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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Cebu film production company holds 2-day acting workshop

Vanessa A. Balbuena - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  During the pandemic, Cebuana actress, host, director, writer, and produer Badidi Labra had the privilege of being a scholar in an acting workshop by award-winning actress Angeli Bayani. Not having acted since 2016, attending the workshop re-ignited her passion for the craft.

At the same time, with lessened travel restrictions in the past year, Cebu saw a few television productions shoot here, namely, ABS-CBN’s “Almost Paradise” and “Iron Heart.”

“I would hear a lot of horror stories of Cebuano talents which the Manila people thought didn’t know how to act and were not fluent in Tagalog. The talents, mostly models, would get scolded because they were not trained in acting, and that’s unfortunate because it’s not entirely their fault,” Labra told The FREEMAN in an interview at the Cebu Century Plaza Hotel.

This gave Labra the light bulb moment to share her learnings from the workshop with Bayani, together with industry friends who have experience in varying fields of television and film production. With numerous productions coming to Cebu, the demand for local artists is high – thus the need for acting workshops to hone the skills of Cebuano talents.

Backlight Studios, a film production company in Cebu which Labra is a part of, will hold a basic but intensive acting workshop on March 11-12 for adults (16 years old and above) and March 18-19 for kids (5-15 years old) at the Cebu Century Plaza Hotel for a fee of P5,000. The sessions will run from 9 am-4 pm.

Workshop mentors include Labra, who will impart to participants an introduction to the Stanislavski System and the techniques of Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler and Sanford Meisner.

“From Ms. Angeli Bayani, my main takeaway with the Meisner method is, you have to be a very good liar to become a very good actor,” says Labra, who was awarded Best Actor at the 2013 Sinulog Film Festival, and has earned special recognitions at the Cinemalaya and Cinemarehiyon film festivals.

“In other methods, they connect it to their personal lives. For example, you ask a child actor who has a crying scene to think that their parents died. What if they’ve never experienced death? Or if they’ve gone through it, what if it re-traumatizes them?”

“With Meisner, you are taught to create the character down to the smallest details. And when the director yells cut, you can immediately let go. There are actors that after cut, they’d still be sobbing long after, which is not mentally healthy,” adds Labra.

Labra will also teach script analysis, characterization, doing scenes with an actor, as well as “self-love.”

“It’s important for an actor to know the core of their character because there are some who get carried away by their roles and this impacts their personal lives negatively,” says Labra.

Another mentor is thespian, director, producer and writer Clanch Dayve Belleza who will be teaching the processes and techniques of acting for film, television, and theatre.

“In Cebu, we rely on raw talent. I’ve been a casting director for a while here and I’ve noticed most of my cast, if they have the talent for acting, it’s too big for the screen. It’s more for the stage,” says Belleza, who wrote, produced and directed “Julie”, a short film that earned him an honorable mention as director at the 2015 International Film Festival Manhattan.

“We want them to lessen it, and that’s what I will touch on…how to find the subtlety.”

Michael Bacalso – actor, stunt/fight choreographer, and a professional martial arts instructor – will also be on hand with camera angling and stunts as his focus. He has worked in local productions such as ABS-CBN’s “Wildflower,” Star Cinema’s “Revengers Squad”, Viva Films’ “The Trigonal”, and in international projects “Escaping Paradise” and “100 Yards.”

From director Roldan Ardines, students will learn how to take instructions from directors, how to communicate with directors, and how to be a collaborator. A theater and film advocate, Ardines is a four-time grand champion, and three-time Best Playwright and Best Director at the Cebu City Drama Festival, among other awards.

Established in 2018, Backlight Studios’ projects include an entry to the 2019 Sinulog Film Festival, a CCTN Lenten presentation, ads and promotional videos for the Department of Tourism, hotels, and condominiums, as well as an upcoming film for the country’s top entertainment streamer.

For inquiries on the acting workshop, contact (+63) 956 716 8018 or message the Facebook page Backlight Studios 01.

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