Making his own mark as director

- Mario E. Bautista -

Director Mark Reyes started his career as an apprentice to his more famous uncle, Jose Javier Reyes. Now, they both have entries in the forthcoming Metro Manila Filmfest. Mark directs Resiklo starring Bong Revilla while Joey has two drama-comedies: Katas ng Saudi and Sakal Sakali Saklolo (sequel to last year’s award-winning Kasal Kasali Kasalo). What does direk Mark think are his chances against his uncle in bagging the Best Director award?

“I have no illusions of competing with him,” he says. “Milya-milya ang layo niya sa akin. My brother and I were orphaned when we were kids and he was the one who sent us to school. He has a big influence on me.”

What can he say to Joey’s statement that his films do not capitalize on special effects and there are no magical characters who can fly and with special powers?

“Well, it’s because it’s not needed in his stories. In my case, I’m doing a futuristic sci-fi action-adventure spectacle so we really have to use computer effects. It would be very hard to pull off this kind of project without special effects. This is a film both kids and adults will enjoy, and since Christmas is for kids, we made sure it has a lot of elements that will please them.”

Mark started as a director of the hit youth-oriented TV series, T.G.I.S., which he also megged when Viva Films did this as a movie. It was followed by Silaw, a thriller starring the young stars of T.G.I.S. On TV, he is best known for his hit telefantasyas like Encantadia and Etheria. He is now directing Richard Gutierrez in another such vehicle, Kamandag. 

Last year, he went back to making full-length films and did Moments of Love, a romantic drama starring Dingdong Dantes and Iza Calzado involving time travel. It proved to be a sleeper hit at the box office and revived his directing career in the movies. He did Eternity, another romance, and Tiyanaks, a horror flick. He considers Resiklo his toughest big screen assignment so far. How did he convince Sen. Bong Revilla to bankroll the project?

“I made a pitch tape of Resiklo for GMA 7, starring Iza Calzado and Paolo Contis. I showed it to GMA 7 for a possible TV series but they had other projects lined up so this was not a priority. It so happened someone told me Sen. Bong was looking for a possible project for the Metro Manila Filmfest, so I sent him the pitch tape and he liked it. He said, ‘Bago mo gawin itong TV series, gawin muna nating pelikula.’ Once he gave Resiklo his go-signal, it was all systems go for the project and I appreciate that Sen. Bong is very generous and gave everything we asked for. He really wanted to make it exceptional kaya when we’ve completed filming and he felt there should be another ending, he asked me to shoot again and he spent a few more hundred pesos for additional shooting days. For the sound alone, he spent a few million more to do the sound engineering in Thailand, since he wants it to be in 7.1 Dolby sensurround to make it more marketable abroad. We had to create a special sound design for the movie to make sure blastings and other relevant sounds like bullets flying are heard all around the theater.”

Why is the title Resiklo? “It means recycle. The story is set in the not too distant future after an apocalyptic alien invasion left our planet in shambles so everything has to be recycled. In our country, a resistance movement against the aliens and their mutant allies thrives in a secret sanctuary called Paraiso. Their leader is Crisval Sarmiento, played by Sen. Bong, a former Navy Seals, who has an ax to grind against the aliens who killed his whole family. The aliens are called Balang or locust as they look like insects. The mutant humans are called Mutanos. The soldiers who fight with Sen. Bong are Dingdong Dantes, TJ Trinidad, Benjie Paras, Brian and Jolo Revilla and Paolo Contis who is a geeky inventor and assembles the giant robot from recycled materials that they use to fight the aliens and mutants. Roi Vinzon is Hades, the leader of the mutants. The women in the cast include Jennylyn Mercado as Bianca, a nurse; Michelle Madrigal as Miles, a doctor; Empress Schuck as Gila, a blind girl who can see the future; and Mylene Dizon as Alura, a mutant.”

We ask Sen. Bong what he liked in the project when it was first offered to him? “The concept is something new in local cinema, about Planet Earth being subjugated by conquering aliens. It’s a good action-adventure movie but it also has a lot of heart as the story is really very absorbing from start to finish. This is bigger than any movie I’ve done for the filmfest before, like Agimat and Exodus.”

“The story of Resiklo involves many characters, like a soap opera,” adds direk Mark. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve been a fan of sci-fi films like the Star Wars series. Hopefully, this will have a sequel so we can also make it into a trilogy.”

“I know this will hit it big,” adds Sen. Bong. “I’m sure we’ll have a Part Two next year.”

Resiklo has its own website and you can view its full trailer on www.resiklo.com.






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