It’s such a delicate act—bringing to life stories that have nestled comfortably in one’s head. For six years, I’ve been pitching around a love story about compromises and loss called SANA DATI. For six years, the whole thing had been an idea. Now shooting is over and I’m sitting in front of the editing workstation still half-believing that what had filled my mind for so long is finally real. The characters have been made flesh. Imagined words have been sung aloud in each actor’s particular cadence. So many things could’ve gone wrong between translation to transmutation but everything is now here, existing as cinematic clay ready to be molded into final form.
I’ll never get used to this. And it’s my seventh film. Crazy.
Six years is a long time. I’ve cycled through friends and allies, and have unintentionally acquired enemies of different sizes—some through misunderstandings, some because the other party is simply insane. In spite of and because of these cycles, the idea remained alive. I don’t really know if it’s a good idea. I just know it’s an idea I have to pursue to the end.
I don’t know how this thing will look like once I’m through. But I move burdened with overwhelming gratitude to everyone who helped bring this script to life. I move with excitement, humbling awe, and the kind of fear that’s necessary to keep one grounded while staying on one’s toes, reaching, always reaching.
Every once in a while, I find a film so beautiful, moving and relatable that I find it hard to sum up in words. “Ang Nawawala” is such a film. Its subtelty and poignancy has cut my heart out and got me tongue-tied. It is so painfully sweet, so depressingly good that I am writing this review with so much and nothing to say at the same time. The film left me as speechless as its protagonist, and whatever writing I’m doing will probably end up as confused ramblings of an emotional girl.
Ironically, this is going to be a very long review containing NECESSARY SPOILERS. I am attempting to expound on the undertones which I can’t do without giving out some details. And because I’m getting really carried away.
“Ang Nawawala” (What Isn’t There) focuses on 20-year old Gibson Bonifacio (Dominic Roco) who has not spoken in ten years. Because of trauma and guilt, he pulled away from the world, setting up his selective mutism as a wall. He comes home for Christmas to a dysfunctional family. His mother (Dawn Zulueta), a woman distant and broken, welcomes him with a cold heart. And when mother and son first look at each other after a long time, we see the pain and longing in Gibson’s eyes.
The Bonifacios are dysfunctional in a very quiet, somber way. They sit over dinner with awkward formality. Although the father (Boboy Garrovillo) tries to cheer everyone up, the cloud hanging over their heads is too heavy to disperse. We see a family portrait of depression. And when we notice one vacant chair on the other end of the table, we understand that something is really missing in the picture.
Gibson moves around the house like a ghost. He locks himself up in his bedroom, smokes pot, and plays his records. Even when he is spending time with his family, he doesn’t really connect with them completely. He tries, with the help of a video camera. He records moments he finds to be special, no matter how ordinary they are. And then he mashes them up in his computer, adding tracks of music that describe how he feels about these memories. He also reconnects with an old friend, Teddy (Alchris Galura), who introduces him to the local music scene. Here, he meets Enid (Annicka Dolonius). They are into the same things and she doesn’t judge him when she finds out he doesn’t talk. She becomes someone he can finally talk with, albeit not without his iPhone. And as her name implies, she brings “life” back to his existence.
I’ll jump right into it, I loved the movies this year. I can’t compare it to any other year because last year was my first to experience the festival and I was only able to watch a handful then.
I wasn’t expecting that I’d be able to watch any movies this year because I was supposed to fly back to Australia that exact week. Then, my schedule got a little rambled up and I ended up staying here. Though, I really was craving to be back in Oz, I was happy that at the loss of that trip I got to watch numerous entries!
1st Ko Si Third
I was happy that with the little time that I got, I was still nurturing myself with the art of the industry I am in. To be able to observe all aspects of film, not restricting myself to acting, tingled a spark in me. I guess it’s my hidden desire to someday be behind the scenes of making a beautiful film.
My personal favorite was definitely “Mariquina”.
