Meet the OFW cast members of direk Chinoâs Lamentasyon
Lead actor Jiro Tejero as Samuel, Megasam Coronel as Osang, Virgo Cueto as Cheska, Kevin Ocampo as Brent and Arnold Briones as Gerry
STAR/ File

Meet the OFW cast members of direk Chino’s Lamentasyon

Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - April 10, 2021 - 12:00am

All the cast members of director Chino Pereira’s forthcoming horror-suspense thriller, Lamentasyon, are OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) based in Dubai. They are successful auditionees of direk Chino’s People On The Go (POTG), a group of young and dynamic individuals doing content of mostly short films and commercials.

Most of them never experienced acting in the mainstream. This pandemic, the cast members even faced different challenges professionally and personally. Some lost their jobs, while others even suffered depression.

All of them remain hopeful this year, as they anticipate better things to come. Foremost of these is the digital showing of Lamentasyon, streaming on KTX.Ph

Jiro Tejero plays the lead as Samuel, a breadwinner who wants to give a better life for his family. He was chosen as lead actor for Lamentasyon after undergoing intensive acting workshops. He has been making short films and content for POTG since 2018.

This is not Jiro’s first time working with direk Chino. “He is the epitome of a director who’s very passionate in his craft,” Jiro said of his director. “The most challenging part is where to find a location where we can shoot scenes, while maintaining social distancing and implementing safety precautions during this pandemic.”

Jiro hails from Bacoor, Cavite and previously worked as a sales assistant at Mall of Asia. He took up Hotel and Restaurant Management at Cavite State University.

Arnold Briones never expected to be included in the main cast of Lamentasyon. “I was really shocked when direk Chino called me to say I was chosen to do the role of Gerry,” Arnold shared. “Honestly, I had no idea why I was chosen. I know there are a lot of artists here in UAE more talented than me. I don’t know. Maybe direk Chino saw something in me that’s why he chose me and trusted me with this huge role.”

Before Arnold started on POTG, he was making commercials, short films and series. “Direk Chino is so down to earth, very humble, generous and dedicated to his job,” Arnold offered. “The challenging part for me while shooting Lamentasyon was time management, because all of us had different schedules and availability. We were working in different fields, that’s why we were having a hard time meeting each other to shoot other scenes.”

Arnold, who grew up in Pampanga, finished his studies at Systems Plus College Foundation, completing Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He got to play bit parts in Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna and a sci-fi film, Instalado, directed by Jason Paul Laxamana.

Kevin Ocampo joined POTG as an artist and saw the potential of the brand to be bigger, not just in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), but also worldwide. He plays Brent, one of the housemates of Samuel (Jiro). “I did not audition for the role, but direk Chino Pereira saw the character of Brent in my personality, that’s why he trusted me with the role, as part of our Team POTG.”

Lamentasyon is not also Kevin’s first time to work with direk Chino. “For me, he is one of the kindest directors I’ve met. He is very creative, authentic and most especially, one of the modest persons I’ve known. One of the challenges doing this film is the pandemic situation we are facing up to this day. We need to follow the restrictions and precautions of the government.”

Vhie Laurilla plays Magda, the mother of Samuel. She was approached by direk Chino and Kevin to cast her in Lamentasyon. The role was subsequently offered to her.

“Working with direk Chino for the first time was very light,” Vhie offered. “He was cool yet professional. He listens to suggestions on how to make the scenes better.”

Vhie was into theater during her high school and college days. “Since it has been a decade, acting with direk Chino was very challenging and my skills were reinvigorated,” she said. She has been in Dubai for two decades, previously working for the Food and Beverage (F&B) sector and now as events strategist and entrepreneur.

Megasam Coronel, on the other hand, described direk Chino as cool, but passionate with his job. “He is not the type who will intimidate you,” he said. “In fact, you can deliver what is asked from you when he’s the one directing. He will even support you. His creativity as a director is really admirable.”

The first short film that Megasam did for POTG instantly went viral. “Direk Chino probably saw my potentials there,” he shared. “He later asked me to do extensive workshops. Then he talked to me about the role of Osang in Lamentasyon.”

Megasam first ventured into doing musical plays. His first assignment was Alikabok, with Rachel Alejandro and Raul Mitra as the leads. Then, Megasam also did Sound of Music, under Company of Players, with Carla Martinez and Chinggoy Alonzo.

On TV, Megasam did bit parts in ABS-CBN teleseryes like Basta’t Kasama Kita, with Robin Padilla and Judy Ann Santos and GMA 7’s Obra, with Katrina Halili. He was also in the cast of Jose Javier Reyes’ film, Maruja, with (then) Rustom Padilla and Carmina Villarroel.

Megasam moved to Dubai four years ago after he was recruited by one comedian from the Philippines. That was also the last time he was in Manila (2017). Back in 1995, he started as a stand-up comedian in Manila, performing in big venues like Punchline, Laffline, 22nd Street and Musicbox, among others.

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