Sheron Dayoc is a director and producer who shifts from fiction and non-fiction storytelling to directing TV commercials. His notable films are Ways of the Sea (2010), NETPAC Special Mention Award at Berlin International Film Festival 2011, APSA NETPAC Development Prize at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards 2011, and Best Film at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2010; The Crescent Rising (2015), BIFF Mecenat Award at Busan International Film Festival 2016, and Best Documentary at the Gawad Urian Awards 2016; and Women of the Weeping River (2016), Sundance Screenwriters Lab 2011, Asian Cinema Fund 2011, Hubert Bals Fund 2013, and Best Picture at the Gawad Urian Awards 2017. CNN Philippines picked the film as one of the top 25 greatest films of the decade. Sheron founded Southern Lantern Studios, a creative think tank and production company for multimedia short and long film and video content for various platforms. The company recently produced Arden Rod Condez’s first feature John Denver Trending (2019), which won Best Film at Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2019, and competed in the New Currents of Busan International Film Festival 2019 and at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival 2019; and Sonny Calvento’s short film Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss (2019), which competed at the QCinema International Film Festival 2019, where it won the Audience Choice award.
Alemberg Ang was a high school teacher for ten years before shifting to producing films. His first feature, The Rapture of Fe (Alvin Yapan, 2009), won Special Jury Prize at Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2009 and Best Digital Feature Film at Cairo International Film Festival 2009. This started a successful collaboration between Yapan and Ang. The most notable films in their partnership are Pilgrim Lovers (Alvin Yapan, 2011), which competed for the Free Spirit Award at Warsaw International Film Festival 2011; The Dance of Two Left Feet (Alvin Yapan, 2011), which won Best Picture at the Gawad Urian Awards 2012, from the Philippine’s most respected award-giving body; and the television series, Titser (2013), winner of Best Drama Series/Program at the Catholic Mass Media Awards 2014 and honorable mention at NHK’s JAPAN PRIZE. Ang has since collaborated with various filmmakers, mostly on their first and second features. His most recent films are 2 Cool 2 Be 4gotten (Petersen Vargas, 2016), Best Picture at the Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival 2016 and winner of an Audience Choice Award at Lovers Film Festival 2017-Torino LGBTQI Visions; The Portrait (Loy Arcenas, 2017), Best Picture at Metro Manila Film Festival 2017 and selected for the Asian Future Competition at Tokyo International Film Festival 2017; Tandem (King Palisoc, 2015), Shanghai International Film Festival 2016, Vancouver International Film Festival 2015, Montreal World Film Festival 2015 and Cairo International Film Festival 2015; Instant Mommy (Leo Abaya, 2013), Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2013 and Tokyo International Film Festival 2013; and Liway (Kip Oebanda, 2018), Audience Choice Award and Special Jury Prize at Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2018, and Best Picture at The EDDYS 2019 from the Entertainment Editors’ Choice of the Philippines. Ang has participated in the UNESCO International Meeting of Independent Producers (Barcelona, 2011), Rotterdam Lab 2012, Berlinale Talents 2013, Talents Tokyo 2014, HAF 2015, 2017 and 2020, BIFF’s Asian Project Market 2017 and 2020, SEAFIC 2019, CineMart 2019, Locarno Open Doors 2019, Tribeca Film Institute Network 2019 and Cannes Cinefondation’s L’Atelier 2020. Ang’s filmmaking is shaped by his passion for teaching, socio-civic issues, and Philippine art and literature. He dreams of one day making literature mainstream. His production company, VY/AC Productions, while exploring the richness and dynamism of third world culture, in the end seeks the upliftment of cultural minorities by giving them a voice in world cinema.
A mysterious plague takes the lives of children in a remote village. It is believed to be caused by monsters in the forest poisoning the river. Villagers exposed to the river give birth to children with strange defects. One of them is JOSE, a 10-year-old boy with a sixth finger, who has been subjected to bullying. One day, some children trick Jose by luring his goat into the forest. While searching for his goat Jose breaks his leg and loses consciousness. When he wakes up, a monster-like figure is perched on top of his leg. Jose runs in panic, noticing that the monster does the same. Jose eventually realizes that his leg has been healed. Jose visits the forest again, bringing food, and after a series of trips, a unique friendship blossoms between Jose and the monster, whom he names Pedro. They notice their similarities while accepting their differences. While roaming around the forest, they stumble upon an abandoned science laboratory. They realize that Pedro and his brother are the product of genetic experimentation and that they were once humans. Rumors spread that Jose is friends with the monsters, as his family is ostracized. Pressured by the village chief and guilty about what’s happening to his family, Jose leads the villagers to his monster friends; Pedro’s brother being killed in the process. They trap Pedro and cage him like a wild animal. Jose rescues Pedro and the two escape deep into the forest. No one ever sees them again.
When I was in kindergarten, I was fascinated by how adults behaved towards me. “You can’t be here, adults are talking!” or “When you grow up, we’ll tell you.” Such cliched phrases I grew up with made me feel isolated, which is when my love for storytelling began. I ran around in our village imagining crazy things like being a superhero trying to save the world while creating sound effects. My filmography is reflective of my social and political standpoint regarding my war-torn homeland, Mindanao. Having savored the bittersweet reality of adulthood, I would like to revisit that most simple and innocent time in my life through “6th Finger.” The film is not a departure from my narrative voice, rather a new perspective on the same core, through the eyes of the child in me. As a child, we are instinctively fair, making no judgments on things adults deem ugly or unacceptable. Children may not have a deeper understanding of human emotions but that’s precisely what makes their world a better place. I hope this film inspires us not to fear the things we don’t understand, but have the bravery to embrace the dignity and humanity in all of us. This may sound like fairy tale optimism, but I truly believe it is only by going back to the innocence of childhood that we find what it truly means to live freely again. This will be my story. It can be yours too.