Kapanalig Sa Wala - Literally, one who also have faith in nothing, is a play on words and wasn't really intended to mean something. It was made in jest to call the atheist camp when I was still actively debating god in one of the demised public forums out there. I think walang pananalig (faithless) would have proven to be more precise but I think the intended humor will be lost.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Short Film: Qwerty

In the Pinoy Atheists mailing list, somebody posted a link to a short film by one Paolo Dy. My knee-jerk reaction was that I thought it was lifted from an X-Files episode. Maybe it's just a coincidence but the many similarities cannot be denied. Of course I wish it's really an original by a Pinoy artist but I have to entertain my doubts. Today I have some time so I searched the net to be sure that my initial reaction carried some weight. I found the actual episode titled Conduit and it was first aired in late 1993. A few links will help, here and here, with the latter even have a snapshot of the mosaic of the missing girl, Ruby.

How did it happen?

Maybe some alien civilization had abducted Paolo Dy in his childhood and implanted in his memory this particular episode of the very popular TV series, or maybe there was a time machine and the X-Files script writers saw Dy's short film and used it as a sub-plot to an upcoming episode back in '93. Maybe Dy watched this episode (very likely given the popularity of the TV series) and the memory quickly settled in his subconscious and this short film is some sort of an artistic Freudian slip. Whatever the case may be, and if I find some time, let me try visiting the nearest Tsutaya shop and borrow some old DVDs so I can make a better comparison. For now, all I can say is: the truth is out there.

BTW, the short film itself is not bad, to the credit of Mr. Dy.


DP said...

Hi JP, Paolo Dy here :)

Just want to say that QWERTY was made without any knowing reference to existing material. I can't vouch for the alien civilization theory (haha) but I can say that X-Files was not part of the equation; I'm not a huge X-Files fan (I've seen maybe one and a half episodes in my lifetime, plus the movie -- but the latter only because my date wanted to watch it).

I'm not surprised, though, that there have been variations on the same theme in the past... as they say, everything's been done before :) Someone even wrote me saying that there's a Japanese commercial that also follows the same thinking from another angle. At the time we did QWERTY, however, I had seen neither the ad nor the X-Files episode you refer to.

I came upon the idea for QWERTY from a TV news story about a man (I vaguely remember that he was handicapped) who used a typewriter to create art. He'd hold a piece of paper loosely threaded in the typewriter's spool, position it correctly, then type one character at the spot he wanted. He'd vary the character depending on how black he wanted that spot. Then he'd move the paper again and repeat ad nauseam.

The thought that popped into my head was, "What if there were some guy who could do that, but on a huge multi-page scale? That'd be really cool."

And then, "If he did that, then each individual page would probably just look like gibberish to someone who didn't know what it was..." And from there I came up with the basic plot of the film we made.

In another incarnation, I had included a detail where the person who discovered the "bigger picture" was able to do so because he had the same eyeglass grade as the guy who typed it, which means they had the same amount of "blur" in their eyesight. I ended up ditching this idea along the way (or rather, I turned it into another short film...)

Anyway, lesson learned: parallel development is real! :)

Paolo Dy

tony.basa said...

Hi Paolo,

Thanks for clearing that up. Good luck to you.


luci said...

my friends and i saw QWERTY at a screening, immediatedly the Xfiles' Conduit episode comes to mind. Its like a match cut to the xfiles episode, when Mulder and Scully went up the staircase to see what the boy had conjured up in binary. I guess anyone who has seen the xfile episode can easily identify the scene in the Qwerty short. I believe parallel development is real up to a point, but it doesn't have to hit this close. Otherwise who wants to make a fool of himself, trying to explain after every screening that he didn't ripoff visual devices from Chris Carter. sayang maganda pa man din yun short in terms of its cinematography and production design.

Anonymous said...

Greetings! A common friend of mine and Paolo's told me to watch QWERTY. I really like it. My impression of it was it looked like a mild filipino version of Death Proof wherein its setting looks like from the 40's yet they have modern gadgets and stuff. The shots too were great. Overall (with no bias) its an enjoyable short film.


oh btw, please check out my first short film... its quite avant-garde. Read the synopsis first before watching it. ^_^

oh if its not too much, please leave a comment and a rating there on youtube. thanks a bunch!!!