MANILA, Philippines - A flick of a switch, and not superheroes, can help save the planet from impending doom.
That's the message of the short film of Alvin Tiamzon, an aspiring Filipino filmmaker who bagged the grand prize for "My View: The Asia-Pacific Climate Change Video Contest".
The short film competition, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), was meant to highlight the serious threat posed by global warming.
The 23-year old Tiamzon, a software engineer, bested 70 entries from ADB's 67 member countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Tiamzon's piece "How to Save the World," a humorous take on saving energy using imagined superpower-strength, was the overwhelming choice by an international panel of film directors and critics, including award-winning Filipino filmmakers Brillante Mendoza and Pepe Diokno.
Tiamzon says the idea of using a spin to superheroes came to him during a jeepney ride, and the film shot with supportive officemates as actors over a lunch break.
"I was thinking of something very simple. People depend on superheroes to save the world, but in reality, the impending doom is global warming and solving the problem is up to us," says Tiamzon, who also takes inspiration from his company's practice of following simple energy saving measures like turning off the lights.
Tiamzon points out the solutions ultimately lie in every person's hands.
"We received many high-quality entries, but Mr. Tiamzon's video stood out for its wit, energy and clear message," says judge Ann Quon, principal director of ADB's department of external relations.
Nepal's Anup Poudel won in the under-21 category for his film "My Green Home," which depicts the dangers of environmental damage thru the eyes of a 6-year old boy.
Malaysia's Yusmal Ghazali and Alex Choo Chin Fung won in the over-21 category for their film's "What We Are Doing About Climate Change" and "If Animals Could Speak," respectively.
Mendoza says the works were a refreshing look at a growing global issue, and allowed people of all ages to connect with the subject.
Tiamzon with the judges of the competition
"We liked the entries. Some of them were funny, like the winner, some serious, but all the entries were great... it's a great indication of where we are," Diokno adds.
Entries to the short film competition ranged from drama to mock documentary, and even animation.
Tiamzon's win earns him a US$2,500 prize and the opportunity to help ADB develop the piece into a climate change ad campaign.
Event organizers say the competition, a first for ADB, is just the start of a bigger effort in the organization's climate change campaign.
"ADB has embraced climate change. As we look forward on this issue, we hope to reach wider issues and this is just a small part of it," says Jason Rush, Sr. Media Relations Specialist for ADB. "We're pleased with the results in the future we hope to sponsor more competitions not just on climate change."
The ADB notes the Asia-Pacific region is considered to be among the areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change including rising temperatures, sea levels, and extreme weather events threatening food security, livelihood and human health and habitation. And while studies show the region is suffering from the onset of human-induced climate change, it adds that nations can tap cost-effective mitigation and adaptation measures to help combat the effects.
Click here to watch the winning ADB Climate Change videos.