I thought it had the complete package. It pinched that spot in my heart that I dare not acknowledge or give life to. I bawled my eyes out at the part when Ricky Davao’s character was trying to eat his way through the sad reality that his wife had left him while his daughter, Imelda (played by Barbie Forteza [you were superb]), wondered where her mother had gone. And some more when young Imelda received that phone call, with Ricky Davao’s character in the foreground displaying his own cry of anguish. Even MORE when the adult Imelda (played by Mylene Dizon) comically brought herself to the centre of their town with her father’s friend, showing a yearning for security from a father figure, asking him to leave when they parked the car. Then showing how distraught she was from everything that had happened in her life. That exact moment her her body quivers from the woe she had been carrying all her life.
Not only did the storyline distinctively resonate with a few dear occurrences in my life but it was also, so wonderfully shot. The director had a clear image of his vision for this film. The editor (Hi Ben T) was magnificent with his transitions, allowing the emotions per scene to linger long enough so that the audience could feel it and then be prepared to move on with another emotion for the following scene. The scoring was on point. The makeup for the characters weren’t over the top and the prosthetics looked authentic! Kudos!
This film was just so perfect for me.
I know this post might be a little too late but what was your favorite Cinemalaya entry this year?
I wanted to watch everything but i only had one free day and everything else I wanted to watch was super sold out!
I thought the awards were given out fairly but of course, I wanted Mariquina to win more!!!!!!!!!!!!
And that controversy. Wow. I feel you filmmakers and producers.
My lovely director from Transit, Hannah Espia :)
The director of Mariquina, Milo Sogueco.
My favorite Filipina actress, my Ima, Irma Adlawan!!
Congratulations Cinemasters Antoinette Jadaone, JP Habac, Chad Cabigon, and Hannah Espia for their work on films that bagged numerous awards in this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival!
Best Screenplay, Audience Choice Award, Special Jury Prize, and NETPAC Special Award for Director’s Showcase: Antoinette Jadaone, co-writer of Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Ekstra”
Best Supporting Actor, Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Director, and Best Film for Director’s Showcase: JP Habac, Assistant Director for Jerrold Tarog’s “Sana Dati”
Best Supporting Actress, Best Actress, Special Jury Citation for Ensemble Acting, Audience Choice Award, Best Original Score, Best Editing, Best Cinematography, NETPAC Special Award for New Breed, Best Director, and Best Film for New Breed Category: Chad Cabigon, Assistant Director and last, but not least, Hannah Espia, Director of “Transit”!
Your UP Cinema family is very proud of your accomplishments!
Para po sa mga walang access sa Indie Films at sa mga hindi nakapanuod nito sa Cinemalaya, now’s your chance! Panuorin po natin ang Rakenrol! The film is about two friends who found home in the Phil. Underground music scene.
BTW, Zombadings One: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington is a really good film. It may be awkward at first, pero maganda ang pagkakagawa dito. Uniquely Pinoy! Unusual storyline, Must watch!
It’s the season for Cinemalaya auditions. I just want to relive my experience through here. I might have already written about this and spoken about it richly for interviews but I want to share how intimidating the entire experience was for me.
So many think that I had it easy. That I got a role because I have it all and because I’m already established. No. I did not get it because I am “Jasmine” (whatever on earth that might even mean), or because I am established, or because I have a sister that has already paved the way for me. You’ve got me all wrong. That would be a great misjudgment on myself, the producer and the director of Transit. So stop right there.
When you go in for castings, the directors and producers already have an image of their characters, what they should be, the personality they carry, the way they look or fit the story. They mould this image in their heads and hope that when a line of aspiring actors (or in my case already called one but still trying to find the real soul of acting, itself) come into the room, they scan who is in front of them. They do not solely base their choice on accomplishments or looks to fit a said role, it is a mix of both.
If you are lining up for the auditions here are tips on what to do, dress like and act (not that I’m an expert at auditions or at giving tips but anyway let me have my shot at it):
Do not come in overdressed- it’s better if the people casting you can see what they can alter in terms of clothing and looks. This means, come in jeans and a simple top! Nothing too fancy like an embellished dress that screams “I like shiny things”. Flats or sneakers to go with it.
