Pitaka, a short film directed by Chris Cahilig, touched the hearts of Filipinos as it depicted the story of a hardworking young man who set aside his own dreams to provide for his younger brother’s needs—and how the younger sibling showed his gratitude to kuya in the end.
Presented by McJim Classic Leather through its Get Reel online campaign, the video, which was upload on May 11, garnered over 630,000 views and 12,300 shares on Facebook in just five days.
Netizens commended the short film’s ‘relatability’—how viewers can emphatize with both kuya and younger sibling as it shows a typical scenario in most Filipino homes.
“Ang galing ng istorya! Ang galing kasi ito talaga ang madalas na nangyayaring realidad sa karaniwang pamilyang Pilipino,” netizen Cecilio Opeda Domdom, Jr. gushed.
Not your typical viral video
According to Cahilig, the film’s director, producer of renowned indie film Echorsis and public relations and marketing expert, Pitaka breaks the two-minute rule of videos that go viral.
“It is very unlikely for lengthy videos to become viral, or even watched in full, because of the short attention span of netizens,” Cahilig said. “But Pitaka, which runs for a little over eight minutes, captured the attention of many Filipinos because it is their story, their families’ story—and a story that I believe is worth telling,” Cahilig mused.
An element that made the film different from other viral videos is the use of a Filipino poem—in lieu of a simple voice over or dialogue—in the narrative.
The poem, carrying the same title as the film, was written by Palanca award-winning poet Louie Jon A. Sanchez, a professor in Ateneo de Manila University.
Netizens noted this detail as well. “Kinurot ang puso ko lalo na sa paggamit ng wikang Filipino. Tagos sa kaluluwa ang mensahe nito. Maraming salamat sa istoryang ito,” said Maria Victoria Guidotti, one of the film’s many viewers.
Subdued acting and arresting cinematography
Viewers also praised the sensitive portrayals of the lead stars of the short film: Karl Medina, Bwaya, Tandem, and Pamilya Ordinaryo star, and newcomer Art Artienda.
Playing the role of the self-sacrificing kuya, Medina—eldest son of award-winning actor Pen Medina and brother of Ping and Alex—is known for his subdued yet impressive performances.
Meanwhile, Artienda, a new member of Filipino boyband 1:43, likewise stood out in the short film as the younger brother.
Praised as visually poetic, Pitaka was shot by cinematographer and producer Cesca Lee, known for T.P.O., Purgatoryo and Otso.
Pitaka continues to garner positive reviews since its upload. Heavily shared on Facebook, netizens have been tagging their siblings and relating their stories as well.
“Nakakaiyak. Namiss ko tuloy kuya ko. Kung hindi dahil sa kanya kahit pangalan namin hindi naming matututuhang isulat. Pinag-aral niya kaming lima kahit elementary lang, hanggang sa maka-graduate kami ng Grade 6. Hindi pa rin siya tumigil para pag-aralin ang apat naming mga kapatid. Ngayon, tatlo na ang anak niya pero tumutulong pa rin siya sa amin . . . I love you, Kuya,” shared Bailyn Kali.
Meanwhile, Dhalia Sta. Ana remarked, “Ang ganda. May mga tao talagang lahat gagawin kahit na hirap na hirap, todo kayod pa rin, para lang sa pamilya . . . Kahit ano namang gawin natin, pamilya pa rin ang tutulong sa atin . . . Magtulungan at mabigayan tayong mga magkakapatid.”
An inspiring film that highlights cherished Filipino values, particularly the longstanding tradition of having elder siblings take over the role of parents in their absence, Pitaka easily tugged at the heartstrings of many Filipinos.
Pitaka features the voice of singer Neo Domingo. Credits include Archie del Mundo for the screenplay and also as line producer, Mark Cyril Bautista for the editing, and Jane Gonzales as the production manager.
The short film was presented by McJim Classic Leather, a trusted brand in authentic leather accessories.