Jojo “Hesumaria” Sescon’s “YUTA”, a multi-awarded film will be screened at 5 pm on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 at the UP Film Center in celebration of Diliman Month and of the National Arts Month. 

This art film won the grand slam in 1991, under which year, the judges of the Film Academy of the Philippines awarded only one film which could stand the categories for experimental, feature and documentary.  It was first ever for the FAP, until today that it has declared the award to only one winner without second and third placers.

*Best Short film 1991 Film Academy of the Philippines
*Best Short Film 1991 URIAN
*Best Short Film 1991 Gawad CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines)
*Filipino lone entry to Students’ Oscar Awards in 1991
*Best Film 1991-1993 Kritika, Gold Citation
*Best Filipino Film 2001, NCCA(National Commission on Culture and Arts)

       In January 2010, Antonio “Jojo” Sescon was commissioned by the brothers of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City, through Fr. Frank Savadera, SJ, to do the patron’s statuette.

       Jojo was excited to start the year right by this commission work. And like any other portraiture projects without bias to the size, the study of the patron’s character was done.

       In Pope John XXIII Encyclical during the 100th Anniversary of  St. John M. Vianney's Death in August 1, 1959, it was promulgated, “you cannot begin to speak of St. John Mary Vianney without automatically calling to mind the picture of a priest who was outstanding in a unique way in voluntary affliction of his body. The gaunt figure of John Baptist Vianney, with that head shining with long hair that resembled a snowy crown, and that thin face, wasted from long fasting, where the innocence and holiness of the meekest and humblest of souls shone forth so clearly that the first sight of it called crowds of people back to thoughts of salvation."

       The saint, among other description is also highlighted of his being dismissive, scornful, and contemptuous of the spiritual foes, so that from the human perspective, and as most of numerous artists’ interpretation in visuals, the patron is depicted just so. But Jojo is not about to replicate the same physical attributes that others have done. For him, starving the flesh cannot hunger  the spirit! As he came to know the patron during the course of character study, his depiction of St. John Vianney this time will be a reminder of that  strong  and charismatic character.

       As a sculptor with 20 years experience in working with portraiture and several public monuments all over the country, Jojo’s constant challenge is capturing the personality of the subject. He says, “There is this certain level of understanding the inner persona that guides me to translate the character into the form. And as I mold St. John Vianney’s character, beyond the stereotype and horror-like interpretation by other artists, I see him come alive in my medium, as a real and warm person… a beautiful face!”

       Jojo started working up a small batch of clay adding lumps here and there, until he was happy with the substantial presentation. The supposed to be statuette became a mini bust portrait that when Fr. Frank came to check the initial form, he was surprised and happy to see the enlarged version instead.

       “I have this urge to satisfy something inside me, and it is beyond commercial value. I’m not dealing with Fr. Frank anymore, I’m already dealing with the Saint himself,” he says of his work and the reason he made this project big, not just in size, but it occupied a big space in his heart. True enough, Jojo was thankful of the good feedback from the Fathers at the seminary when the bust portrait was delivered in June 2010. The reproduction requested was started in July, of which entailed equally intensive attention and dedicated hours for the fine details. August came, St. John Vianney is not to leave the corners of Jojo’s eyes as yet, because he is now halfway working with the bigger version of the bust portrait. Indeed by faith, a venue was made available for its drying stage as he got hold of a humble place right at the back of his rented house to be his studio in Cagayan de Oro.

       As of this writing, the bust for the bigger version sits in the heart of the studio for drying while Jojo executes fine detailing on the replicas of the first project. With this ambiance, kids would excitedly report to him every afternoon after school hours for their clay sculpture class.

       Through his brain-child, the Urian Arts Center, a learning center for the arts, this is a scholarship for neighbors, aimed at having arts presence in the local community. He spends his energy giving no space for mediocrity, and he says of his high standards, “It is the understanding of what good work is all about. I want my students to start early because what they will learn from this experience, they can apply in their daily lives”. He is excited for more projects seeking his studio, to sustain several outreach activities.

       “I have the confidence to declare that I am satisfied with my handy work, and to my end, I can say this project is successful!” Jojo swears, adding that “the project for St. John Vianney has been personally a meaningful and fruitful journey.”

    Urian Arts Center launched in January 2010 its outreach program, "HASAAN", now an on-going partnership with GSK, Inc. (Gugma sa Kabataan,Inc.), an NGO working with street kids in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. This clay sculpture workshop is aimed at giving a space for kids to express their artistry.

