From indie to mainstreamBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Independent filmmaker Richard Somes said that to cross over to mainstream cinema he simply changed his mind-set.
“When you go mainstream, you accept the compromises that you will make with your bosses. My advise is to learn to deal with it. If you can’t, don’t do it,” Somes told the Inquirer.
Somes first worked as art director in the Erik Matti film “Ekis” in 1999. He was production designer for six indie films beginning 2004. His first short, “Lihim ng San Joaquin,” was part of the “Shake, Rattle, & Roll” franchise in 2005.
His most successful indie feature is the horror flick “Yanggaw” (2008), which won two best director awards—at the 2008 Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival where it debuted, and at the Star Awards for Film that same year.
The film toured festivals in the United States, Switzerland, and South Korea. Lead actor Ronnie Lazaro bagged the best actor trophy from the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino in 2009.
Somes directed a drama, “Ishmael,” in 2010, an entry to the Cinema One festival.
No dividing line
In 2011 Somes helped put up the film production outfit Reality Entertainment with Matti, producer Dondon Monteverde, and music video and commercial director AF Beneza—the team behind the post-production house Revolver Studios.
Somes believes there should be no line dividing independent and mainstream cinema. “All filmmakers should make more genre films,” he opined. “We should have more comedy films, like ‘Little Miss Sunshine,’ for example. Indie directors are obsessed with social realism, violence, poverty, and exploitation as recurrent themes. There is an audience for these ideas, but we forget that the masses need to be entertained.”
The director added: “Meanwhile, mainstream directors keep making the same old movies. We should do away with them.”
“Yanggaw” caught the attention of ABS-CBN’s Star Cinema, which went on to produce Somes’ romantic-horror film “Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang.” Written by Somes himself, the film featuring Derek Ramsay and Erich Gonzalez opened in theaters last month.
Somes was all praise for Gonzalez, with whom he worked in ABS-CBN’s adaptation of the 1990s Mexican hit series “Maria la del Barrio”: “I know her best angles and her quirks. She registers well onscreen and has very expressive eyes. In five years she should mature and emerge as one of our best actresses.”
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