The Rights and Wrongs of VinCentiments

The merit behind VinCentiments’ cultural trend is that it stands as a representation to the pleas and woes and frustration of today’s youth. And in their very own ways, the team puts themselves in a position to represent the youth; at the very least, that is respectable.

In their latest controversial piece entitled “KPL | Online Class,” they made an attempt to capture what used to be restrained thoughts of frustration towards online classes. And in said production, they were able to reach over 182k views on YouTube, and over 5.2 million views on Facebook. And given the controversy of the film’s content, the page received numerous negative reactions from the online community, primarily offending teachers in the process.

Screengrab from the VinCentiments video “KPL | Online Class”

The likes of Erik Matti, Jerrold Tarog, and other renowned filmmakers are skilled in terms of featuring detailed fragments of reality, and how well they put these simple events together to render it an art form. I recognize the VinCentiments team as a group of young artists, garnering an impressive audience of over 1.5 million YouTube subscribers and over 2 million Facebook Page followers.

What the VinCentiments team needs to realize is that they have a lot of areas to further improve on as content creators and as curators of human experiences, especially in the discipline of film production.

For starters, grasping the problem of online learning modes need to be viewed systematically, even in the lens of film. That very endeavor proves that even films, or any art form in general, are political. Choosing a lens is imperative for any practitioner in the film industry, may it be commercially sponsored, or independently produced.

Building on that premise, VinCentiments team needs to understand that online learning can be further elaborated by an array of discussions ranging from lack of preparations, insufficient funding in the education sector, academic apartheid, lack of genuine student representation, privatized/commercialized education, decades of discrimination to curricular stakeholders not only limited to teachers, but also including students in general, and others.

Although technical, film is a form of propaganda. It is the quality of the propaganda’s content that matters the most since the major reactors that will indeed be influenced by the art form are the viewers.

Screengrab from the VinCentiments video “KPL | Online Class”

The VinCentiments team also needs to realize that while their representation to students is valid, it is undeniably linear. The fact that scriptwriter Darryl Yap failed to represent the authenticity of its characters and focused solely on how their star actress, Loren Montemayor Larinas, expressed a single side sends a much different message.

Although, it is praiseworthy that the young team initiated to provide two other videos highlighting how teachers and how parents would react to online classes (Kudos!). However, what they need to understand is that even in short films, the relationship between their characters is important.

Citing their “KPL | Online Class” film, the film appeared to be excessively centered on Larinas (student) and downgrades the reputation of the teacher which is present in the short film. Thus, what the VinCentiments team needs to learn is how they would unify their characters despite the time restraints of a short film.

Therefore, the act of synchronizing all the authentic narratives of their characters is key to achieve an even better form of art, and the best part is that they already have a brand that makes their films so appealing to the public—and that is authenticity.

Screengrab from the VinCentiments video “KPL | Online Class”

Like their characters, the VinCentiments team must realize the need to act as professionals given that they are artists by declaration. Being toxic towards their critics is not a personality brand, and they have to understand that acting in such a way only leads them to misrepresenting the youth even more.

Their sarcastic rants as well as their vulgarity as artists does more harm than good; they end up contributing to the social stigma that the youth is incapable of engaging in mature and rational forms of discourse (which, they are not).

As artists who deem themselves as those who voice out the woes of the youth, they must remold themselves into even better representatives. Otherwise, their art forms would only be rendered as acts of masturbation, pleasing their own artistic needs to produce and to be admired.

Their artistic integrity must not waver over the temptations of self-rooted fame and adoration; they must not be blinded by the spotlight because by doing so, they end up compromising their integrity as artists.

The VinCentiments team experience teaches us that like their characters, we are not so perfect all in all. We all have our biases as well as our own dignified principles to live by and die for. However, that nature does not excuse us from our identities as social beings. It mandates us to improve through the brutal process of rectification. And of course, the VinCentiments team would not want to obtain anarchic arrogance over this.

Screengrab from the VinCentiments video “KPL | Online Class”

Of course, as those who bear the pride of an artist, they must be willing to accept criticism over their art forms as an act of professionalism. Ultimately, they must be responsible for whatever damages or offense their art forms manifest, and treating their critics in a toxic manner is not the way to do that.

To conclude, this write-up calls for the Vincentiments team to form a public apology, at the very least.

Editor’s Note: This essay was first published in Essays Against Mediocrity.

About the Author

John Thimoty Romero is a licensed professional teacher, a graduate of Philippine Normal University – Manila last 2017 as Bachelor of Secondary Education – Major in English. Upon his graduation, he received the Gawad Graciano Lopez – Jaena Co-Curricular Award for Campus Journalism.

He is the founder of Essays Against Mediocrity, a website dedicated to support independent authors, poets, and other content creators.

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