‘Nabubulok’ a fulfillment of a childhood dream
Directing “Nabubulok” is not only the fulfillment of a childhood dream for writer Crisanto “Sonny” Calvento. It is also a project that has brought him closer to his dad, journalist Tony Calvento.
“It’s something that we’re both excited about,” Sonny told the Inquirer of the crime and investigative film, which is one of the 10 finalists in the 2017 Cinemalaya film fest in August.
Sonny said his dad showed support for the project by hooking him up with possible film financiers.
“He would often reassure me about the project’s prospects,” Sonny recalled.
The elder Calvento hosted the TV series, “Calvento Files,” which aired on ABS-CBN in the late ’90s.
A film of the same title, directed by Laurenti Dyogi and Michael de Mesa, was released in 1997.
Sonny said his dad also helped him secure the necessary permits for the project. He was only 8 years old when he became exposed to his father’s work on television.
“The show is not for kids. He also had to ask permission so I could get inside the theater to watch the movie. Since then, I got interested in investigative and crime stories,” Sonny recalled.
He added that “Nabubulok” is a story that happened to a relative of his officemate at ABS-CBN. He wrote it after attending a workshop by award-winning writer and filmmaker Armando “Bing” Lao.
Recently, the director announced that he has finally found the American actor who will play the lead.
Billy Ray Gallion has appeared in TV series like “Lost” (2004), “Hawaii Five-O” (2010) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013).
“There were a lot of American actors who auditioned for the role. Out of all of them, it was only from Billy Ray that I saw sincerity. I asked all of them to act out three high points of the character that showed anger, fear and sadness. He was the only one who provided me with the most natural take, specifically on anger,” Sonny explained. “All the others resorted to shouting, but he showed me anger through his eyes. I felt he was the right actor for this.”
“Nabubulok” is about the search for Luna. Her American husband, Jason Harper, is suspected of killing her. As Jason intends to leave the country, circumstances conspire to avert his plan.
Sonny said he expected a lot from Billy Ray. “Jason is angry in much of the film, but he also has heart. There are many layers to him. This was what most auditionees misinterpreted. Jason isn’t a one-dimensional character.”
The director said he was also pleased that award-winning actress-director Gina Alajar, JC Santos and Jameson Blake have agreed to get on board.
“I guess it’s because this film is a Cinemalaya project. It’s easier to pitch it to actors and producers if they know that it’s part of the most established indie film festival in the country.”