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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

‘Sugdan na Ang Sakit’ with real-life couple Akiko Solon and Elcid Camacho

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman
�Sugdan na Ang Sakit� with real-life couple Akiko Solon and Elcid Camacho
Akiko Solon and Elcid Camacho
Photo by Januar Aguja

CEBU, Philippines — Most love stories revolve around love-or-career as its central conflict. But in the Cebuano romantic drama “Sugdan na Ang Sakit”, the dilemma is much more difficult: Family or career? As the film’s trailer states, “Are you going to choose the love that’s good? Or the love that is right?”

This one-hour, 30-minute feature by BisayaFlix stars singer and former Star Magic talent Akiko Solon and Mr. Universe 2022 Elcid Camacho who is also a full-time filmmaker and founder of the studio.

Local actors Joy Gabales, Sam Constanilla, and TJ Villacampa are also part of the film’s cast, with the special participation of Pinoy Dream Academy Season 1 runner-up Jay-R Siaboc.

“The story is quite close to our life. The character I play, Jerome, is quite close to me, and Akiko, who plays Mia, is a singer here,” Camacho said when he and Solon dropped by The FREEMAN newsroom for an interview.

“Sugdan na Ang Sakit”, BisayaFlix’s first theatrical release, will premiere tonight, February 25, at SM Seaside City Cebu. Its 7 pm screening has been sold-out, thus, a second slot at 9 pm was added.

“The idea itself that it’s a Bisaya movie can bring Cebuanos into theaters, and I think that’s the main difference from watching a movie on our cell phones. Story-wise, so many people can relate and I think they might cry,” said Camacho.

Some elements of the plot were inspired by the real-life romance between Solon and Camacho, who first met in 2022 when they both sat as judges in a singing tilt. Back then, both were still off the market.

“My first impression of him was that he smelled so good. That was my first time doing events again after a hiatus. I was like, ‘I need to glam up since Elcid is Mr. Universe.’ But I turned up over-dressed compared to the rest,” recalled Solon.

Aside from starring in the film, Camacho is also the director, writer, and editor, following up his action series “Atong Storya, Among Storya” which was first aired on his online platform.

With an appetite for making action movies inspired by his idols Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, he explained his decision to make a romantic drama: “We are at a point where we see what’s popular among the Bisaya and what gets their attention and their heart,” he said.

The couple cited the chemistry of Piolo Pascual and Sarah Geronimo in “The Breakup Playlist”, Kathryn Bernardo and Alden Richards in “Hello, Love, Goodbye”, as well as Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in “A Star is Born” as their inspirations for the movie.

Camacho said anyone can relate to the film’s message that it’s not too late to pursue one’s career dreams.

“It’s inspiring, especially for dreamers who may not have a path. So this is one of the ways for them to feel inspired to achieve their dreams, and to enjoy life whatever is thrown at us,” Camacho added.

- Bisaya films on the mainstream -

Solon and Camacho have both attempted to pursue showbiz careers in Manila but were given roles that felt stereotypical and one-dimensional.

“There are times that Bisaya actors only get supporting or small roles, so I didn’t have a chance to show my full talent,” said Solon. “Even with my love of acting, the time and effort in doing workshops, maybe it was not my time yet.”

As for Camacho, he shared auditioning for a role but was derailed due to his Bisaya accent.

“That’s exactly the point of why we made BisayaFlix. Our story is one of many Bisaya actors who feel discriminated against. We created BisayaFlix so that we can show the Philippines, which has a Bisaya population as a majority, that we can bring Bisaya cinema into the mainstream,” he explained.

After its premiere at Seaside, Solon and Camacho plan to screen their film in Dipolog City and Davao City. While they are open to eventually releasing “Sugdan na Ang Sakit” in Manila, they are prioritizing the VisMin areas as their target market.

BisayaFlix will next work on an action-comedy film with US-based studio Skyhorn Productions that is inspired by “The Hangover” movies. — (FREEMAN)

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