PH horror flick makes it in Shudder site
Just in time for Halloween, Rico Maria Ilarde’s horror film, “Ang Babaeng Putik (Woman of Mud),” originally released in 2000, will be made available online, on the playlist of a top website specializing in the suspense-thriller genre.
Tidepoint Pictures, through its founder Tetsuki Ijichi, has acquired the film’s North American rights. “Tidepoint was instrumental in releasing the early works of Sion Sono and Takashi Miike,” Ilarde told the Inquirer.
In turn, Tidepoint has sold the film’s screening rights in the United States to Shudder.com, the new horror streaming service of AMC (the same network behind “The Walking Dead,” “Fear the Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad”), Ilarde said.
According to the Toronto Star, Shudder.com is “curated” by renowned experts in the genre world. “Think of Shudder.com as your old video store with the really cool horror section — a streaming ‘n’ screaming service.”
Ilarde explained: “Shudder’s movie slate is curated by Colin Geddes, regarded as a rock star among genre programmers. Geddes programmed the Toronto fest’s Midnight Madness and Vanguard sections for several years.” Co-curator is Sam Zimmerman, former editor of Fangoria magazine.
This deal is significant for Ilarde, on both personal and professional levels. “I am appreciative that my films have been making the rounds of festivals for over a decade now,” he owned up. “The attention of programmers and critics are nothing to scoff at, but once an international distributor puts monetary value on your film, it presents your work in a new light.”
He is also thrilled that he is now part of the Shudder lineup, “along with some of my boyhood idols like John Carpenter and Sam Raimi.”
Ijichi told the Inquirer that Ilarde’s films can easily cross over to foreign markets. “In my conversations with curators and programmers, they said that many horror films from Southeast Asia tend to be limiting, in terms of cinematic language and setting. Rico’s film, however, can appeal to worldwide horror audiences.”
Ijichi instantly fell in love with the Filipino film on his first viewing nine years ago. “I started negotiations with its producer, Regal Films, in 2008. But the DVD industry in North America suddenly collapsed. But my dream finally came true eight years later,” said Ijichi.
As far as Ijichi is concerned, Ilarde’s film has all the ingredients of a Tidepoint and Shudder release: “Transformation, sexy heroine and action!”
The film, which tells the story of a mysterious woman who turns into a mud monster, topbills bold star Klaudia Koronel, with actors John Arcilla and Carlos Morales.
Ilarde pointed out that although “Philippine genre films can travel well abroad, not all movies can make it.” “If you study the trend, most commercial movies that have sold abroad are ‘personal films’ of directors, like Erik Matti’s ‘On the Job’ and Yam Laranas’ ‘Sigaw.’ The original germ of the idea started with the filmmaker who had a say on the film’s final form.”
Ilarde noted that these movies were “backed by major studios, as well.” “That might be the recipe: Studio production values and marketing strategy, together with the filmmaker’s personal vision,” he said.
“Neither the studios nor the filmmakers should be too selfish. Studios need to understand that the international market is a different animal — with greater creative demands,” he asserted.
For their part, “filmmakers should understand that if a studio were to gamble on exotic and adventurous stories, certain compromises must be made by both parties. But then again, mavericks like Lav Diaz and Khavn dela Cruz might say: We don’t need studios, just the kind of money they can bring in,” he said.
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