From dusk till dawn
In spite of the long work hours, Dawn Zulueta finds indie films exhilaratingBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Actress Dawn Zulueta often had to break her strict 2 a.m. cut-off from work while shooting the Cinemalaya film “Ang Nawawala.”
“It was unavoidable,” she recounted. “Even if my call time was in the afternoon, we still wrapped up at 4 a.m. I’d only have three hours of sleep because I was also doing (the ABS-CBN soap opera) ‘Walang Hanggan’ at the same time.”
She literally had to work from dusk till dawn.
Not that she’s complaining, especially after Marie Jamora’s “Ang Nawawala” won the audience award at the Cinemalaya fest.
Two years ago, Zulueta appeared in another Cinemalaya entry, Joel Lamangan’s “Sigwa.”
Working with Jamora and her youthful costars Dominic and Felix Roco was “inspiring,” Zulueta said. “Coming from the mainstream, acting in an indie film is like a breath of fresh air. These young actors and filmmakers are very raw. They remind me of the purity and simplicity of the craft.”
She described the debuting director’s style as “organic.”
It was a pleasant change of pace from “all the high-octane drama” that she had to do on TV.
There were no screaming and slapping matches; instead the film required a certain amount of restrained intensity.
She confessed: “I never thought I’d get a chance to play a role like this. I think my fellow actors want the same thing—a break from the mundane … from what we usually do in mainstream TV and film.”
In “Ang Nawawala,” she plays the cold and stern mother of a boy (Dominic Roco) who has stopped talking after a family tragedy. The movie opened Wednesday in selected theaters nationwide.
“She’s complex. She’s going through a lot of emotions, too,” Zulueta explained. “It’s not every day that I come across a role as sensitive and fragile as this one.”
Talent fee was not an issue at all, she said. “As an actress, it’s food for the soul. You do it because you believe in the project, because it will push you to hone your craft.”
She said of her young coworkers: “I am proud of these kids. They taught me so much. They made me realize that, beyond the mainstream, there is another side to our industry.”
The Roco twins were “star-struck” when they first met Zulueta on the set.
Actress Jenny Jamora, the director’s sister, considered herself lucky that her parents in the movie, Zulueta and Boboy Garrovillo, are among the “best” actors in the industry.
“I first got to work with Dawn two years ago in the Atlantis production of the Stephen Sondheim play ‘A Little Night Music.’ We had a blast then and now. Dawn and Boboy made work a lot of fun on the set. They were down-to-earth, appreciative and encouraging of younger actors.”
Away from the biz, Zulueta produced “Tulay”—animated videos of poems by National Artists that feature the voices of Gary Valenciano, KC Concepcion, Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda and Iza Calzado.
“The series is already finished. We are just thinking of the best way to distribute the videos to students and other young people,” she said.
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