Dingdong on ‘Tiktik’: Historic, socially relevantBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Actor Dingdong Dantes’ film outfit Agostodos Pictures has partnered with GMA Films and Reality Entertainment in bankrolling a fantasy-adventure flick at the whopping cost of P80 million.
Dantes described Erik Matti’s “Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles”—which he coproduced and stars in—as “worthwhile and something Filipinos can all be proud of.”
He said he joined this new venture because he wanted to “make a difference” in the movie industry by making films that have “social relevance.”
“Tiktik,” which also features Lovi Poe, LJ Reyes, Janice de Belen and Joey Marquez, will be screened in local theaters nationwide starting October 17.
Dantes said the aim was to “make viewers come out of the movie houses feeling proud of Filipino talents. We want them to see that, given enough resources and time, our products can be at par with those of other countries.”
Here are excerpts from our interview with Dantes.
What made you decide on coproducing ‘Tiktik?’
My involvement began five years ago. Dondon (Monteverde, head of Reality Entertainment) and I co-own a restaurant in Makati. We would always meet there and talk about how much we care for the movie industry and how we want to contribute to its improvement. With what he does in PostManila (a post-production outfit) and Mothership (a computer graphics company), I knew that Dondon wanted to set the notch higher for digital technology (in Philippine movies).
Dondon told me that he and Direk Erik had a project in mind. I read the script and liked it. I agreed to collaborate, but I didn’t want to be just one of the actors. I believed in the project so much that I wanted to be part of its creators.
How involved were you as a producer?
I participated in everything from the casting to the final editing. On October 2, I even accompanied Erik to the MTRCB [Movie and Television Review and Classification Board] office to have the film rated. What’s good about working with him and Dondon is that we’re always on the same page. Never did our ideas clash. This made it easy for us. Through this project, I realized how difficult the work of a producer was. I appreciate them more now, and how they collaborate with their directors and actors to create something really artistic.
What’s the best thing about being an actor? A director?
Acting is my outlet. This enables me to create different personas, to be a different person completely. I find fulfillment in being able to do this effectively. As a director, you call the shots. It’s you who’s talking to the viewers. It’s your voice that they hear and your vision that they see. You get rewarded if you’re able to reach out to the audience through your film.
Don’t you think wearing too many hats will make you lose your focus?
Not really; it just so happened that I got to wear two at the same time for this one. I don’t want to direct a project that I’m also a cast member of. I prefer to collaborate with other people. This also goes for being both a producer and an actor in one film—I don’t think this setup will work all the time. I’m just fortunate that, for this project, it did. I’m open to producing more films, those that would not require me to act. Everything is possible. I may have many hats, but I make sure to wear only one with full force at a time.
Would you still be willing to play contravida or offbeat roles in the future?
I’m open to doing more offbeat roles, but maybe not contravida, in the future. I like characters thar are complex. I feel that I’m effective when viewers are able to understand what my character is going through and are able to learn from the experience.
In your previous interviews, you described “Tiktik” as “historic.” Why so?
This is the first local movie to make use of the green screen from start to finish. The entire film’s backdrop is computer-generated. Everything is done manually by Filipino artists. They’re very meticulous. They made sure we’d have a realistic feel of a barrio or town far from Metro Manila.
What do you expect out of making this film?
Most Filipinos are fond of foreign movies of this genre. We hope that, after this, we can make moviegoers see that it’s possible to produce one locally, and in fact, that it can be better. We can all relate to it, from its humor and visuals, to the fact that the story is part of Philippine folklore.
The film cost P80 million to produce. Do you expect to recoup your investment?
Every positive comment I read on YouTube or hear from people I meet are worth more than the millions we spent for this project. More than the monetary investment, it’s our commitment to the industry that’s more important. We want to contribute something that will showcase Pinoy talent.
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