Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Now Here's a Competition that Truly Matters

An I-Witness documentary presented by Howie Severino and starring some of the most gifted adolescents in the country

I-Witness documented a nerve-wracking and dazzling real-life reality show that television did not stage -- a public high school did. The school is the only one of its kind, the famed Philippine High School for the Arts in the secluded woods of Mount Makiling in Laguna, the alma mater of such arts luminaries as Raymond Red and Grace Nono.

For the first time in its history, the PHSA called for a live audition of aspirants for 40 annual scholarships, worth 300,00 pesos per student per year.

Howie Severino and his team immersed themselves in the week-long auditions on PHSA's mountain campus, and focused on the lives of three applicants as they go through an emotional roller-coaster in a tranquil environment. Applicants become friends while competing as rivals for limited spots.

Ziv is a shy home-taught classical guitarist who lost his mother to breast cancer five years ago. Finally feeling at home in a school, he faces the prospect of rejection because another classical guitarist who is auditioning may be even better than he.

Applying for the second consecutive year, ballet dancer Joan was traumatized by her first rejection but wants to be a student at PHSA so much that she decided to try again.

Having never known his father, folk dancer aspirant Jason has been inseparable from his mother. But auditioning is the only way he can continue his education and help his mother alleviate their poverty.

Triumph in these auditions means not only a free, world-class arts education, but an opportunity for an artistic career and a chance to represent their country overseas, like many other PHSA alumni before them.

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