Fifth directs the Gonzaga sisters in ExorSis

Leah C. Salterio - The Philippine Star
Fifth directs the Gonzaga sisters in ExorSis
The long-standing friendship of Fifth Solomon (center) with Alex Gonzaga (right) gave rise to the horror-comedy film project Exorsis, the Viva Films’ official MMFF 2021 entry starring the comedienne-vlogger with her sister Toni Gonzaga.

MANILA, Philippines — The friendship of young film director Fifth Solomon and TV host-comedienne-social media personality Alex Gonzaga was what gave rise to the horror-comedy film project, ExorSis, Viva Films’ official entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).

The film was hatched while Fifth and Alex were on vacation in New York in November 2019, a few months before entertainment activities were halted because of the pandemic.

Fifth became known all over the country when he joined Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) All-In or Season 5 in 2014. It will be remembered that Fifth was the “Brad Kulit ng Pasay” in PBB, where he became one of the housemates with his twin brother, Fourth, the “Brad Bait ng Pasay.”

Roberto “Bobby” Pagotan Solomon is literally the Fifth among a brood of seven children. Inside the PBB house, Fifth developed his long-standing friendship with Alex, who was then one of the house guests.

Fifth’s older sister, GMA 7 talent Chariz Solomon, referred to Fifth as the family’s “director, writer, actor and singer,” in one post on social media to greet him on his birthday two years ago. Meanwhile, Chariz referred to Fourth as the “CEO, actor, chef, singer, painter, Michael Jackson.” She said she is always proud to be called their sister.

At the start of the pandemic, Fifth worked on the script of ExorSis. “Nakakulong lang,” he offered. “Wala akong inspiration. Apat na walls lang. Nakaka-baliw. So gumawa na lang ako ng horror. Kami ni Alex, pareho kami ng humor, so nagbabatuhan lang kami ng idea. Napadali ang proseso.”

Through the years that they’ve known each other, Fifth and Alex traveled together far and wide. From Baguio City, they went to Thailand, Taiwan and all the way to New York in 2019, when ExorSis was conceptualized. Alex suggested that Fifth come up with a script for a new film project with the sisters.

Fifth made his directorial debut back in 2015 in the light romance, Nakalimutan Ko Nang Kalimutan Ka, which also topbilled Alex with Vin Abrenica. Recently, Fifth worked at the helm of the Diego Loyzaga-Barbie Imperial romantic drama, Dulo.

In ExorSis, Fifth acknowledged Alex helped in “collaborating and cooperating” in some of the comic scenes in the film. He finds it easier to direct a film when he also pens the story.

“Alex and I started brainstorming on movie concepts and scripts at that time,” the young director shares. “Mahilig kasi akong mag-kwento sa kanya.

“Since kailangan ko din ng pera, gumawa ako ng script. Comedy ang original script, but when the pandemic came, mas madaling gawin ang horror. Konti lang ang tao sa mga eksena at konti lang ang kailangang lugar.”

Although Toni and Alex supply the comedy part, the horror, drama and the rest of the aspects of ExorSis are credited to its megman.

“Ang movie, ‘pag pinanood mo siya, hindi mo mararamdaman that it was shot during the pandemic,” Fifth points out. “Ang mga cast, ang taas ng mga bato nila at atake sa mga eksena. Super happy ako na nakagawa ako ng ganitong movie.”

ExorSis is the first production of Toni’s TinCan Productions for Viva Films. The outfit carries the nickname of Toni, “Tin,” or how people close to her call her, attached to a positive word.

“TinCan do it or TinCan also venture into something positive,” Toni explains. “Paul suggested that so I can grow as an artist. So that I also know what goes behind the scene and what goes behind the production. I’m also part of the producer of the movie.”

Toni started to have a different admiration for production people once she also tried her hand at bankrolling a film project.

“Mas na-realize ko, ang kabuuan ng pelikula, hindi lang sa artista. Hanggang cameramen, utility, gaffer, lighting, lahat importante ang trabaho nila. Mas nagkaroon ako ng deeper love, appreciation at respect sa film set when I also started to produce.”

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