Paolo Bitanga: First Feature
Documentary on the Philippine
Break dancing Community

By Cristina De Leon

Ever wondered how it would be to direct your own feature film? Want a source of inspiration for a good story? Filipino New York University student, Paolo Bitanga, tells us about his stepping-stone for a future career. He is currently directing the first ever feature-length documentary on the Philippine break dancing community.

Bitanga’s curiosity in film sparked when he was just 16 years old, which was also when the fascination with Youtube began. He created humorous videos with his friends, simply for recreation. When he uploaded his videos on Youtube, they ended up generating thousands of views and Bitanga then realized he could use Youtube as a means to gain publicity with his films. Some of Bitanga’s achievements have been winning the “Best Director Award,” being admitted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and representing the Philippines on iTALENTSTAR, an online Southeast Asian talent competition.

Presently, Bitanga is working on a documentary about the urban break dance scene emerging in the Philippines. He was hired by New Image Productions, which is a Hawaii-based group that annually promotes break dancing in the Philippines. New Image Productions contacted Bitanga, as they were in need of rental spaces for competitions. Soon enough, they teamed up to create a break dancing documentary.

In an interview with Bitanga, he explains his ongoing project, “It is a close study of an already underground dance culture within a relatively unknown nation. The film spans a whole summer in the world of Philippine break dancing and includes an in-depth look at the humble lives of these dancers, cameos from world-renowned performers in the art, and coverage of the 2010 World Championships held in Seoul, Korea.” With only half of the summer left, Bitanga is anticipating the commencement of finally editing his new film.

Bitanga further talks about the significance of this project to him, “This has always been a dream project of mine and I never thought it would come so soon.” He would also like to emphasize that this project is not merely for his exposure, but it is also a token to give back to the Philippine community, which played an enormous factor in his growing interest in break dancing.

As for predictions and expectations for the future, Bitanga comments, “The most basic and most effective outcome would be acquiring sponsors for the dancers and crews featured in the film and hopefully the community as a whole.” Hopefully, the sponsors may be then help the dancers to compete internationally and rise up in the global community. He adds, “Break dancers, filmmakers, artists – we all go through similar obstacles in pursuing careers. It is when we collaborate that helps us push each other towards success.” And, his final message to all aspiring filmmakers is to build up your networks. Not only are talent and determination needed, but also, making connections with others would help lay the foundation to success. In addition, Bitanga believes it is vital to diversify your talents with different fields in the arts and in film. “After all, they are all interconnected,” Bitanga concludes.

Bitanga’s case is only one example in which he was able to juxtapose his passions with his work, by creating a film about his love for break dancing and filmmaking. To learn about creating your own feature film, come and attend Simon Hunter’s course, “Direct Your First Feature”. This introductory course will take you through everything: pre-production, production, and post-production. The course will answer many of your questions, such as how to direct your own feature film, how to choose the right script, how to gather the right people for the job, and most importantly, how to plan the actual shoot. To register and to obtain more information, please visit our website, www.raindance.co.uk.

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About The Author
Cristina De Leon

 

Cristina I. De Leon is currently interning for the summer at Raindance. She enjoys helping them advertise their courses and working in her favorite city, London! Though originally from the Philippines, she is an incoming sophomore at Boston College. According to her, she aspires to come back and work in London in the future. In her spare time, she enjoys being with family and friends, dancing, playing tennis, “ creating and designing stuff,” and oh yes – watching films, of course.

 

 

 

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