‘Carrot Man’ takes on acting after viral fame

Bot Glorioso - The Philippine Star
âCarrot Manâ takes on acting after viral fame
Dayas lead star Jeyrick Sigmaton, a.k.a. Carrot Man, wins Best Actor at the International Film Festival Manhattan in New York and International Best Indie Actor of the Year (above photo) at the third Dangal ng Lahi Awards 2021.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — If plans push through, the independent short film Dayas that won for Jeyrick Sigmaton a Best Actor award at the recent International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) in New York will be made into a full-length feature film.

This was revealed by producer, screenwriter and director Jennylyn “Jianlin” delos Santos in a recent virtual and physical media gathering, attended by select members of the entertainment press including The STAR.

“I always say that it’s (Dayas) not actually created to have a pre-destined journey. You know, we just trust the process on how it goes. Ngayon nanalo kami ng Best Actor, and we are still eyeing to have some competitions. May mga competitions pa kami na hinihintay,” began direk Jianlin, who received the International Best Screenwriter and Director of the Year trophy at the third Dangal ng Lahi Awards 2021 held last Nov. 27 at Okada Manila. Co-director Pete Mariano, on the other hand, bagged the International Best Cinematographer and Director of the Year awards.

“For now, ganun na lang muna but if given a chance, we might do a full-length (version). Kinakausap na namin ang mga characters and we are developing the story. And since our short film gained approval, we’re planning to do a full-length of Dayas,” added the director, who also revealed how important Dayas to her.

“It’s close to my heart because my father is a miner. It is a tribute to all the victims and survivors of the Ompong Tragedy. I also want to show responsible and irresponsible mining in the country.”

Dayas, under Be Unrivaled Productions and Sine Cordillera, focuses on the lives of two Igorot small-scale gold miners in Itogon, Benguet named Hacob (portrayed by Kelvin Vicente) and Bantay (Jeyrick). The title, by the way, is a term referring to the process of gold extraction from the ore.

Jeyrick delivered an impressive acting performance as a miner, who deals with the challenges of the work in the midst of the changing times, while striving hard to stick to their beliefs and traditions. According to direk Jianlin, the role fit Jeyrick to a T.

Jeyrick rose to fame in 2016 after photos of him carrying baskets of carrots went viral.

“Of course, he is the Carrot Man. In Cordillera, s’ya ‘yung pinaka celebrity talaga. And he’s the first person who notably showed the diligence of the Cordillerans, na talagang nagtatanim kami para mabuhay at simple lang. Jeyrick is a natural on screen, he works really well. I truly saw his acting capability.”

The director also expressed delight in having created a platform that validated Jeyrick’s acting talent. “I’m just happy that we are both Cordilleran and I was able to give that kind of platform. So, it’s a kind of pride for us also.”

She furthered that the 27-year-old actor had the ability to lose himself into the role. In Dayas, he didn’t show any hint of shyness in front of the cameras.

“Everybody knows him like a shy person. Pero ako, nakikita ko kung saan ko s’ya i-mo-motivate. We mostly did the scenes with him in just one take, palagi kaming Take One lang,” shared direk Jianlin.

“I just told him the story of the film and then he memorized his lines. When it’s his turn on cam, I would tell him how I wanted the scene to come out, so ‘pag nakuha na n’ya Take One lang talaga, kasi ‘pag nakuha ko yung gusto ko, I won’t ask for a retake anymore kasi papangit na.”

In fact, direk Jianlin only asked Jeyrick for a Take Two in the last part. “He’s really good.”

Jeyrick, on the other hand, said that the series of acting workshops he had attended in Manila greatly helped in polishing his acting skills. What he found most challenging in Dayas were the emotional scenes.

“Masakit sa dibdib pala talaga ‘pag naramdaman mo ang scene tapos ayaw pang mag-cut ng direktor kasi sa tuwing iiyak ka, doon mo nailalabas yung sakit sa yong damdamin. Kaya nag-praktis ako ng mabuting-mabuti sa pag-iyak,” he recalled.

Direk Jianlin admitted there were challenges in making the short film, among them were difficulty of the location set and the need to truly show how compact yung mga butas (in the site). “At the same time, I really chose full-blooded Igorot actors so I could give opportunities for them to really showcase their talents. The other challenge was the budgeting (laughs). We allotted P1 million for this and we had to stick to the budget.”

Asked what other areas would she like to explore in the future, direk Jianlin said that she’s eyeing to make a documentary “at gusto ko may libro tapos i-do-document ko s’ya kasi when I do a story, I’ll go to a remote area then document it.”

As for Jeyrick, he looks forward to working with Ivana Alawi and Barbie Forteza someday.

Is he willing to do sexy roles?

“P’wede naman po. Sexy rin ako,” he quipped.

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