunger. “The symptoms of stunting is not as evident as compared to acute malnutrition, but the effects are as severe: those affected may never attain their full possible height, have weaker immune systems, and their brains may never develop to their full cognitive potential. They will face learning difficulties in school and get sick more often. If not treated in the first 1,000 days of a person’s life, the effects of malnutrition are irreversible and will last that person’s whole life.”
On their collaboration with the humanitarian organization, Guillermo Fesser shares “we have realized that the invisible hunger, the chronic hunger, the constant and daily hunger is a social illness that is suffered in silence.” Javier agrees to this sentiment and adds, “we feel very privileged of being able to shout ‘action’, but against hunger, against injustice, against inequality.”
As the world’s hunger specialist for over 40 years, Action Against Hunger is in the frontline fighting malnutrition in nearly 50 countries providing life-saving aid focused on Nutrition & Health, Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene, Food Security & Livelihoods, and Emergency Response.