CLOSE-UP CULTURE spotted Neo Caliste’s work as part of our Short Film Watch series. We have had a brief chat with Neo to learn more about his short film At The Games, his background and a bit more besides.
Q: What led you to cover EVRAA 2018 and how would you describe the experience?
A: FOR those who do not know, EVRAA is a yearly celebration of sports and culture in the region of the Philippines where I live. Student athletes from neighbouring cities come together and compete for the nationals.
Fortunately, my City was the host for the event this year. I took the opportunity to film the event as some sort of personal project. It was a fun and challenging experience.
I wish I had been there to capture every moment though. I guess the real challenge was not to get super attached to the games. I mean I had times when I just did not want to shoot and instead just watch the nerve-wracking games. But overall, it was a wonderful experience.
Q: At The Games displays your talent for ‘spotting the story’ at each event. What was your approach or plan heading into it?
A: BASICALLY I laid out a daily plan of which games to cover. I did the old shot list and took notes of specific moments, shots and angles that I needed to cover.
Q: You worked solo and still managed to film from a variety of interesting perspectives. What were you looking to capture during your filming?
A: WORKING solo was definitely challenging. I was looking to capture a mixture of emotions, ranging from the players’ point of view) as well as the audience’s. I wanted to dig deep into what happens beyond the athleticism and physicality of the players for each game – embrace the glorious and humble rally of game winners as well as the sad defeats.
Q: What cameras did you use and why?
A: I USED the Sony A6300 for this project. I wanted something compact but powerful to go around and film.
Q: Can you tell us about your background and what kind of work you have done besides At The Games?
A: I WORKED as a marketing video editor for a BPO company for three good years when one day I decided to go full time as an online freelancer. I worked mostly with motion graphics, social media content, marketing and e-learning content.
This career leap allowed me to have more control over my time, go out more, and be able to film and create my own content. At The Games is the first of so many projects I have lined up.
Q: Do you have any inspirations?
A: I CAN say that Brandon Li (Unscripted.com) heavily influences my style. I basically look up to him as a travel and documentary filmmaker.
Q: What are your ambitions and how do you aim to stand out?
A: I AM still in the process of learning everything and developing a style that would define my work. The plan is to delve deeper into the documentary and travel genre.