Category Archives: Film School

Kayo na ang Pag-Ibig

I couldn’t be any prouder. Ikaw Ang Pag-Ibig, our mentor Marilou Diaz-Abaya‘s latest film, scored 13 nominations for the upcoming 9th Golden Screen Awards which is scheduled to take place on March 24.

It’s the first motion picture I had any form of involvement with. Production was ongoing when I began my short film course in MDAFI, so we were required to drop by on set every now and then. (Blink and you’ll miss my “cameo” in the cocktail scene. Haha!)

Anyway, here are the nominations:

*Best Motion Picture – Drama

*Best Actress in a Lead Role – Drama (Ina Feleo)

*Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama (Marvin Agustin and Nonie Buencamino)

*Best Director (Marilou Diaz-Abaya)

*Best Original Screenplay (Marilou Diaz-Abaya)

*Best Story (Marilou Diaz-Abaya)

*Best Cinematography (David Abaya)

*Best Editing (Tara Illenberger)

*Best Production Design (Maricris Silva, Giselle Andres and Tess Rivera) 

*Best Sound (Albert Michael Idioma)

*Best Musical Score (Nonong Buencamino)

*Best Original Song (“Ikaw ang Pag-Ibig”, music and lyrics by Ogie Alcasid, performed by Carol Banawa)

To those who haven’t seen it yet, Ikaw Ang Pag-Ibig is undoubtably Direk Marilou’s most personal film to date. It’s a story about love uniting a torn family and spirituality triumphing over adversity. This is definitely a film you have to see with you’re loved ones.

Direk always told us that accolades don’t really matter. For her, as long as you continue telling stories and doing what you love most, you’re already sharing a part of yourself to the world. And every labor of love you produce is already a tiny step towards leaving your legacy.

But of course, it’s still an honor to be recognized for something you poured your heart and soul into. So to see my colleagues who worked hard to bring this together be included in that list is indeed such a thrill. My heartfelt congrats goes to everyone involved in this production. Best of luck on the 24th!

See the full list of nominees here.

Next Stop, Cinemalaya (Also, Happy Leap Day)

Trixie finally “meeting” her alter-ego Yannie last January 21. 

I’ve always believed that Leap Day is all about making all sorts of, well, leaps – of joy, of excitement, and in this case, of faith. Sige, pati na rin literal na leap. 

After serious coaxing by my scriptwriting instructor, Christian “X” Vallez, I submitted Hang Girl to the Cinemalaya screening committee this afternoon. It was, by no means, a well-thought-of decision but a decision I’m glad I made nevertheless.

If it gets accepted, I’ll probably be the happiest camper in the planet. If not, well, it was still worth the damn try and I’ll be even more driven to make another film. Win-win.

*Crossing fingers, toes and limbs starting now* 

I miss my crew. 

This is how you Swede MDAFI-Quattro Style (Part 4 of 4)

The final, most challenging batch of plates.

“The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” (2006)

DOP: Miray Lozada

PD: Mario Reyes

TALENT: Timmy Merto

“Gladiator” (2000)

DOP: Chuckie Chavez

PD: Timmy Merto

TALENT: Mario Reyes

 

“The Wolfman” (2010)

DOP: Dan Chua

PD: Joachim Mendoza

TALENT: Chuckie Chavez

 

“Saw” (2004)

DOP: Cia Hermosa-Jorge

PD: Neal del Rosario

TALENT: Jon Villarin

 

“Alice in Wonderland/White Queen” (2010)

DOP: Connie Macatuno

PD: dom Dycaico

 

“Volver” (2006)

DOP: Timmy Merto

PD: Connie Macatuno

 

“Alice in Wonderland/Garden” (2010)

DOP: Jon Villarin

PD: April Castro

This is how you Swede, MDAFI-Quattro Style (Part 3 of 4)

Third batch of PD/DOP plates, with a special participation of “Yoda”.

“Hero” (2002)

DOP: Joachim Mendoza

PD: Miray Lozada

TALENTS: Daves Espia and Carolyn Guevarra

 

“Star Wars Episode VI: The Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

DOP: Mario Reyes

PD: Cia Hermosa-Jorge

TALENTS: Joachim “Anachim Skywalker” Mendoza and “Yoda”

 

“The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (2001-2003)

DOP: dom Dycaico

PD: Danielle Alvarez

TALENT: Mario Reyes

 

“Garden State” (2004)

DOP: Neal del Rosario

PD: Dan Chua

TALENT: Miray Lozada

 

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

DOP: Avel Sunpongco

PD: Jon Villarin

TALENT: Miray Lozada

 

“The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001)

DOP: April Castro

PD: Chuckie Chavez

TALENTS: Miray Lozada and dom Dycaico

This is how you Swede, MDAFI-Quattro Style (Part 2 of 4)

The “Sweding” continued yesterday with an all-new set of selection of movie stills. This time, it was my group’s turn to light our respective plates – with mostly blackmail-worthy results.

