Lights, camera, action!
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - February 14, 2015 - 12:00am

The invasion of foreign films and the geographically-concentrated promotions of films in the Philippines have made regional films difficult to proliferate. Though there have been plans and efforts by some well-intentioned individuals and organizations but the picture of it is still far from what is even enviable. 

Admittedly, there is a dearth of Cebuano films. Though festivals are being held regularly, they are still very much focused on certain themes, such in the case of the Sinulog Short Film Festival which revolves around a recurrent central theme. And this is the very reason why I am taking every opportunity to engage myself in undertakings that promote local cinema, and in a way, promoting Cebuano language.

For the past weeks, I was pulled in two cinematic undertakings. Both demand physical and emotional intensification. The first one is a short film, O Santissima, an undergraduate requirement in a cinema program of the University of San Carlos.

First in the creative world of music as a member of the band called Drop Decay, Kenneth Lim Dagatan, despite being a budding and aspiring director, he handled the team professionally. I have noticed that such professionalism was nurtured by his ever supportive mother and Ruel Antepuesto, who has been mentoring him in the real world of filmmaking. Kenneth has the knack in motivating his actors.

The horror film, Oh Santissima, put me in a very challenging role as an abortionist and a mother to a monster. My character, Marisa, despite the complexities of rearing a monster child showed an uncompromising love to her child-doing everything just to feed him with fetus.

In this film, I personally involved myself in practically the entire process as I want to know the details as I played the main part. It was an exercise where flow of ideas comes naturally as the whole team was so accommodating just to weave and attain uncompromised quality output. It pays to be working with young ones with so much creative inputs waiting and willing to be explored.

The second one, Swap, is a full-length film directed by a multi-awarded director both national and international. I am privileged to have been directed by a seasoned director, Remton Siega Zuasola. A film that uses long shots which allows actors room for improvisation. Sometimes referred to as a full shot or a wide shot, it typically shows the entire object or human figure and is usually intended to place it in some relation to its surroundings. It gave me more liberty as an actor. It was artistically challenging because Remton is Remton. Other casts are likewise award-winning, the likes of Matt Daclan, Dionne Monsanto, Mon Confiado, RK Bagatsing and Jess Mendoza. Other casts in the film are Publio Briones, Eli Razo, Ronyel Compra, Paul Kiener, Chai Fonacier, and Jen Mijares. The film will be an official entry to the Sinag Maynila Film Festival in Manila. The creative producer is the Cannes 2009 best director Brillante Mendoza. This is being produced by Solar Entertainment of Mr. Wilson Tieng.

The film gave me the opportunity to work again with my former member of the UP Students Theater Arts Guild for Education. Chai as an actress is known for Amor Chicko (2007), Biyernes (2011). She is the Best Supporting Actress in the movie Operation Prutas during the Sinulog Film Festival 2015. Her popularity started when she was part of the 2006 Pinoy Dream Academy.

 One is neophyte and the other is award-winning. Both are young and passionate of their chosen craft. Their enthusiasm exudes as they braced the series of nights and wee hours in the mornings to remedy some unexpected glitches along the way. Working with young and compassionate Kenneth and Remton-they are the new breed of artists who have audacious ideas. Who else would keep the flame from burning?

Lights on. Roll camera. Action!

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