This Filipino Student’s Short Film About A Sex Toy Is Premiering At An International Film Competition

*Looks at massager.*

Jake Consing made his short film, Dildo, as part of his directing class. One Instagram ad later and it is now set to screen at the Outfest LA LGBTQ Film Festival.

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We all have to start somewhere. And this holds true for filmmakers and directors. Some of the most talked about and celebrated directors right now didn’t attain overnight success. Instead, some started out through short films and quick shorts done during their student years. But even if short films are made on a shoestring budget and tight schedule, they are also early showcases of potential and talent that a young filmmaker can possess. And the beauty of cinema is that no matter where you are in the world, films, whether feature length or short, have the ability to jump language barriers and connect. This is the scenario college student Jake Consing finds himself in.

May be a closeup of 1 person, screen and text that says 'PS 23.976 SHUTTER 180.0 800 ND 5600 5600K+0.0C K +0.0C BAT 14.4V B005 C003 STBY CARD 0:13h 0:13 c01:31:22:0'
Jake Consing

Last year, he created a short film called Dildo for his directing class about a massager being used more than well, a massager. Entertaining and impressive to those who watched it, Dildo managed to bag a jury prize at a competition up against LGBTQIA+ centric films from around the world and is now set to screen at the OUTFEST Film Festival this July, one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ film festivals in the world. NYLON Manila got the chance to talk to the young filmmaker about working on the eccentric project and what it feels to have his film get recognized internationally.

A CURIOUS SON AND SUPPORTIVE MOTHER

At just over a minute long, Dildo follows a teenage boy who discovers that his massager can do more than just sooth his muscles. Mid pleasuring himself, his mother walks in on him and gets mad at him for using the massager. She then hands him a real sex toy to use for his pleasure. “A supportive mother who just wants the best for her son,” is how Jake would describe the film. While not intrinsically complex, it’s off kilter approach to a taboo topic has endeared it to many who have seen it.

“A lot of my work has been influenced by my own experiences, with mental illness, with queerness, with activism, with memory—but I’m still trying to figure out who I am as an artist and a filmmaker. My most cherished experiences have been when my work connects with people,” says Jake.

THE RANDOM ORIGINS OF DILDO

True to his ethos, the budding filmmaker got his inspiration from the film through his own experiences. “While filming another project at home, I found my actress massaging her face with a massager, that looked a bit…well, phallic. From there, the idea popped in my head: what if someone used it as a dildo? After that, the idea just lingered, not as an idea for a film, but just as a funny joke.” By the time Jake had to make a short for his directing class under Dan Villegas, the inspiration wasn’t hard to find. “I had the stupidest thought: ‘That dildo joke would make a funny short.'”

Still from “Dildo” short film

Assembling a crew that consisted of close friends and former co-workers, the making of Dildo was surprisingly not that awkward despite its subject matter. In fact, Jake found the experience hilarious. “Our main actor, James, had no previous acting experience, but was so game for the role. Whenever we’d finish a take, we’d all burst out laughing, especially when watching the playback. Our actress, Ellena, who had acted as well in my previous short, gave me the idea to base her character’s costume off of Qiu Yuen’s character from Kung Fu Hustle. When she put on the costume, she just became the character. It was hilariously amazing. I had a blast shooting Dildo. It was some of the most fun I’ve had on set.”

INITIAL REACTION

Once the film was completed, he posted it on his Facebook page. And to Jake’s shock, what started out as a dumb joke from a dirty mind turned into a viral hit. “I remember waking up the next day after I posted Dildo to see it had almost 10,000 views on Facebook. I couldn’t believe it. My stupid idea of a joke had apparently resonated with over ten thousand people. And then it became fifty thousand. And then a hundred. Now, over 215,000. Being used to directing drama and having only made one other comedy short, I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, and I was really happy to see that I did.”

More than 960,000 views and 25,000 reactions later, the post has even managed to reach people outside the Philippines. What struck most for Jake though was not how people found the concept funny, but the accepting reaction from his fellow members of the queer community. “Many found the mother’s strangely progressive and sex positive reaction to her son both funny and weirdly endearing. Comments flooded in saying, “sana all supportive!” I wasn’t thinking about it while writing it, but as a sex-positive advocate myself, I guess my politics found its way into the comedy.” He adds, “A couple of people who watched Dildo connected with the relationship between the son and the mother, in a strangely heartwarming way.”

GOING INTERNATIONAL

But online virality and great use of Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics wasn’t the only things Jake’s short film had going for it. From joke to class project, Dildo could also add international film to its pedigree. This past April, Dildo was one of the winners of a competition hosted by Outfest, one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ film festivals in the US. “I follow the Instagram page of Outfest, an LGBT film festival in the US, and one day, I saw an ad for their one-minute movie competition. I thought, hey, Dildo is technically a queer short. So, I gave it a shot.”

That contest was the Outfest Fusion One Minute Movie Contest and competing with films around the world, Dildo was awarded a jury prize, even receiving praise from staff at Outfest. As part of his prize, the film will screen as part of the “I Have to Laugh: Comedy Night at the Ford” program on Saturday, July 23 at 8:00 PM PDT at The Ford Theater (Sunday July 24, 11:00AM Philippine Time). While he’s still undecided if he’s going, Jake says he’s proud of the achievement. “It’s surreal. I had no idea that Dildo would ever make it that far. I’m just so humbled and grateful for the opportunity given to me by Outfest. And as a queer advocate, how appropriate!”

FILMMAKER IN THE MAKING

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Over the past year, we have seen quite a few Filipino be recognized and premiere internationally. And Jake can add his short film to the list. Despite the fact that he’s still in college, Jake has already worked on his fair share of productions. Some have been used by international brands while some have even been screened in international film festivals.

As for what’s next for Jake career-wise, the FAMAS nominated young creative wrote and directed a film called Write Here starring Bodjie Pascua and Rolando Inocencio about an old gay man with Alzheimer’s disease struggling to hold onto his identity and the memory of his one true love. He hopes to have the film’s local premiere at a film festival this August. If you want to see more his work, you can check out the following avenues, “My first film Cut starring Dylan Ray Talon and Tristan Ahorro is available on Viddsee and the YouTube page of Gawad Sining; my one-minute shorts are on my personal Facebook profile; and the two-minute pride short I made starring Joel Saracho and Brigiding Aricheta is on the Facebook Page of the Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders (PANTAY).”

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