It is really rare that a solid documentary can be made today for as much as $2,000 and not only “send a message”, but also touch the viewers. Somehow, “Beauty in Darkness” manages to do just that.
The 35-minute short documentary film basically tells several short stories of people living in poverty in the municipality of Gumaca (Quezon province, Philippines).
The film is divided into several chapters, each of which covers stories of people doing their best to stay strong and positive, despite living in complete poverty.
The amateur director of the film, a female by the name of Aileen Collo Amparo says she didn’t really have any experience in filmmaking, prior to shooting.
“Before I started filming, I had about two weeks of learning of how to use a camcorder correctly, by watching video tutorials on the Internet,” she told BZFilm.
Amparo added, that she had a friend who helped her to learn more about filmmaking pros and cons, as she was trying to make “Beauty in Darkness” within her schedule.
“It cost me around $2,000 to make the film, including the camera, equipment, transportation, food and other fees,” says Amparo, who, besides being a director, also narrated the film.
Speaking of why she decided to make a film about the local people living in poverty, Amparo explained her point of view in details.
“At first, I was inspired to present the details of physical reality, but since I had a very small budget to be able to film worldwide, I went around my own neighborhood,” she says.
Noting that the people who are considered “socially invisible” are close to her heart, Amparo said that making a film on them would be a good way to give these people a “voice”, so they would be heard too.
People in the film are usual, there are no actors, just your everyday hard-working families that continue to live, and struggle to raise their children in poverty.
“Beauty in Darkness” shows various families working at a dump site, collecting garbage, gathering it from the urban streets and selling it later, and how they struggle to give their children proper education, which is something they cannot financially afford.
In one of the scenes, a 13-14 year old, working at a dump site says – “better collect garbage than become a thief” – this little phrase really explains the film’s title, among other things.
While Amparo admits that the film does not include everything she wanted to show, the message is still delivered within those 35 minutes.
“The bottom line is that wherever we are, we must strive to see the beauty that lies within our reality, since it is that intangible thing that could save us from more havoc or further distortion of our nature. The film is a proof that it is still there, even in the darkness. The people living in the dark deserve some recognition because they are brave enough to play a difficult role on Earth,” Amparo told BZFilm.
Gaining some experience in filmmaking, Amparo does not seem to stop with just one film, as she revealed – there are more to come.
“I am currentl looing at a different topic, which is organic farming – with the use of free energy in homes and vehicles. Basically about how to become self-sufficient, natural and healthy,” she said. “And if I have enough of budget, I would really love to produce and direct a feature on spirituality and the nature of universes.”
Until then, since “Beauty in Darkness” is being distributed for free, you can check it out below. Pretty good for a documentary on a pretty much unknown subject.
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