An entry for the The International Dota 2 Short Film Contest has been making the rounds on social media due to its quality (and that a Juggernaut used Omnislash on creeps).
Wonderlast Films, a humble group of passionate Filipino filmmakers, submitted an entry for Valve’s annual The International Dota 2 Short Film Contest. Titled as the Masked Warrior, the one-minute-and-thirty-second live action clip vividly displayed how an iconic hero faced the struggles of daily life three years after a great war.
UNMASKING THE ORIGINS
“Why not?” Dary Ow, director of The Masked Warrior, said as to why he chose to do the short in Filipino. “It just doesn't feel right if it's done in English. As Filipinos we're very competitive, we take competitions very seriously, I want to make it personal to us. So again, why not?”
This wasn’t the first time the crew attempted to submit an entry to Valve’s contest. Ark Abordo, Production Manager and Talent Manager, shared how their alacrity was ignited two years ago but was hindered by lack of resources.
“Alam namin na kaya namin gawin pero mahirap. San kami kukuha ng costume, artista, props, and other stuff na kailangan namin sa film? So that that time, alam namin na crowdsourcing ang way to solve our problem. Back then, pano nga naman kami mag ka-crowdsource kung wala kaming portfolio? So hindi namin naituloy dahil walang credibility na pwede panghawakan yung mga contributors samin,
(We knew that we can do it but it would be hard because we don’t know where to get costumes, artists, props, and other stuff necessary for the film. We knew that crowd sourcing is the only way but we have yet to have a portfolio back then to back up our credibility)
Moving on to the present time, five weeks before the deadline, inaya ko si Dary na sumali ulit sa contest and good thing na nabuo na namin si Wonderlast and masasabi ko na sapat na yung portfolio namin para magkaron ng producers to fuel everything on this film. Then nag-start na kami mag-crowdsource ng mga talents, gamers, cosplayer, and crew member.”
(Moving on to the present time, I asked Dary to join the contest once more, five weeks before the deadline. By that time, we were already able to establish Wonderlast and we already have a portfolio to have our producers fuel everything on this film. We then started to crowdsource talents, gamers, cosplayers, and crew members.)
It took the crew five weeks to create a masterpiece: two and a half weeks of pre-production which included costume making, script writing, location hunting, talent sourcing, and crew sourcing. It was followed by one whole day of shooting then two grueling weeks of video editing.
When asked about how much the team spent for their entry, Director Ow never hesitated to answer, “PHP 65,000 for all the expenses including costumes, props, transportation, and food for the cast and crew. We were able to save so much because all of those who joined worked for free.”
Director Ow even recounted how he was shocked when Sir Rex Kantatero, a local radio DJ and online personality, messaged his intentions to join the project for free.
MASKING THE WARRIOR
“Isa siya sa pinaka-significant hero sa Dota, Dota 1 pa lang nandoon na siya. At yung mask niya kasi ngayon, in one word, ICONIC. In essence, pwede nating masabi na Juggernaut can represent Dota as a whole,” Director Ow said as to why he chose Juggernaut as his main character.
(He is one of the most significant heroes of Dota even way back during Dota 1. His mask nowadays, in one word can be described as iconic. In essence, we can say that Juggernaut can represent Dota as a whole)
However, more than the story itself, the greatest challenge which Director Ow had to heavily consider was the feasibility of their plan. This was his primary reason as to why he chose to cast Juggernaut alone. Being able to concentrate on a single character simplified the story.
The Masked Warrior was easily set apart from most of this year’s entrants because of the commitment to do live action instead of an animated film. However, their chosen medium also offers a variety of challenges. How do you make a live action feel true to the game’s aesthetic?
“First is to design a realistic costume. An armor that makes sense in real combat in the real world. Second is to create a world wherein each character has their own purpose. And lastly, remove the game mechanics. Having your characters outside of the game creates their own personality and history.
Kaya kahit kanino niya gamitin ang Omnislash niya, it doesn’t really matter.” Director Ow explained.
(That is why Juggernaut can use Omnislash to everyone, it doesn’t really matter.)
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES
Earlier today, The International Short Film Contest announced The Masked Warrior as one of the 15 finalists. This brings Dary Ow and his crew a step closer to the USD 25,000 prize money and to the fulfillment of their wish for the Filipinos to dominate The International 2017 in every aspect.
“Thank you so much for the support to our team and, of course, to our entry for the short film contest,” Mr. Abordo said.
However, before bidding their appreciation, Director Ow revealed the next chapter for The Masked Warrior. Can the fans expect more Dota-related contents from Wonderlast?
“Yes! pinag-uusapan na agad namin yung prequel, pero hindi pa sigurado kung kailan namin gagawin,” he said.
(We’re already talking about the prequel, but we’re not sure yet when will that push through.)
Not only that, if you ever wondered what the creeps were actually yelling when Juggernaut started to slaughter them one at a time, Director Ow got it covered with his trivia.
“‘Kami na mananalo! Sure win na to! Team Pilipinas mananalo.’ Lalabas yan sa BTS videos na ginagawa namin ngayon.”
(‘We are going to win! This one’s in the bag! Team Pilipinas will win.’ It will be featured on our behind the scenes videos which we are currently working on.)
Before ending the conversation, Director Ow shared how he wanted The International 2017 grand finals to be a rematch of the greatest upset the Dota 2 scene has ever scene, “I want to see TNC Pro Team & Team OG in the finals! Any of those two!”
Right now, The Masked Warrior is still on his journey and his success lies in our hands. You can vote for them in-game.