Marlon Rivera is a jack of all trades: He is a production designer, makeup artist, events organizer, flower shop owner, stylist, teacher and, now, film director. Last month, he won the Cinemalaya festival’s Best Director trophy for “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank,” which topbills Eugene Domingo.
Rivera and screenwriter-director Chris Martinez have been friends for two decades now. After the bosom buddies produced the film, “100,” they agreed that Rivera would direct their next project. He discloses: “We’ve been working on the material since 2008, with Eugene in mind.”
Literature is a strong influence on the 45-year-old director’s life: “I love the poetry of TS Eliot. As a cineaste, I’m a populist: I like horror, sci-fi and adventure flicks. My favorite movie is ‘Hellboy II.’ I also like those summer franchise movies like ‘X-Men’ and ‘Harry Potter.’ Truth is, I stay away from the Oscar race, because I find the competing films too heavy.”
“Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank” is a parody of the rising popularity of independent filmmaking. The director muses, “If filmmakers can’t find rewards in their own country, they look for them elsewhere. The cheapest way to do that is to win an award. Ironically, it’s cheaper to go to Venice than find a distributor for your film.”
With his Cinemalaya win, Rivera shares: “I got a lot of offers after the festival. But, I’m too old to believe in hype. I don’t take things seriously. I just keep working and looking for financing. Everything is up in the air—so, I’ll let it take its course!”