The #NoFilter documentary about the struggles of a mother and her daughter with special needs just won the Bronze World Medal in the New York Festivals. Produced by ABS-CBN reporter Jeff Canoy, the docu is entitled Tao Po and was completely filmed with a camera phone.
Tao Po, which premiered in Philippine television August of last year, is about Ana Gonzales, a mother in her 50s, raising a girl she gave birth to two months earlier than normal. As predicted by her doctor, her child will likely have special needs. Indeed, Candy was born with Down Syndrome—a genetic disorder associated with physical growth delays and intellectual disability. To provide for her needs, Ana sells rice cakes around Candy’s school in Muntinlupa.
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“Kaya minsan mahirap talaga kung paano ko bubuhayain ‘yung anak ko. Sa kaunting pera, kaya kailangan magtinda nang magtinda,” Ana says in the documentary. She is raising the child by herself; Candy’s father left three months after she was born.
“When we were making the documentary, we knew it was special,” says Canoy who explains to ANCX why he chose to film using the camera phone. “We filmed the entire thing using mobile phones so there’s more intimacy in conversations because it’s less obtrusive compared to our bigger cameras. It’s the first time that it’s been done in ABS-CBN so there were a lot of nerves if we could pull it off. But it also shows that anyone with a mobile phone can tell the stories of the marginalized. Anyone with a camera phone now has the power to tell stories that are not often told.”
But what ultimately make the docu special to Canoy are Ana and Candy. “The story that we feature is also powerful because we basically have a two-hander: a mother and her daughter with different needs and their unwavering spirit to find home in each other,” says the ABS-CBN reporter. “Hopefully, the recognition brings an additional spotlight to the stories of persons with different needs and the need for all of us to be kinder to one another.”
“Tao Po” is now streaming on iWant.