The 5 minute 33 second short film Love Again explores and unravels the many facades of affection, intimacy and the possibilities of hidden red flags in long-term relationships.
the feature follows Alvin and Mary Rose, college lovers who are now married, as they reflect on their relationship over the years.
It takes the viewers into the ruminations of the pair as they realize that the positives of their connection do not look so pleasing from an outsider’s perspective.
Written and directed by young artist Charlie Vitug, it is a study on romantic connections and the numerous strings attached to them, from sacrifices to emotional vulnerability, it investigates how some affairs are doomed from the beginning and how some couples are better off as individuals.
“It emphasizes how obvious red flags do not look so red when put under the guise of love,” Vitug explained. “We live in a world where social construct expects us to find love and popular media reminds us that we have to hold onto that no matter what because not everybody gets to find it,” she continued.
The 20-year-old creative, who is currently pursuing Digital Filmmaking (DFilm) at the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), turned to her art to remind the general public that some things should not be endured in the interest of one’s own health and well-being.
“A lot of people, old and young, tolerate red flags for various reasons,” she stated. “And Love Again is a subtle reminder that they deserve better. There will be better things that will come in the future.”
Vitug was only 10 years old when she was diagnosed with bilateral optic neuropathy or permanent damage on the optic nerves of both eyes. Equipped with passion and strong support system provided by family, friends, and an inclusive community in Benilde, she found renewed motivation to pursue her dream.
“I love being a screenwriter,” she shared. “It allows me to write what I want to see with the production team bringing that sight to me — a sight that would have been difficult for me to experience and appreciate outside of a movie set.”
For Love Again, the budding talent, together with her cinematographer Paolo Ariola, maximized the art of motion-picture photography to show the power of imbalance and distance between the characters.
She likewise utilized the significance of music in storytelling and commissioned her friend Miko Cano, also known as Komii, to compose a romantic yet melancholic piece.
The 2023 Black Swan International Film Festival in Bengal, India named Vitug as the Best Debut Filmmaker, while Love Again nabbed the Best Romantic Short and Best Original Soundtrack titles.
It emerged as Best Music Video and Best Song in a Film at the 2023 Top Shorts Film Festival 2023, a Qualifier for the 2023 Andrei Tarkovsky Memorial Award, and a Finalist at the Filipino Category of the 2023 Short+Sweet International Film Festival.
She also created other award-winning films. Recently, her experimental film about a photographer with glaucoma entitled Through the Viewfinder finished as a Finalist at the 2023 Gawad Sining Short Film Festival.
Her short film Romuelda (2022) internationally debuted and was named Best Screenplay at the 2022 Hong Kong Super Short Film Festival 2022.
It was also an Official Selection and Best Student Short Film Nominee at the Eastern Visayas-based 2022 Pambujan International Film Festival and an Official Selection for the 2023 Pasinaya Open House Festival.