The continued blossoming of ‘Maximo’
How fast time flies! Nathan Lopez, breakout star of the 2005 indie hit “Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros,” marks his 23rd birth anniversary on Aug. 19.
Lopez was barely 13 when he played teen gay Maximo in the Cinemalaya film that proceeded to win awards and audiences’ hearts worldwide. (Cinemalaya jurors gave Lopez a special citation for “Maximo” and he won Best Actor at the Las Palmas fest in Spain.)
He returns to Cinemalaya in its 10th anniversary, as a cast member of New Breed director Derick Cabrido’s “Children’s Show.” “It’s a privilege and an honor to be back in Cinemalaya, especially in a role that I consider a dream come true,” Lopez told the Inquirer.
“It’s nostalgic,” Cabrido said of Lopez’s Cinemalaya homecoming. “But his role in ‘Children’s Show’ is the total opposite of Maximo. Nathan proved that, given the right role, he can surpass his past achievements.”
Lopez related, “It was awesome working with Direk Derick, and I felt very comfortable portraying Elmo.”
Based on a true-life story, “Children’s Show” exposes illegal boxing tournaments involving minors.
Lopez, on the other hand, directed his first short film “Resbak.” He was also an actor in the 10-minute movie, which tackles the timely issue of fraternity hazing deaths.
“Resbak” was the culminating activity in the workshop program of Film Act, spearheaded by filmmaker Dave Cecilio. Lopez related that he eventually decided to “kill” his character so he could focus on directing. “I played a student who dies during initiation. My character’s brother, who’s also joining the fraternity, is portrayed by Akira Kitagawa.”
Lopez feels strongly against fraternity violence. “Hazing [sets into motion] a never-ending cycle of revenge. Friends and relatives of the dead suffer, too.”
“Resbak” got the workshop’s Best Film and Best Director citations.
Lopez is grateful to his past directors for giving him filmmaking tips. From “Maximo” director Kanakan Balintagos (formerly Auraeus Solito), he learned the basics—“framing a scene, choosing the right angle, motivating actors.”
Brillante Ma. Mendoza, another internationally acclaimed filmmaker, instilled in the young actor the importance of spontaneity.
Lopez played a petty thief in Mendoza’s “Tirador” (2007). “We didn’t have a script. Direk Brillante just gave us a broad idea of what would happen in a scene, and then he allowed us to improvise,” he recounted. “We followed that same shooting style in ‘Resbak.’ It was all impromptu; we finished it in one day.”
Lopez is taking up Filmmaking at the Asia Pacific Film Institute. With his sisters, he designed the poster of “Resbak.” He dreams of becoming a full-fledged filmmaker.
Balintagos promised to help “Resbak” get invited to film festivals abroad. “I’d like to reshoot some scenes,” Lopez said.
He continues to act in indie movies, like the historical drama “Watawat” and the music education advocacy film “Musiko,” both directed by Cecilio.
“Musiko,” top-billed by Martin Escudero, Melai Cantiveros and Tommy Abuel, was toured in campuses across the country.
With twin brother Gammy, Lopez also appeared in Cecilio’s short film, “Krisis.”
He was also in the cast of the play “Magulang, Magulang,” mounted by Stairs Productions. “We performed in Pampanga and Iloilo,” said Lopez.
On TV, he has a recurring role in the series “Be Careful With My Heart.”