/ 19 January 2021

A SHORT film made by high school students in Pangasinan that won in the 2020 International Teen Short Film Festival in Beijing, China was based on the story of a Muslim girl who was bullied because of her faith.

That girl, Hannah Ragudos, directed  the short film titled “Decalcomania.”

Decalcomania, a French word that means the art or process of transferring pictures and designs from specially prepared paper (as to glass), was written and directed by Ragudos.

She and her classmates at the Alaminos City National High School produced the award-winning short film.

Ragudos said that she experienced bullying because of her religion and excelling in academics and extra-curricular activities became her coping mechanism.

“I didn’t have a problem during my elementary days but I experienced being bullied when I started wearing hijab. There is a norm that Muslims should only be in Mindanao,” Ragudos said.

“I don’t have any background in filmmaking. I am skilled in computer-related stuff and our mentor discovered what I can do and asked me to join a film camp. So I attended the North Luzon Film Camp for a week two years ago. Our mentors made us write a story during its first day, and they will be selecting ten down to five and pitch it to make it a movie or film,” she added.

Ragudos said her mentors, Jerome Dulin and Joseph Arcegono of North Luzon Cinema Guild Inc., together with Layag Productions founder, Dr. Raquel Rarang-Rivera, taught her filmmaking processes and techniques.

“They liked my story about a Muslim girl victimized by Islamophobia as one of the Top 10 and Top 5. I cried in front of them, presenting my pitch because I admitted that it’s my personal story,” Ragudos said.

“They taught me how to write a screenplay and create relevant regional films that could influence and alter people’s minds about the unknown’s truthfulness. I never knew entering the film industry would impact me big time,” she added.

Ragudos said filmmaking is also an instrument towards social change.

“I have to find artistic and cultural value in my stories that could show my regional identity through culture, rites, beliefs, and principles. I am optimistic about a future where the world has no vacancy for hate and war,” she added.

Decalcomania, which runs for six minutes and 15 seconds, and other films produced by Layag Productions will soon be available for viewing in Alaminos City once pandemic restrictions have been eased.