Star Magic, ABS-CBN’s talent management arm, has released its first-ever digital film. Entitled “Anino,” it is the culminating project of those who participated in its workshops conducted in October 2011.
“It was five months of rigorous training,” said “Anino” director Rahyan Carlos, also Star Magic’s artist training head. “I had to screen over 200 applicants and then choose 160 teens and adults to participate in the workshops.”
The most challenging aspect, Carlos said, was finding the perfect story. “A pool of writers and I spent two weeks of endless brainstorming, but still couldn’t find material that pleased us … until I found in my old computer hard drive the file of ‘Anino,’ which I cowrote with Gina Marissa Tagasa six years ago,” Carlos recalled. “I called up Gina to ask permission to tweak the script a little. After all, I had to squeeze in all of my 160 actors. It took me a week to revise the script.”
The result was a two-hour-and-15 minute film on “several characters battling their own ‘shadows,’ or issues they can’t resolve,” Carlos explained. “The story takes place in a retreat house where they share their personal struggles, hoping to find comfort in the thought that they are not alone in their suffering. Trapped in this unknown, secluded location, they soon discover a darkness that will haunt each one of them.”
The director added: “We had to work on an ‘indie budget’ and shoot over five days. I had 40 rallyists, 30 zombies, and eight to 10 major stories in one film. It was a first for me and for Star Magic.”
Carlos also tapped graduates of his acting workshops who were Kapamilya contract artists, such as Jake Cuenca, Yeng Constantino, Dimples Romana, Roden Araneta, Joem Bascon and Jodi Sta. Maria, to appear in the film.
“It was my pleasure to work with all these talents. I was glad I was able to guide them and to share with them what I myself learned when I was Direk Rahyan’s student,” Cuenca said on why he accepted the project.
To commemorate Star Magic’s 20th anniversary this year, “Anino” had a special screening at SM North EDSA on March 26. Carlos said there were negotiations between ABS-CBN and a number of cinemas for a commercial release in May.
Apart from “Anino,” Star Magic will also release a movie that will showcase its top talents—Cuenca, John Lloyd Cruz, Angelica Panganiban, Pokwang, Gerald Anderson, Bea Alonzo, Diether Ocampo, Kim Chiu and Piolo Pascual. The film, a coproduction of Star Cinema and Star Magic Films, will be directed by John D. Lazatin and will be shown in the last quarter of 2012.