Have minimal natural makeup - like clothing, it’s better if you have a clean face. This will allow them to see what they need for the character. Plus, unless you’re a drag queen, they usually don’t spend a lot of time and effort on makeup. Natural is key.
Confidence - for any other thing you need to do in life, have confidence. Don’t feel intimidated by who is standing next to you or what projects they have done before. Be you.
Preparation - come in with a script in hand just in case they want to hear something from you and see how well you are in your chosen craft.
These are the basic things you need covered. After the first casting, it’s up to them to let you know what they want you to prepare.
I lined up for my audition.
I had a number.
I was called in.
I introduced myself.
And until I mentioned my credentials, no one knew who I was.
A few fellow actors wanting to audition did, but not the directors or producers. I was in my 3rd year of being in the industry but not everyone knew who I was, which I took as an advantage for me to be able to show them what I have and can do before revealing who I am. I saw other actors from other networks who I was either at par with or have been in the industry just a little longer than me. I was scared. Scared that it would be a turnoff to have a mainstream artist in this world or that my previous work did not show that I was capable of this.
I think I found my world. I found my soul. I found my love for acting.
So again, do not say I got my role for being Jasmine Curtis, the sister of.. or I got it because I am established.. or I got it because I am Jasmine. No. Did the other actors get their roles just because of their names and the number of projects they have done before? Let’s not misjudge or think too little of ourselves.
You have a chance, you just have to let yourself have one. :)
A love story about a woman whose wedding is thrown into disarray when a mysterious person arrives and reminds her of the man she really loves. It is the third part of Tarog’s Camera Trilogy after “Confessional” (Cinema One Originals 2007) and “Mangatyanan” (Cinemalaya 2009).
Starring: Paulo Avelino and Lovi Poe
Also Starring: Benjamin Alves, TJ Trinidad, Ria Garcia, Nico Antonio, Carla Martines, Liesl Natucan, Chinggoy Alonso,Nonie Buencamino, Cai Cortez, Bong Cabrera and Gee Canlas
Cinematography: Mackie Galvez Production Design: Ericson Navarro Music : Jerrold Tarog Editor : Pats R. Ranyo Sound Design: Roger TJ Ladro Screenplay By: Ramon Ukit Directed By: Jerrold Tarog
Cinemalaya 2013 will be held on July 26 - August 4 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Ayala Cinemas: Trinoma, Greenbelt 3, and Alabang Town Center.
Have you ever wanted to just end it?
Have you ever said to yourself “I’ve had enough” or “I don’t want to live
anymore”? It happens. To others, more
times than we would want to admit. It used to be just a fleeting thought but
somehow, lately, you’ve been thinking about it more and more. Waking up,
walking the dog, taking a shower, watching TV and before going to bed. Same thoughts. It won’t go away. So let’s end this, shall we?
This is a guide on how to kill yourself.
Let’s start with HOW.
Oh, there are so many ways. Let’s talk about it one by one and examine
them up close.
Vertical or Horizontal? No one’s really sure.
Left or Right? Both? Damn.
How many times? Once? Twice?
Three times? Jeez.
Razor or Knife?
All that blood though. Gross.
Who’s going to clean it all up? Just
think about the person whose job is to clean up all your blood. Maawa ka naman.
Jumping off a
Head first or feet? Do I do a triple loop somethin’
somethin’? I mean, I’m going to die
anyway so might as well. On the other
hand, are you serious? I mean, why do
people do this in the first place? When
I hear about someone who jumped off a building, the first thing that comes to
mind is SPLAT! Not a pretty sight.
Jumping off a
Toaster? Blowdryer? But
seriously, who has a bathtub? And do you really want to be shaking like that
while your insides burn while waiting to die – NAKED? It’s just too much going on on this one.
to the head.
What type of gun should you use? Do
you have a gun? Where can one get a gun? How long does it take to get a
gun? You need a license for that right?
