Tidbits from the “I America” Gala Night

It’s only fitting that I started this year’s Cinemalaya binge-fest with my friend’s entry. I America is Ivan‘s first Cinemalaya-nominated piece and his second full-length feature in 10 months. Most of all, it’s the actualization of his decade-long dream.

Last Saturday’s gala screening wasn’t short of surreal! Ten years ago, Ivan was just one of many enthusiasts watching from the CCP balcony, aspiring to become a filmmaker himself. Fast forward to 2016, and there he was, onstage, candidly introducing his piece!

Bela Padilla topbills this humorous and heart-wrenching saga. Here, she plays Erica, a half-American from Olongapo who hopes to move to the U.S. with her long-lost father. Complications arise when her progress yields more questions than answers. I America also stars Elizabeth Oropesa, Rob Rownd, Kate Bautista, Lui Manansala, Thou Reyes, Raflesia Bravo,  Rhyzza Kafilas, Matt Evans, Joe Vargas, Sheena Ramos, and Julz Savard.


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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. 

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!

Schucks: The alter-ego you want to punch in the face

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…Schucks, a simple story about a cartoonishly animated, overgrown child smitten with a teenage girl. This is an on-location version of one of the drills we made in school and will also serve as our official entry for the  Jack Shorts Film Competition.

Announcement of winners will be on January 15, Saturday. Wish us luck! =)


Directed by: Mark Kito Wilson

Written by: Chuckie C. Chavez

Assistant Director/Editor: Mario Felicidad Reyes

Art Director/Assitant to the AD: Cia Hermosa-Jorge

Cast: Chuckie Chavez, Stephanie Sol, Mario Felicidad Reyes, Mafe Silva