Film with Surf

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It’s about time I wrote about Surf and the Film Workshop I’ve been attending the last few weeks. It’s been weirdly awesome.

“The Weird became flesh, and dwelt among us.”

Let me tell you about Surf, my teacher.

“Have you heard of the saying, ‘The Weird became flesh and dwelt among us’?” Surf asked us at our first session. “That’s me.”

He is like no one I have ever met, and is therefore by far the most interesting character I have ever met in my life so far. He is an artist through and through.

I went to CCP with him last Saturday. It was for the 100-year celebration of Gerardo “Gerry” de Leon, National Artist for Philippine Cinema.

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At the Dream Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines

There were esteemed guests – most of whom are veteran filmmakers, actors and producers themselves. Surf Reyes, my teacher, was invited at the screening, and he thought it a good idea to bring his students with him.

During the screening, Surf was recognized in public for the fact that Surf actually worked with Gerry de Leon back when Gerry was still alive! The Screening was in celebration of Gerry after all, so they gave Surf some time in front of everyone to share a bit about his experiences working with the esteemed Gerry.

That was when it hit me: Surf is the real deal.

It was a special moment for me when Surf pointed at us, introducing us as “his students”. I felt honored to actually learn from this unself-conscious (is there such a word?), crazy, weird, and extremely talented 69-year old man.

I didn’t mind that nobody knew us. The fact that I had a right to tag along Surf and stand nearby while directors and cinematographers and whoever in the film industry shook hands and chatted and took pictures with Surf were enough.

That was when I had the second hit of the night: everything that Surf is doing to us, with us, and for us – everything! – is no less than discipleship.

Indeed, Surf takes every moment as a teaching moment for filmmaking – whether it’s in the technical aspect, the creative storytelling aspect, or artistic / mystic philosophy.

With my film teacher, Surf Reyes

With my film teacher, Surf Reyes

On that note, let me just say: Surf is prolific evangelist of his own philosophies and beliefs. And while these are beliefs I do not necessarily agree with, his boldness and strong proclivity to share his faith is a characteristic I respect.

Surf practices what he teaches. At sixty nine, his passion to keep mastering, re-mastering and improving in his craft still consumes him. I love that about him. I am impressed that he is neither daunted nor intimidated by technology. He sees technology as a means to “better tell his story through images”. In fact, he is currently finishing up a documentary he’s been working on for about three months now.

Surf is a mentor forever – lifetime discipleship. At yesterday’s session he told us so: “You can come to me for consultation! All we need to do is schedule it.” I just love how devoid of snobbery he is.

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