Here’s what happened in Day 2:

“Shutter” (2004)

DOP: Dan Chua

PD: Timmy Merto

TALENTS: Cia Hermosa-Jorge and Danielle Alvarez

 

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

DOP: Jon Villarin

PD: Mario Reyes

TALENT: Xy Pintoy

 

 

“Atonement” (2007)

DOP: Cia Hermosa-Jorge

PD: Neal Del Rosario

TALENT: Miray Lozada

 

“2046” (2004)

DOP: dom Dycaico
PD: Joachim Mendoza
TALENT: Xy Pintoy
“Last Life in the Universe” (2003)
DOP: Miray Lozada
PD: Connie Macatuno
TALENT: Danika Nemis
“Alice in Blunderland Wonderland” (2010)
DOP: Chuckie Chavez
PD: Avel Sunpongco
TALENT: Jojo Saguin
“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (1992)
DOP: Danielle Alvarez
PD: April Castro
TALENT: Daniel Chua

The Tugs Tugs Experience

Yesterday, my longtime friend Ivan wrapped up on his short film Tugs Tugs. And we can’t get even more elated.

Notwithstanding the fact that it takes place in a club called “Asylum”, the set didn’t feel like one at all. Yes, there were occasional slip-ups and snafus – that’s inevitable in any production – but the shoot still was generally smooth. Almost everything was done right on the first take and we wrapped up an hour earlier than the expected time.

Needless to say, I am proud of my friend. Having known him since we were 5 (I’m not kidding), I’ve come to see him as a very focused, driven and passionate person who knows precisely what he wants and will stop at nothing to get things right. I witnessed how he cultivated his passion in video production through our high school productions of Macbeth and Noli Me Tangere and how he eventually found his true calling to become a filmmaker.

And yesterday was truly a testament to that.

Plus, I think it also helped that majority of our barkada was there; common friends whom we both accumulated in the two decades that we’ve known each other contributing their time and talents to achieve a common goal. It was indeed a euphoric experience for everyone involved.

Now, I can’t wait to start shooting my own finals.

…But first, remind me never to use an iPad slate again. Hahaha!


This is how you Swede, MDAFI-Quattro Style (Part 1 of 4)

I know what you’re thinking. No, we are not remaking Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind. This, my friends, is all part of a series of exercises for our cinematography and production design class.

A couple of weeks ago, our class was divided into two groups and we were each asked to choose from 7 pre-selected movie stills. Our task was to emulate the overall look and feel of our assigned movie still.

This was how Day 1 went:

“The Last Samurai” (2003)

DOP: Mario Reyes

PD: Miray Lozada/Chuckie Chavez

TALENT: Danielle Alvarez

 

“Amelie” (2003)

DOP: Joachim Mendoza

PD: Cia Hermosa-Jorge

TALENT: Connie Macatuno


“The Exorcist” (1973)

DOP: April Castro

PD: Danielle Alvarez

TALENTS: Danielle Alvarez and Chuckie Chavez


“Exorcist: The Beginning” (2003)

DOP: Neal Del Rosario

PD: dom Dycaico

TALENT: Kat Lozano


“Halloween” (1978)

DOP: Avel Sunpongco

PD: Chuckie Chavez

TALENT: Cia Hermosa-Jorge and Daniel Chua


“Dark City” (1998)

DOP: Timmy Merto

PD: Jon Villarin

TALENT: Danielle Alvarez


“Blade Runner” (1982)

DOP: Connie Macatuno

PD: Daniel Chua

TALENT: April Castro


Ocular Spectacular

Yesterday, I met up with my schoolmates Tess Rivera and Trixie Ayson to scout locations for Day 2 of Ivan‘s final shoot. Since the bulk of his short film is set in a creepy underground club, we had to find a space that was wide-open and borderline spooky. Something that would give justice to the fictional club named Asylum.

The ocular was expected to be a whole day affair. Tess had prepared a long list of prospective locations and contacts and we split into two groups: Team North and Team South (I was in the latter). The original plan was for each group to concentrate hunting for locations in specific assigned areas, and in our case, Las Pinas, Makati and Manila. But then, everything came to a halt when we found the right place: a semi-abandoned building along Alabang-Zapote road.

Being from the South, I find myself travelling through Zapote from time to time and, yes, I have seen that building. It’s pretty hard to miss. What, with it’s huge, castle-like facade and tacky color combination, it’s bound to stand out. Let’s add the fact that it’s situated beside a creek: pseudo-moat for a pseudo-castle.

Upon entering the parking area, the empty shops lining the ground floor exterior almost gave us the impression that the place is haunted. But what surprised me is that the building is still very much functional. Half of it at least. The top floor is still being used as a ballroom, and ballroom junkies still actually flock to the place every night. While the ground floor is a haven for furniture and art lovers because it houses an antique store overflowing with eclectic collectibles.

After speaking to the owner of the store, who turns out to be part-owner of the entire building, we were then led to the exact location. To get there, we were made to traverse a series of spiral staircases and narrow brick corridors.

And before I knew it, there we were.

This area is definitely perfect for “Asylum”. It’s spacious, it’s eerie, it gives you an unsettling feeling that people can go mad when locked up inside, and conveniently enough, it used to be a club itself. Now, I’m excited for Sunday!