In October 2016, civil engineering student Adrian Manila entered his short film “With Strings Attached: The Three He Played” to compete in Campus MovieFest, the world’s largest student film festival sponsored by Associated Students Inc. (ASI) at Cal Poly Pomona (CPP).
Following the encouragement of a close friend and fellow Barkada member, April Castro, Manila decided to put his high school theater experience along with his current acting career to use and created “With Strings Attached: The Three He Played.”
“With Strings Attached: The Three He Played” is a short film that explores the stages of a relationship through instruments. Manila received several awards for his short film, attended Festival de Cannes in France to showcase his work and even changed his major to film.
“I guess the inspiration came from my musical background,” Manila said. “ I also drew inspiration from past relationships and experiences, a lot of it based on things I’ve felt in a relationship. I eventually came up with the concept, ‘What if instruments had human emotions and feelings?’”
Each instrument represents a different stage in a relationship. The ukulele takes the form of the blissful, beginning stages of a relationship, the guitar represents the early struggles and the bass mirrors the turbulence in a serious relationship.
Manila’s imaginative film won him the chance to attend the legendary Festival de Cannes, where the young filmmaker was able to learn more about the film industry and make connections.
“Not only did I learn more about the international film industry, domestic film industry and technical film equipment, I learned a lot about myself, what I want to do in life and where I see myself 10 years from now,” Manila said. “Cannes drove me to work towards a dream I thought was impossible.”
Following the success of his film and his trip to France, Manila returned with a renewed passion for film and the drive to continue storytelling.
“Film is modern day story telling, it won’t die anytime soon,” Manila said. “One of my favorite lines from one of the panels I went to was, ‘The world needs film to tell and preserve its stories.’ As long as we have creativity and human emotion, films will go on forever.”
The biggest takeaway from his experience was the importance of connections, perseverance, patience and courage. Manila encourages his fellow Broncos to pursue their passions and to never be discouraged.
“I’ve met a lot of people in the film industry who didn’t start film until after college or they majored in something else first,” Manila said, “ But with perseverance and patience they pressed forward and now they’re living their dream.”
Watch “With Strings Attached: The Three He Played” here: