Nespresso Talents 2021: The Good News from Vertical Filmmaking


Be a force for good–this was the mission for aspiring and professional filmmakers alike for this year’s Nespresso Talents hosted by Nespresso Philippines.

On its 6th edition, the theme of Nespresso Talents 2021 focused on “Doing Is Everything.” Rooting from the challenging realities we’ve been faced with, it conveys that even the smallest action can create an extraordinary positive change in the lives of others.

Nespresso Talents 2021 - Philippines
Nespresso Talents 2021PhilippinesAwarding

At the recent virtual awarding ceremony hosted by Lexi Schulze, the international vertical filmmaking competition showcased the extraordinary talents from the national/ Philippines category and awarded the top three winning entries.

I was amazed once again with the quality of the films, especially considering the pandemic that we are unfortunately living in today. They (films) have been a source of inspiration and there was this great value in them. These films helped me understand the Filipino culture better. And so I encourage everyone to visit the Nespresso Talents website at to see all the amazing films in the Philippines, and across the world,” shared Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development Manager Fabio de Gregorio

While the task for the participants was to share their stories through vertical film, it was also a challenging feat for the local jury to deliberate and narrow down the finalists from the number of promising entries received. Assessed with the expertise of award-winning director, screenwriter, and author Jose Javier Reyes, multi-awarded filmmaker Quark Henares, renowned actress, producer, director, screenwriter, and author Bela Padilla, along with Novateur Coffee Concepts Managing Director Patrick Pesengco and Nespresso South East Asia Regional Business Development Manager Fabio de Gregorio, these are the top three films in the Philippines:

Nespresso Talents 2021 Awarding
Nespresso Talents 2021 Online Awarding Ceremony with the Judges and Media
Quark Henares
With Quark Henares, one of the judges

The grand winning film for this year is Napamata Ako sa Sadit na Kinaban (I Woke Up On A Little Planet) by Arjanmar H. Rebeta. A man wakes up on a little planet and doesn’t find anything that interests him, so he sleeps on it. Eventually, he realizes that he should have started taking action from the very beginning because the planet depends on the person living on it. A first for Nespresso Philippines–the film is part of the international shortlist.

“Nagpapasalamat po ako kay Direk Joey dahil nung narinig ko mga sinabi niya kanina, naiyak ako kasi naramdaman kong naipahayag ko pala ng maayos yung pelikula kasi somehow, istorya ko rin siya ngayon pandemic. Lumiliit mundo mo, pero lumalaki yung kalungkutan sa atin–mas merong nakakaramdam ng depression, ng anxiety. Pero mas dadaig pa rin yung pakikipag-laban, na magpatuloy ka dahil babalik pa rin si normal. Hindi man ito tungkol sa pandemic–tungkol man ito sa buhay–babalik at babalik ka, lalaban at lalaban ka,” Arjanmar shares. “Ironically, sa tema na Doing is Everything, sa panahon na walang magawa, nabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na makagawa ng ganitong klaseng pelikula.

(I would like to thank Direk Joey–I was touched hearing his words because it made me realize that I was able to convey the film’s message which is somehow my story during this pandemic. As your world gets smaller, the feeling of emptiness gets bigger–there are some who would go through depression, anxiety. But our eagerness to forge ahead will always prevail. It (the film) may not be about the pandemic–it may be about one’s life–you will always move forward. Ironically, in a situation where our movements are limited, working on a film that revolved around the theme Doing is Everything allowed us this opportunity to work on something boundless.)

Best Film, Nespresso Talents 2021
Best Film, Nespresso Talents 2021
Nespresso Philippines
Best Film Screenshot: Napamata Ako sa Sadit na Kinaban (I Woke Up On A Little Planet)
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines Winner
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines Winner Arjanmar H. Rebeta

The second placed film is Ma, by Dexter Paul De Jesus, showing a son’s longing to spend time with his mom who hasn’t come home for months due to her job as a medical worker.

The third placed film is Special Delivery by Gerald Foliente (Sinematika Inc.). A story of a delivery man who gets into a minor accident and feels the pain it brought him, but it doesn’t hinder his determination to finish his deliveries for the day. The pinwheel he’s been carrying since he started the day was broken, but he made sure to fix it. He returns home, handing a surprise to his son.

The grand winner received a cash prize (PHP) equivalent to 1,500€, followed by 1,000€ for the runner-up, and 500€ for the third placer. All three winners received Nespresso machines and coffees on top of a well-deserved trophy.

The other local finalists were:

  • Mr. Everything by Romel Cabuguang: A tutor, an illustrator, a barber, an online seller–a 25-year-old Rommel Royo wears many hats so he’s able to support his mom and brother.
  • PR 3953, NOW BOARDING by John Thomas Trinidad: Despite a daughter having a conflict with her dad, even the smallest bit of giving him a neck pillow shows how much he means to her.
  • Waves by Ian Palomar: Musical depiction associating sea and waves with a person and life’s struggles.
  • PARA UMA (farmer) by John Kenneth Paclibar: A visual and realistic portrayal of a Filipino folk song, “Magtanim ay di biro (Literal translation: Planting is not a joke),” which talks about the challenges in the lives of farmers. The ending shows the average age of farmers.
  • SAKA NA (SOMEDAY) by Cheska Marfori: Two sisters put their dreams aside and take on different paths in life to support their parents’ farming jobs.
  • Bahay-bahayan (Playhouse) by Xyron Parapara: A deaf kid expresses his love towards the people around him through actions.
  • 150+ Heads by Bennel Canlas: Gio DiAntonio, who lives in a shelter for street kids, finds joy as the official barber of those with him. During the pandemic, a friend sought his support in giving free haircuts to nearby areas.
Nespresso Talents 2021 2nd Place
Ma, Nespresso Talents 2021 2nd Place
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines 2nd PlaceMa
Nespresso Talents
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines 3rd Place: ” Special Delivery
Gerald Foliente
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines 3rd Place Winner: Gerald Foliente (Sinematika Inc.)
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines
Nespresso Talents 2021 Philippines 3rd Place: ” Special Delivery

Throughout the competition, Nespresso Talents Philippines received 71 film entries, establishing that the competition is getting further recognition in the country. Combining local and international submissions, 993 filmmakers participated in the global competition of Nespresso Talents 2021. The prerequisite for every film submission was it should be in vertical format (9:16) with the length of 2 minutes minimum and 3 minutes maximum, in any genre.

The international winners was announced last July 9 at Nespresso Talents website,

In the Philippines, Nespresso Talents 2021 is in partnership with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), De La Salle University College of St. Benilde Film School, and

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Jonel Uy

Jonel Uy is a contributor and the Managing Director of Good News Manila (GNM). He is a Social Media Consultant at DigitalCircles, a social media and influencer marketing agency, Jonel also teaches IT at a local college in the Philippines and is the founder of and, among others.


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