Creative solutions, the indie way | Inquirer Entertainment

Creative solutions, the indie way

/ 12:40 AM March 16, 2016

When the going gets tough, the tough gets creative.

The nine finalists of the full-length feature section of the CineFilipino film festival discover the importance of finding creative solutions in order to finish their entries.


Numerous scenes in the horror thriller, “Ang Tulay ng San Sebastian,” were set at night, related filmmaker Alvin Yapan. “But we didn’t have the money to rent lights.” He decided to shoot in the daytime and, with the magic of color grading, day was turned to dusk.

Another problem was the traffic they often caused on the historic Puente de Malagonlong, a bridge in Tayabas, Quezon province that dates back to the 1800s. “We had tanod (barangay security) at both ends of the bridge. And we could only shoot for three to five minutes per scene.”


Ice Idanan also tapped local government units (LGUs) in filming “Sakaling Hindi Makarating.” Apart from Manila, the movie was also shot in Zamboanga, Siquijor, Marinduque, Ilocos Norte and Batanes. “The LGUs were very generous in helping us with permits and other details.”


David Fabros turned to private companies for support. David’s Salon came on board, providing venue and equipment, since the characters in the film, “Straight to the Heart,” work in a beauty parlor.

“Watson’s also helped us shoot in SM Aura, and it is very difficult to get permission to shoot in that mall,” Fabros recounted.

In making an effects-heavy “ghost story” like “Buhay Habangbuhay,” Paolo Herras encountered budgetary constraints. “We had to come up with creative solutions,” he said. “We had to simplify the script. The postproduction house Hub 2.0 took care of the visual effects. Editor Dempster Samarista handled the postproduction. 2Go sponsored us, too.”

Lead star Iza Calzado also did double duty as coproducer. “We were blessed with hardworking, talented and passionate people.”

Having a committed team was heaven-sent for the CineFilipino filmmakers.


Lemuel Lorca recalled that Angeli Bayani, lead star of “Ned’s Project,” would wake up at 3 a.m., so the tattoo artist could work on her faux body art. Bayani, who plays a lesbian tattoo artist, took lessons with the same expert to look convincing in her onscreen job. “She is a trouper,” said Lorca.

Debuting director Carla Baful confessed that she was expecting nightmarish conditions on the set of the rom-com, “A Lotto Like Love.” “But everything came easy. The crew was reliable. The cast, led by Isabelle de Leon and Mart Escudero, was great.”

Coincidentally, the two leads topbilled two of Baful’s favorite films: “Magnifico” (De Leon) and “Zombadings” (Escudero). “Although they’ve been in the industry for so long, they treated me as an equal.”

“1st Sem” directors Dexter Hemedez and Allan Ibañez likewise have nothing but praise for veteran actors Lotlot de Leon and Alan Paule.

“We had to finish 10 to 12 sequences a day,” Ibañez looked back. “As newcomers, there was tremendous pressure on us.”

“Ms Lotlot and Sir Alan were very supportive,” Hemedez related. “They often gave us advice and encouraged us not to give up. We are so thankful we got them as the actors in our first film.”

They also had the chance to work with award-winning cinematographer Neil Daza. “He mentored us during the shoot.”

Jason Paul Laxamana was similarly fortunate to cast Cai Cortez as the chubby heroine of “Ang Taba Ko Kasi.” “Cai is a good friend of my line producer Minda Rodriguez,” he said. “It also helped that we were both from UP. We had so many things in common, so work was a breeze. We shot for only six days.”

Randolph Longjas clarified that the shoot of “Star na Si Van Damme Stallone” was tricky, not because lead actors, Paolo Pingol  and Jad Dilanco, both has Down syndrome, but because he wanted the scenes to be “as real as possible.”

“We had a script, but it changed constantly,” he reported. “We had to push ourselves to be creative every time.”

One scene required Pingol to button a long-sleeved shirt. His father had misgivings, that he might not be able to do it. But the kid persisted, Longjas said. “Candy Pangilinan, who played his mother, kept encouraging Paolo. He did it! It took us 18 minutes, but it felt like a huge achievement.”

They ended up in tears. “We did this film not just for us, but for the members of the Down syndrome community, their family and friends.”

The CineFilipino film festival opens today and ends on March 22.

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TAGS: CineFilipino, CineFilipino Film Festival, Entertainment, independent film, indie, indie film
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