‘Bamboo Flowers’ preem prelude to FDCP festival

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Filipino-American actress Max Collins learned what it was really like to be a provinciana in her new indie movie, Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Bamboo Flowers.”

Filipino-American actress Max Collins learned what it was really like to be a provinciana in her new indie movie, Maryo J. de los Reyes’ “Bamboo Flowers.”

“It was a different kind of adventure,” Max said of staying in Bohol for a week while working on the movie where she plays Dolores, a barrio lass. “My character is a trainee receptionist in a resort. Orlando Sol plays my boyfriend. A foreigner falls in love with me and promises to give me a good life if I live with him abroad. I have to make a life-changing decision, which is where the conflict begins.”

Learn and live

Through the film, Max said, she got to appreciate life in the province. “I didn’t just see what it was like; I got to live it. This is my most memorable experience from making the film.”

“Bamboo Flowers,” shot mostly along the Loboc River in Bohol, is about the resilient bamboo plant. “Bamboo flowers are so beautiful; they look like parts of a chandelier. But they are a sign that the plant is dying,” De los Reyes told the Inquirer in an earlier interview.

He is among 12 veteran filmmakers who received grants from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to join the annual Sineng Pambansa, which starts Sept. 11. The movie will have a special screening tonight at 7 at Fully Booked in Bonifacio Global City.

“I was very nervous working on the film because I didn’t want to let anyone down, especially not Direk Maryo,” Max admitted. “The pressure was great; my character is so different from my personality. Also, the movie is a tribute to the Boholanos and I wanted very much to play my part well.

Max found acting on the big screen more interesting than television. She explained, “Acting in the movies, especially in indies, is more true to life. You show emotions through your eyes, as compared to TV acting, which is more exaggerated, dramatic and requires big movements.”

A year has passed since Max transferred to GMA 7 from rival network ABS-CBN. “It’s been great so far. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Since I signed up with the Kapuso channel, I’ve been working in one TV program after the other. I’ve also joined a lot of the regional shows that the network has mounted. Time flew so fast because I was really busy.”

Max, or Isabelle Abiera Collins, first appeared on TV commercials at age 10. She was 13 when she joined ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Batch 15 and started doing small roles in drama programs. When her Kapamilya contract expired in 2010, she took a break and tried her luck in the United States. She returned a year later and signed up with GMA 7.

She played support to lead actress Kylie Padilla in the afternoon series “The Good Daughter” (2011) and then to Kris Bernal in “Coffee Prince” (2012).

Biggest achievement

She considers her role in the primetime drama “Pahiram ng Sandali” (2013), also under De los Reyes, her biggest accomplishment since she became a Kapuso. “I never thought the bosses would give me the lead role of Cindy. It was very challenging. I’m just thankful that I got through it and even received good reviews.” The show also featured big Kapuso star Dingdong Dantes.

Being around some of the best artists, Max said, was a big bonus. She said, earnestly, that she learned a lot working with veterans Celia Rodriguez and Leo Martinez in “Coffee Prince,” and with Lorna Tolentino and Christopher de Leon in “Pahiram ng Sandali.”

“I’ve been trying to make a name for myself in this business for seven years now,” she pointed out. “This year has so far been the busiest. I’ve been working with many amazing people.”

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