     Jojo Sescon is Kuya, Tito, Uncle, Sir and even Lolo to the kids, and he says of this unique and rewarding experience with the group:  "What I'm teaching them is not just the technical, it is on how to be free in expressing themselves as true artists. Each of us use different channels in expressing  our emotions and intellect, so as a mentor I'm there to help tap the inner source of their creativity"./ ejd


A sculptor takes nipa-hut living to an enviably quirky high...

photography by ANTON SHEKER

   Explore your wildcard inventory with Jojo, as he reads 'Wild at Heart: The Films of Nettie Wild'. He is grateful to have a personal copy of the monograph sent by Nettie herself. Jojo says, "the book is very inspiring to filmmakers who are into documentary... filmmaking with integrity, truly representative of  Nettie."
   A flip to page 70, he remembers all the the adventures as well as the hilarious times shared between Nettie (the director) and Kirk Tougas (the cinematographer). Jojo was the 2nd Cameraman of  Rustling of  Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution.

go to

    ‘Opening Salvo’, a three-man painting and sculpture show by Oca Floirendo, Jojo Sescon and Errol Balcos opens at 6 o’clock in the afternoon of February 10,2010 at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol Art Gallery, Along Don Apilonario Velez Street, Cagayan de Oro City. The exhibit runs until February 28.

    The exhibit hosted by the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol is co-sponsored by CU Press, Capitol University, STEAG State Power Inc., Cagayan de Oro Water District, the Oro Art Guild, Inc., CEPALCO, Con. Rufus B. Rodriguez, Brownman Advertising and OROHAM

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   The Cinemagis Digital Short Film Festival in Northern Mindanao is now seeking entries for this year. Entries should delve on the topics of cultural solidarity, harmony with the environment, cultural understanding and voter's education.

    Participants will be divided into two student category -- comprising ages 13-25 -- and the senior category, ages 26 and above. Participating students should be currently enrolled in any school in Northern Mindanao.

    The participants are required to submit their resume or bio data, 2x2 picture, certification of originality from any authority and a resident certificate.

    They must also submit a one-page synopsis of the film while the seniors are required five copies of short film in DVD format before Dec. 21, 2009.

    The contest was launched at the Xavier University Little Theatre last July 4, where Hesumaria Sescon, a multi-awarded filmmaker, gave lecture on the moral ethics in filmmaking.

    Sescon, winner of the Kritika Gold Prize citation for film in 1991, also discussed the importance of giving credits to existing works of other artists when used in new films.

    Hobart P. Savior, director of Cinemagis and the Xavier Center for Culture and the Arts, said the contest aims to broaden the artistic horizons of the region's young filmmakers.

  The youth, he said, should be able to distinguished filmmaking as an entertainment tool and as an academic tool.

For submission and more information, look for Vicmar Paloma, project development officer at the third floor of Museo de Oro, Xavier University. (Hannah Salugsugan, contributor)


NEW YORK — Filmmaker and sculptor Antonio Arturo Sescon was presented at a reception entitled “DreamImages” on December 27, 2007 at the Philippine Center. In attendance were Consul General Cecilia Rebong, Ambassador to the U.N. Hilario Davide Jr., Mrs. Virginia Davide, artists and friends, including noted musician Rey Lauron.Sescon’s sculpture portrait of Fr. Joseph Marabe was unveiled at the event that featured a slideshow of sculpture and films he has worked on, as well as photo images displayed at the Lobby.

Iligan-based Sescon, known as Jojo, has worked with well-known sculptor Julie Lluch on several major projects in the Philippines, including monuments of Manuel Quezon, Carlos P. Romulo, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Cayetano Arellano, and Jose Abad Santos, Evelio Javier Jr., Ninoy Aquino, Doy Laurel, St. Ignatius Loyola, and others. On his own, he has completed works including a Tribute to O’Keefe, a sculpture portrait of Pacificador Lluch and bas-relief of St. La Salle. A veteran newspaper photographer, Sescon later went into filmmaking, in which he won recognition as director, cinematographer and editor for works on social and environmental issues, such as “Think Like a Mountain” and “Bitter Sugar.”

His film “Yuta, Earth Art of Julie Lluch,” was awarded Best Short Film by the Film Academy of the Philippines, Urian, NCCA(Nat'l Council for Culture and the Arts, Kritika and Gawad CCP, and was the Philippine entry to the students’ Oscars.

 – Robert P. DeTagle, robexec@gmail.comBy Michael Pana