Extra ‘Ordinaryo’ lives
Although he is hardly a first-timer when it comes to the film festival circuit, filmmaker Eduardo Roy Jr. was still taken aback upon learning that his latest movie, “Pamilya Ordinaryo,” made it in the Venice Days competition.
“It was a surprise,” he told the Inquirer. “I couldn’t believe it, especially when our producer Ferdinand Lapuz informed me that it’s the first Filipino film chosen for Venice Days.”
Set at the same time as the Venice International Film Festival from Aug. 31 to Sept. 10 in Italy, the independently run Venice Days is patterned after Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.
“It’ll be a bonus if we get to bring home an award,” Roy said. “That we have the chance to represent the country in Venice is more than enough.”
Roy related that lead actress Hasmine Killip, who’s now based in the United Kingdom, plans to watch the film in Italy. “She’s excited to travel to Venice, but more thrilled about watching the film there,” he remarked.
Roy explained that he didn’t have to tell his star of the warm reception their film had received during its gala at the Cinemalaya, where it is one of the entries.
“She felt the good vibes in social media,” the director pointed out. “She received lots of glowing messages online. As such, she became more eager to watch it.”
Roy recalled that he instinctively knew that Killip was perfect for the role of Jane, a homeless teener whose baby was kidnapped.
“After seeing Hasmine in Carlo Francisco Manatad’s short film ‘Junilyn Has,’ I immediately asked my line producer Sarah Pagcaliwagan-Brakansiek to contact her for the audition.”
He recounted that the neophyte actress required “minimal supervision on the set.” “But she kept asking questions. It was obvious that she prepared for the role.”
Roy also has nothing but praise for lead actor Ronwaldo Martin, who plays Aries, Jane’s husband, a street hustler-snatcher.
“Ronwaldo is very meticulous, as well,” Roy noted. “I was stunned in the scene where he had to jump over a street fence. I wanted to rehearse first, but he said he could do it. And he did—in one take!”
All in all, the shoot on the mean streets of Manila went without a hitch, Roy reported. “The only problem was the scorching heat.”
Crucial scenes were shot in the vicinity of the abandoned cultural landmark, Metropolitan Theater, near Liwasang Bonifacio. “We chose to shoot in that area because there are indigent people living there. We hired vagrants to act in our film.”
Roy’s previous works, “Bahay Bata” and “Quick Change,” tackled similarly gritty realities, but “Pamilya Ordinaryo” was one story he felt compelled to tell. “We did research and found different stories, but the real-life experience of a woman who lost her child touched me so.”
Roy asserted that in making this film, he hopes “to give voice to the voiceless.” “They are neglected by institutions. I want viewers to get to know them … they are the people we ignore when we pass by them in the streets. They deserve to be the lead stars of a movie. They deserve the attention.”
The ultimate goal, he quipped, is to snag a local theatrical distribution deal for “Pamilya Ordinaryo.” “I want more Filipinos to see it. That’s why I keep coming back to Cinemalaya—either as a filmmaker or viewer. I feel that it’s only in Cinemalaya that an indie film has the potential to become a blockbuster.”
Due to the demand, “Pamilya Ordinaryo” secured an additional screening (on Aug. 12, 12:45 p.m.) during Cinemalaya.
In the meantime, this not-so-ordinary family is headed to fests abroad. “So far, we’ve received invitations to seven festivals, including Venice Days,” Roy disclosed.