Sunday, January 11, 2009

Principal Photography: Dec. 13, 2008

Location: Global Leadership Hall, 4th Floor, Tiger Plaza, Korea University (Seoul, Korea)

About Technophilia: Film Treatment

This short film is about a young couple in the middle of a relationship crisis. Inside a hang-out place, the techie boyfriend is preoccupied by his Nintendo DS (just like the rest of the people engrossed with their own gadgets - laptops, mobile phones, iPods, mp3 players, PSPs, etc.); while the bored girlfriend seeks some attention from the game addict guy.

The look exudes some coldness and superficiality. The characters are boxed up by the technology and lifestyle that try to cover up their deeper emotions through the gadgets and entertainment devices they utilize.

Knowing that the film requires a techie physicality, the look of the film is very stylized - and in support to this is the sound design and musical score utilized very distinctively and in line with the film’s stylized concept about technology and gadgets. The shots generally exude linear movements. In the same way, the mise-en-scené is filled with straight lines, no much curves and waves. The colors are in the neutrals – whites, silvers, blacks, grays.

There is a tinge of quirkiness in the film – reflecting the techno, geeky, droll, and zany aspects that technology can bring. The robotic treatment renders a gadget factory feel. These are shown in the somehow exaggerated and considerably outlandish computer scenes of the couple and the robotic movements as seen on a number of shots.

About Technophilia: Film Statement

This 7-minute film is about how technology starts to shape people to become too dependent on it that relationships and lifestyles are altered, and later on, possibly destroyed. At one point by now, our interactions to other people are becoming as robotic as the machines we use.

After the first three months that I, a filmmaker from a developing country as the Philippines, lived in Seoul, I have walked going to places, I have ridden the subway, the bus, the taxi... I have met various people along the way. And with the technology now, one common thing noticeable is how much technology has affected people’s lifestyle. Most listen to music or watch TV from their mobile phones more than talking to their companion in the subway or bus. People walk with earphones plugged on their ears without much caution on the important sounds they might need like the beeping of an unanticipated fast-speeding motorcycle about to bump them on the road. Or perhaps, an iPod addict from the sidewalk not hearing an old special friend riding the bus and calling his attention (and they have not seen each other for the last 10 years). Indeed, relationships and the ways of life have been greatly changed by technology.

For a foreigner artist from Manila as myself, how much do I lose every time I go to Korean tourist spots when I rather shoot with my SLR and video cameras rather than enjoying the very presence, the very feel of being in wonderful places through my own eyes? How much do I miss on the experience?

How much time do people spend online nowadays? How much time do people allot for personal meetings? In this fast-paced era filled with much technological innovation, it’s great to have many choices to keep in touch including the internet, mobile phone, telephone, and the considerably obsolete snail mail (it still works on specific occasions). Greeting cards before, e-cards now. No need to go out to shop, just watch TV, dial the number, or surf the internet, key in the credit card number, and finish it with a click. In cars, the directions are provided by a piece of GPS-capable LCD screen. Lots of things are scan-friendly, touch-and-go, plug-and-play. Sensors and codes are used in lights, locks, and other security and convenient devices. There are so much things to do, there is too much work to finish. And it seems like there’s too little time. When could be the last moment a person yielded to the cliché of stopping for a bit and smelling the flowers?

Things are so easy, so convenient. Entertainment is mostly boxed up in gadgets. And in Korea, MP3 players and handyphones are now TV and small movie screens as well. One time, I was at the subway trying to observe people around, my imaginative mind actually saw a bunch of robots listening to their masters which turn out to be their mobile phones and mp3 players/iPods. People even miss out on the stations they should get off to because they are too preoccupied by what they’re watching. And by this time, I made this concept for the film. The story won’t say that technology is bad, it just wants to convey how technology should be in harmony with the way people should live their lives as human beings who feel, love, and appreciate the world more than just the convenience of every technological breakthrough. Human relationships are vital. Computers and gadgets should not rule the person. Rather, they should be utilized to make human lives better and more meaningful.

Quality time with a loved one should not be fully controlled by text messaging, voice calls, and video chats. Personal interaction should never be ignored.

There are moments that we should pause for a bit and realize how far we are digging into technology that we are starting to ignore too much on our relationships and what it means by quality time. Perhaps, we can keep both instead of falling too much on only 1 aspect and closing ourselves to it.