Known for comedy, Victor Villanueva goes serious in 'Lucid'
Karla Rule (The Freeman) - September 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Expect to see a completely new side of Cebuano director Victor Villanueva as he cooks up his next film. This time around, the filmmaker dives into our dreams, exploring the possibilities and perhaps also the limits of our subconscious.

“Lucid,” Villanueva’s newest entry to this year’s Cinema One Originals, stars celebrated actors Alessandra de Rossi and JM de Guzman as Ann and Xavi. The suspense-romance film is written by Natts Jadaone, who, along with Villanueva, joined the recent Ricky Lee Writing Workshop where the concept for “Lucid” was first introduced.

Produced by Project 8 Corner San Joaquin, “Lucid” is pretty much straightforward and skirts around the phenomenon where you’re able to take control of your dreams – anything goes, defying the laws of Physics and any authority except your own.

“I think perfect siya for C1 because it has an edgy and alternate feel to it. And opportunity siya to try something new and different which is what C1 is all about,” says Villanueva.

His last foray into the film festival was eight years ago, through the 2011 comedy-horor film “My Paranormal Romance” starring Phoebe Kaye Fernandez, Van Roxas, Publio Briones III, and Paul Jake Castillo.

Since then, Villanueva has grown into the director of the lauded “Patay Na Si Hesus” blockbuster which debuted in 2016 starring Jaclyn Jose, Chai Fonacier, Melde Montañez, Angelina Kanapi, and Vincent Viado.

Villanueva has also tried his hand at mainstream comedy via the 2018 film “Kusina Kings” starring Zanjoe Marudo and Empoy Marquez.

This year, his latest work includes the iWant romcom series, “Jhon En Martian” starring Pepe Herrera and Arci Muñoz.

Villanueva said he feels pressure chuckles when asked he feels pressured to do well as he returns to the Cinema One Originals film festival which is where he began his filmmaking journey.

“Mas pressure because this time I’m not doing an all-out comedy, di maiwasan ang expectations,” he said.

Villanueva describes “Lucid” as something with a “very dark, romance, fantasy tone,” an unfamiliar territory for someone who considers comedy his forte. He said viewers will find a more serious side to him as he takes on this new challenge that’s bound to add a twist in his director’s portfolio.

“Challenging because it’s a style I’m not usually accustomed to. May anxiety on how to shoot this, because it’s going to be quieter, more nuanced and talks a bit about mental health, which is no easy task. Comedy gyud ko. Siguro I’m just going through something, a feeling or a phase that I want to do something different muna.”

Despite his daunting task, Villanueva looks forward to working on “Lucid” with none other than De Rossi and de Guzman, who have impressed viewers in many dramatic performances, notably in the hits “Kita Kita” and “That Thing Called Tadhana,” respectively.

“Right from the start, sila na na-imagine namin ni Natts for the characters. I’ve always loved Alessandra's work. She's a very nuanced actress, kaya niya maging serious at maging lighthearted.  JM has always been that ‘dream guy’, the type of person na you can talk about everything,” he said.

“Lucid” is one of the eight finalists for the 15th Cinema One Originals announced in March. Other competing films are “Metamorphosis” by J.E Tiglao, “O” by Kevin Dayrit, “Sila-Sila” by Giancarlo Abrahan, “Ascendant” by Sherad Anthony Sanchez, “Tayo Muna Habang Di Pa Tayo” by Denise O’Hara, “Utopia” by Dustin Celestino and Dustin Uy and “Yours Truly, Shirley” by Nigel Santos.

VICTOR VILLANUEVA
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