Writing and filming has been my passion and to be able to finish a short film is a big accomplishment for me due to my busy schedule and constant battle with procrastination. Danabelle and I worked agin for the third time filming “OFW Diaries” early this year. I am so blessed to work with such a talented actress like Danabelle (who is my friend for more than a decade now). She is also a renowned author of What Dreams May Come and I Long To Be A River (order these great books here). She makes life easier for a newbie director like me. 🙂 Follow her on instagram @danabellegutierrez
Our short film, OFW Diaries was inspired by my own story. I came to Dubai way back in 2004 with hopes to help my family and build a brighter future. Almost all Filipinos who left the Philippines to work abroad have the same goal. My salary was 2,400aed (1aed = 13.50php) back then and I shared a studio flat with 11 other Filipinos in Satwa. I used to watch every fil I spent. By the grace of God, my hard work paid off even though I got dumped and duped and even lost 500,000aed along the way. (Invite me for coffee and I will tell you that story). I could have just gone hiding from the banks but my conscience told me to pay off my half a million debt. God is gracious and He has sustained me and I managed to pay off the debt and I have even put up a small studio. And now I am making my own films.
But not everyone succeeds and that is why most OFW films portray the hardships and the drama of being an overseas Filipino worker. OFW life can really be dramatic but what I learned in life is you should not take yourself too seriously always. Choose your battles.
Working abroad is not easy, that is a fact. Life is not easy in general. Everyone faces challenges and problems. It is a matter of how you react to situations and how easily you give up. In this short film, Danabelle portrayed 5 characters. It is true that we do not have enough actors available during that short notice but that is not the reason why she portrayed all those characters. I wanted everyone to know that no matter who we meet or what challenge we face, there is a lesson and a purpose behind it. We just have to recognize the opportunities and learn from challenges that we face. They are all lessons. We can learn from all the people we meet as we journey through life. Life is tough so we should be tougher. So yeah, this movie is for the OFW who doesn’t give up easily. It is for the OFW who walked under the Dubai heat but still smiles. It is for the OFW who faces hardships and come out wiser and tougher. This is for us.