Ugh, nevermind. Also, SPLAT.
Gunshot to the
ka pa ba?
After all that’s said and
done. Let’s discuss WHEN would be the
best time to kill yourself.
January – New Year
People will be too busy to care
because they’re all going to be invested in themselves and their own self
improvement. Sorry, no time for you.
February – Valentine Month
Everyone’s in-love or just in the
mood to be in-love. Pang BV ka lang if
ngayon mo pa gawin.
March – Graduation Month
Everyone’s busy practicing for
graduation, finishing their resumes and looking for jobs. And March? Nothing
really happens on the month of March.
April – Summer
Too hot to be dead. Who’s going to attend your wake when it’s too
hot outside to even do anything? No one’s going to show up.
May – Fiesta
nga eh. Makikain ka nalang sa neighbor mo. Sayang ang free food. Let’s just check next month.
June – School year begins
Everyone’s excited to be in
school. If you die, walang mag aabsent.
July – Cinemalaya season
I don’t know about you but I
wouldn’t miss this for the world. If you don’t know what this is, just check it
out before killing yourself. You won’t
regret going, I swear.
August – Habagat season (Linggo ng Wika din)
It’s too cold outside. They would
rather sleep than go to your wake. Or others might go to Baguio. Not everyone
will be able to attend. Remember, this only happens once. You only die once so
make it count.
September – Habagat season (Check August)
October – Halloween
What? Miss the chance to see
drunk people while wearing funny, dumb and crazy costumes? It’s gold. No one
should miss such an epic event.
November – All Souls Day (Araw ng mga patay)
Redundant. Wag nalang.
December – Christmas
Really? Just think about the
Alright, now that you’ve decided
when to kill yourself, let’s discuss WHY you want to kill yourself.
Are you sad? Do you feel like no one really cares and loves
you anymore? I get you. We all feel that sometimes. We all feel alone sometimes.
It’s just how it is. One day, when everything is right again, you’ll realize
that the people you thought didn’t love you actually love you. It’s just a
feeling, it will go away. It changes. You have to realize that everything can
and will change. Feelings don’t stay the same forever.
Do you hate your parents and your
life in general? Hate is such a strong word. My take on the word hate is that
sometimes it’s a good thing to hate. At least you know that you still feel
something. You can still change how you feel as long as you still feel it. (Feel feel feel. Puro feel.)
Do you hate the way you look and
feel right now? Just focus on the words
“right now”. It’s just for right now and you can always, always change what is
Do you feel like there are a lot
of things missing from your life (like a lot a lot)? It always helps to count the things you have
and you’re grateful for. It helps to remember those things and to hold on to
them as tight as you can as to never lose grip of what’s real. You can always
get the things that are missing right now. But you have to remember to hold on
to what you have now because we don’t want to them to join the “missing file”. You
have to hold on to them, cherish them and love them forever.
So WHY do you want to kill
yourself? I want you to think about it
real hard. You can’t do it and regret it
after because you’d already be dead. You
can’t undo it because you’d already be dead.
You’d already be dead! Now what?
It sucks when life keeps giving you a hard time. But you have to keep one thing in mind before
you actually think about doing it once and for all. Hope. Hope that things
might get better. Hope that if you decide not to kill yourself today that
tomorrow and the days after that, you won’t have to think about killing yourself
So I said this is about how to
kill yourself. Because I know that that’s all we think about sometimes. How do
I do it? How will I do it when I finally decide to kill myself? This just made
us realize what will happen when we decide to end it all. When we decide to
give up, what happens next? But instead of thinking about how you can kill
yourself, think about what you can do to stop thinking about ending your life.
It’s your life anyway. If you don’t like what’s happening now, just change it.
Do something different that will keep yourself alive. Don’t give up. Suicide is
for quitters. Don’t be a quitter. Stay alive.
So if you’re reading this today,
don’t kill yourself today. If you think about it again tomorrow, read it again
tomorrow. Just don’t, okay?