Because I Love You stars (from left) David Licauco and Shaira Diaz, Michelle Dee and Martin del Rosario. Producer Arnold Vegafria (inset) believes that the movie will resonate with millennials.
Why ALV head Arnold V. is gambling on new faces
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - June 25, 2019 - 12:00am

In this time when there seems to be an over-supply of local movies in neck-and-neck competition with foreign movies, why would a neophyte producer dare join the game?

“I want to help the industry and provide jobs for more people,” said ALV Films head Arnold Vegafria, “and I want to help new faces find their place in the entertainment sun.”

Daring, isn’t he?

Arnold knows the ABC/XYZ’s of beauty pageantry, he being the franchise-holder of Miss World Philippines/Mr. World Philippines, and perhaps ample knowledge of the ins and outs of movie production since, aside from beauty queens, he also grooms actors and actresses including David Licauco and Shaira Diaz who are being launched as a “kilig” loveteam in Because I Love You directed by Joel Lamangan.

The movie is one of the two films (the other is a travelogue-type flick) in the can, part of the 10-film plan Arnold hopes to accomplish between now and next year. Some showbiz insiders (this one included) described Arnold’s derring-do as a big “gamble” because of the reality that only a few local movies make good money (Kita Kita, Exes Baggage, Eerie, The Hows of Us, etc.) in the same way that not all foreign films are moneymakers (and only those produced by Marvel are blockbusters.)

Hope springs eternal and new producers like Arnold deserve the support of both moviegoers and industry people.

“The more films we plan to produce, the more jobs for more people,” added Arnold, “and the more talents for movie writers to write about. Producing movies is my way of giving back to the industry which has been good to me.”

Because I Love You is calculated to resonate with millennials faced with the question: Do they still follow the age-old virtues of chastity or gallantry typically found in good old-fashioned love stories?

Arnold is excited about the David-Shaira loveteam’s potential.

“For this project, I wanted to launch new artists, new faces, a new love team. I know it’s a big risk, but I strongly believe in the movie’s potential. It’s fresh content, and a very ‘aspirational’ story, and I hope the movie’s appeal spreads by word-of-mouth.

David Licauco and Shaira Diaz

“With their combined strengths as influencers and exemplary role models for the youth, they can rightfully be hailed as today’s fast-rising millennial icons. I have always believed in David and Shaira’s acting potential, and it’s high time that they get their first big break through this launching movie.”

The scion of a leading business clan in Tabaco City, Albay, David is a chinito heartthrob who has so far been showing more flesh than acting talent, and more workshops wouldn’t hurt. In the movie, he plays Rafael, the cool, quiet and reserved executive and heir to his family’s business empire, whose conservative roots have shaped him into stereotyped thinking, including matters of the heart.

Shaira plays Summer, the tenacious, street-smart firefighter who proudly continues her departed dad’s heroic legacy, much to the chagrin of her mom who wishes her to be a flight attendant or a beauty queen.

They have already appeared in Nakawin Natin ang Bawat Sandali, an episode in Magpakailanman which became one of the top trending topics on social media, and in One Hugot Away, GMA 7’s web/TV project last March.

Discovered by TV5’s Artista Academy, Shaira is a bit more senior than David. She has starred Contessa (2017), Pamilya Roces (2018) and Love You Two (2019). David’s recent outings included Mulawin vs. Ravena (2017), Kapag Nahati Ang Puso (2018) and TODA One I Love (2019).

“It was a blast working with Shaira,” said David. “I know she’s got the edge as a dramatic actress, but her kikay personality really shines through, especially during our love scenes.”

Shaira found working under Joel challenging and intimidating.

“Knowing his reputation as a strict and disciplinarian director, I’m happy that we survived…somehow,” she said with a chuckle.

Because I Love You also stars Martin del Rosario, Michelle Dee, Samantha Lopez, Bernadette Allyson, Monsour del Rosario, Mr. World Philippines 2018 JB Saliba, Timothy Lawrence Yap, Bryan Benedict, IC Mendoza, Victor Basa, Rob Sy, Chris Leonardo, LM Mercado, Afi Africa, Melo Merkona, Jao Mapa, and Mosang, with special cameo appearances by Miss Multinational 2017 Sophia Senoron, Miss Eco International 2018 Cynthia Thomalla, RJ Ledesma and newly-elect Senator Francis Tolentino.

For some of the movie’s pivotal scenes, Arnold spared no expense in recreating the lavish and opulent cinematic backdrops reminiscent of the acclaimed 1990 romcom Pretty Woman, which starred Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

The feel-good romcom, written by Charlotte Dianco, a popular Wattpad writer and TV director, features the similarly titled theme song popularized by Julian Lennon, was rearranged by Vincent de Jesus and performed by Kris Lawrence.

ALV Films produced the movie in cooperation with Garahe Films, distributed by Regal Films nationwide starting tomorrow, June 26.

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

ARNOLD VEGAFRIA BECAUSE I LOVE YOU DAVID LICAUCO MARTIN DEL ROSARIO MICHELLE DEE SHAIRA DIAZ
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