Last Days at Sea

 An adolescent boy and a grown up woman recognise in each other an affection for the world that unites them. As they share the last days of summer before the boy leaves to study in the city, they record the things they wish to remember, before the precious moments of childhood become only memories.


I met Reyboy five years ago. I was hired to produce a video about how an isolated fishing village in the southern Philippines survives during devastating storms. All twelve years of Reyboy’s life belong there — the water rippling past him as he swims in the sea, the salt appearing as sea droplets dry on his back, and the nights spent under the stars imagining the world beyond his hometown. When I found out that Reyboy is leaving to study in the city as there is no high school in his town, I returned to the village. We filmed the little things we wanted to remember together. As the Summer ended and gave way to the rain, I walked with Reyboy as he prepared to leave his home. In small gestures, he shows me how he says goodbye to the only world he knows. As we stand at an intersection, between remembering the past and facing the future, we pause to take a last look at a childhood that will never return.


Meeting Reyboy reminded me of the child in me that I did not know I had forgotten. When I first met him, I immediately saw his ability to feel wonder towards nature in its details.  I was touched by how he lived life with tenderness in spite of how difficult life was in an isolated fishing village. In spending time with Reyboy, I understood how the pressures of geography and poverty inevitably shape our emotional world.

The film will be made in such a way that it reflects my relation to the place and to Reyboy. We invite the audience to get to know Reyboy’s life and to walk with him. First, understanding the way of life that depends on the sea and in  a deeper sense to feel this passage from boyhood to the unknown future. 

I fear that one day the difficulties he will face, will make him lose the openheartedness he possesses— the same qualities that I had lost as I was growing up. So, in the film, I try to do what is impossible in real life — to freeze time, to hold this beautiful childhood in our palms before it is left behind.

Directed by: Venice Atienza
Cinematography: Venice Atienza & Moshe Ladanga
Edited by: Anna Silva and Katrin Escay
Sound design by: Yannick Dauby
Produced by: Fan Wu
Associate Producer: Claire Labadlabad
Produced by: Svemirko Film Productions
Co-Produced by: Ninjadog Studios Inc.


DMZ Industry, Rough Cut Presentation – DMZ Excellent Project Award 2020
IDFA Project Space 2020
Hong Kong Asia Film Financing Forum , WIP Project 2020
Visions Du Réel , Rough Cut Lab – Raggio Verde Subtitling Award 2020
Docs By The Sea Editing Lab, Boda Media Group – New Talent Award 2019

Supported by the IDFA Bertha Fund Classic 2019
Developed at Docs By The Sea 2018

Published by Svemirko Film Productions

Svemirko Film Productions was co-founded in 2019 by Venice Atienza (Philippines) and Fan Wu (Taiwan) with the aim to direct and produce creative documentaries with strong personal stories. The Croatian word ‘’Svemirko” literally translate to “dear little universe” in English. Our ambition is to bring to life stories that open up universes that are often forgotten or disregarded. We are currently producing Atienza’s film Last Days at Sea, which is awarded the IDFA Bertha fund Classic in 2019. In parallel, we are also producing Wu’s film XiXi, which was awarded the National Documentary Production Fund in 2019. Both projects have been invited to participate in film markets around the world including LisbonDocs, Docedge Kolkata and Docs By the Sea Indonesia.

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