Kidlat Tahimik, FDCP Spotlight Lesser-Known Heroes in Unsung Sariling Bayani Short Film Competition


There are spectacular hero stories in Philippine history, and there are also simple accounts of heroism that are just as inspiring. Such unheard stories of heroism also deserve the spotlight, and these will be showcased at Kidlat Tahimik's Unsung Sariling Bayani (USB) Short Film Competition.

Through the inaugural USB, National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Kidlat Tahimik, hopes that this cinematic movement for the youth will balance the influence of foreign comic book superheroes on the Filipino youth’s mindset with compelling engagements with the glorious stories of our very own heroes. 

“Balik tayo sa simple storytelling. I think we are all, even at a high school age, we are intelligent enough to see a positive value in somebody older or chosen as a hero who can really bring out the best in us,” he said. 

The USB Online Film Festival was launched on April 27 by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) in partnership with the National Quincentennial Committee (NQC). The Bureau of Learner Support Services - Youth Formation Division of the Department of Education is in support of this FDCP project.

April 27, 2021 is a significant moment in Philippine history as it marks the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan as well as the 500th anniversary of the Philippine part in the first circumnavigation of the world.

Kidlat Tahimik, 78, remarked, “I think it is very timely, itong 500 years after to let this be a catalyzer. Para sa akin, magandang catalyzer itong pang-udyok para maka-focus tayo on heroism but maybe also on redefining ‘Ano ba talaga ang heroism?’” 

The competition for Filipinos accepts shorts of any genre as long as they feature a story depicting the life, times, and achievements of documented and verifiable unsung local heroes. The entries must be 5 to 8 minutes long, including the credits. 

The USB has three categories: Youth Category - Senior High Student (Public School), Youth Category - Senior High Student (Private School), and Adult Category (Aged 18 and above). The deadline for the submission of entries is on October 11, 2021.

The FDCP Channel will host the USB Online Film Festival from November 11 to 17 and will stream the Awards Ceremony on November 14. Aside from the festival proper, USB will hold the FDCP Film School Basic Workshops on Filmmaking as well as the “Storming with Kidlat: Usapang Bayani Forum” wherein participants can consult with the National Artist himself.

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño and National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Kidlat Tahimik ‘take a selfie’ with the bamboo camera.jpg

FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño and National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Kidlat Tahimik ‘take a selfie’ with the acclaimed filmmaker’s bamboo camera.

A total of 30 finalists will be selected for the USB, with equal representation from the National Capital Region (NCR), Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Finalists will receive cash prizes and free access to all educational events to aid in their filmmaking process. After the competition, USB winners and finalists will get the chance to attend more free training sessions and workshops to be conducted by the FDCP.

“Through the guidance of National Artist and Father of Philippine Independent Cinema Kidlat Tahimik together with other esteemed Filipino filmmakers, I am confident that the USB finalists will take inspiration and motivation from Tatay Kidlat’s ‘bamboo camera filmmaking’ to promote the appreciation for lesser-known local heroes through short films,” said FDCP Chairperson and CEO Liza Diño.

The bamboo camera has been a symbol of Kidlat Tahimik’s remarkable local storytelling through the years. “Let the bamboo cameras guide our filmmaking,” said the National Artist born Eric de Guia who has received accolades from Cinemalaya, Gawad Urian, Prince Claus Fund, Amiens International Film Festival, and Berlin International Film Festival, among others.

“Sa dami ng mga bagong kuwento, I think yayaman ang kasaysayan ng Pilipinas and we, the small filmmakers, can contribute to the archives of our relevant local history,” noted Kidlat Tahimik.

Kidlat Tahimik's Unsung Sariling Bayani (USB) Short Film Competition.png

For more information and to download the application form, visit and for inquiries, contact Mr. Mark John Pamintuan at with the subject heading “Query: USB 2021.”