Are you close with your family? For Director Aleia Garcia, that was a necessary part growing up in Yanbu Al-Bahr, to which the film’s translated title is derived. Aleia and her family had only themselves when their father had to work in Saudi Arabia as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW).
As part of QCinema International Film Festival 2019, “Spring by the Sea” is one of the documentaries selected and made available to the public.
The film follows the Garcia family as they show their personal collection of home videos, recorded by Aleia’s father. Accompanied are the stories of each member of the household about what it’s like living far away from friends and relatives, and moving to the particularly quiet area of Yanbu.
I met Ms. Garcia a decade ago in school, and while it was only for a brief period of time that we got to know each other, we would always be up to date on the latest happenings in our lives. She and I went to the same university, and it’s interesting to see the progress in what was once her film thesis.
That’s why an interview was a catching up of sorts and the answers she gave could only be described as heartfelt and wholesome. Check out the full list of interview questions below.
|Table of Contents|
|Spring by the Sea Film Interview|
|Spring by the Sea Film Screening Schedule|
Spring by the Sea Film Interview
Q: Let’s start with the simple question. What made you pursue film making?
Aleia: “I was inspired by the films I grew up watching. I love how I can just “escape” and enter their world and forget about my problems. I decided I wanted to do that too when I realized that filmmaking is not just an escape but a way to face our challenges in life as well.”
Q: What would you say is the main theme for Spring by the Sea?
A: “The main theme of Spring by the Sea is family. My goal for the film is to just tell our story and hope that it encourages all kinds of families with unique stories.
This film is not a film about a perfect family but it is about how we continue to love one another as a family despite of all the imperfections we have while juggling time, space, and separation.
This film is for Overseas Filipino Workers who strive and work hard for their families back home and for those people who grew up in foreign places.
Ultimately, this film is for everyone because we all have families and I hope that people will appreciate our little story and inspire them to just love one another and appreciate personal stories like mine.”
Q: Were there other ideas and/or themes that you wanted to explore that you weren’t able to incorporate?
A: “I wanted to include my three eldest brothers in the film by interviewing my grandmother, Lola Lourdes, who took care of them while we were still living in Yanbu.
Sadly, she passed away during the production of the film—she can be seen in the film when my family was saying goodbye to her. It was the last time that my siblings saw her.”
Q: Did any film / director influence the production of Spring by the Sea?
A: “When I started shooting for this film as my thesis five years ago, some people questioned of how our personal story and my father’s home videos can become a ‘film’.
I questioned it too but thank God for my supportive parents, Alejandro Garcia and Magnolia Garcia, my thesis adviser who is also a documentary filmmaker, Ms. Mae Caralde who believed in the story, Ms. Adjani Arumpac, my professor and also a documentary filmmaker, who guided me during the early stages and many more.
Here are the films that helped me go on:
‘Stories We Tell‘ by Sarah Polley
‘Sunday Beauty Queen‘ by Baby Ruth Villarama
‘War is a Tender Thing‘ by Adjani Arumpac,
‘Walang Rape sa Bontok‘ by Lester Valle and Carla Ocampo,
‘No Home Movie‘ by Chantal Akerman and
‘Cheaper by the Dozen‘ by Shawn Levy, to name a few.
Filmmaker Jonas Mekas also inspired me to continue despite of what other people think.”
Q: I recall this documentary was previously part of your film thesis (then named ‘Yanbu’) during your college years at Mapúa University. How would you go about describing the main difference between Yanbu and SBTS?
A: “Yanbu is just the rough draft for Spring by the Sea. The editing process of Yanbu was more emotional for me as an editor but in Spring by the Sea, I was more emotional as a person, having to deal with everything all at once.
I just thank God for giving me a sense of peace, assurance and balance to deal with everything, also to my parents who are always supportive and my friends who are always there to support me.
The difference between the two is that Spring by the Sea feels even more complete given the help of QCinema who gave us the post-production grant.
With this grant, I was able to collaborate with talented and kind people like Dia Magsaysay, the colorist of this docu, Mikko Quizon and Kat Salinas of Wapak Sound Studios who did the sound design, Anne Regine Ambat as my associate editor, who helped me BIG TIME in editing this film.
Jan Carlo Natividad as my associate producer who helped me find these people for the film and helping me deal with the logistics that come with it.
The film Yanbu will forever remain in my heart because its imperfections became the launching pad for Spring by the Sea. I’d like to think na magkapatid sila na pelikula, haha!”
Q: Which film maker is your favorite and influences much of you work (or is there anyone at all)?
A: “Filmmakers like Jonas Mekas, Albert and David Maysles, Adjani Arumpac, Baby Ruth Villarama, Greta Gerwig, Vince Gilligan, film editor Sally Menke and Chantal Akerman.”
Q: If you had all the knowledge you have now and could start over from the beginning, what would you do?
A: “Face your challenges with faith in God and always trust the gift He gave you. Many people will be against It, some people might even try to discourage you for no reason at all, but know in your heart that we are all created with a purpose so stay kind but also be wise.”
Q: Any advice for other young and aspiring film makers you can share?
A: “Keep going. Don’t please people because you cannot please everyone and keep telling your stories. Your films may not be for everyone but always believe that it is for someone.”
Q: Can you share us details about your next project?
A: “As of now, I am not sure of my next step but I am interested in writing more films and maybe do a feature next time.”
Spring by the Sea Film Screening Schedule
Admission for “Spring by the Sea” is only ₱200!
Metro Manila Venues
If you want more information about the screening and schedules of other QCinema 2019 entries, visit QCinema’s official screening schedule.
Oct 15 - 2:15 PM | Gateway Cinema 2 (GALA) Oct 15 - 4:30 PM | UP Cine Adarna
Oct 18 - 1:00 PM | Gateway Cinema 7 Oct 18 - 4:00 PM | Rob Galleria
Oct 19 - 7:00 PM - Cinema Centenario
Oct 20 - 1:00 PM - Trinoma Oct 20 - 7:00 PM - Cinema '76 Anonas
You can watch the trailer here: