'I'm trying to break the guilt I feel toward my parents'
Jacob on his search for connection
Jacob is a fourth-year student at the Willem de Kooning Academy. He is graduating this year from his study Audiovisual Design with a short film about his personal experience growing up away from his home culture. The film was chosen by BNNVARA and will be published on their channel and social media.
Souraya and Vigo (Student editors at INCLUDED) talked with Jacob.
“I was born in the Philippines but at ten years old I was uprooted from my home and brought to Dubai by my parents. Growing up in such different places has left my sense of belonging fractured. While living in the Netherlands, my parents abruptly moved to Canada. They left the United Arab Emirates while I was here, so it feels like a chapter I can’t close. It was weird to suddenly only be connected to the Netherlands.
With my graduation, I want to reclaim that story and provide visibility for those in similar situations. The film follows a fictionalized version of my story, where a Manila night bears witness to the fleeting connection of two young people: Poy, a melancholic second-gen migrant, and Shirley, an exhausted local. These two characters are a reflection of myself, one being the second-generation migrant, my current state of being. This fragmented, being uprooted all the time. This person looking for an anchor. Shirley is a version I could’ve been if things would have gone differently. Shirley is independent and is very sure of herself. She is very anchored to her community, family, and the place. She also feels exhausted by her current state and wants to explore more.
‘I just want to go back and feel familiar’
In the film I’m trying to break the debt I feel towards my parents. It feels like I have to work for my parents and follow the decisions they make for me. They decided life was better in Dubai than in the Philippines, so I had to accept that. When I was looking for a university to study, I found one in the Philippines, but my parents didn’t understand why I wanted to go back instead of going forward. Eventually I went to the Netherlands. I’m happy with the decision, but it definitely came with some pressure from my family.
When I made the decision to make this movie in the Philippines, I got the same questions. Every country has its issues, but I just want to go back and feel the sense of familiarity. I want to go back to my roots.
'Focus on your own happiness'
Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in this experience. My advice to people who are in a similar situation is that you’re not alone. Seek out people who have similar experiences or likeminded people who are able to understand you. These people can give you the empathy you need. Also don’t be too hard on yourself. We all want to make other people happy first, but focus on your own happiness as well. Make the decisions you want to make. Try to find an outlet as well to let your emotions go. Don’t bottle it up. Take photos, make food, journal, draw. Don’t forget your roots!”
Crowdfunding- Help Jacob tell his story!
Jacob needs help to realise his vision! Your donations would go to funding travel arrangements, compensating crew, renting professional filming equipment, and more.
Donate via: https://www.voordekunst.nl/projecten/15016-hanggang-sa-muli-1#het-verhaal