Indie Bravo! honorees come together for Cinemalaya drama

By: - Reporter
/ 12:15 AM January 09, 2017

When you cast the right actors, half of your work is already done,” said independent filmmaker Nerissa Picadizo.

She recently announced that Jake Cuenca and Anna Luna will be playing the lead characters of her first full-length movie, “Requited.”


The film, “a love story with splashes of biking adventure,” is one of the 10 entries in the 2017 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival in August.

“I will draw emotion from them throughout the film. If they don’t have the drive and passion, I won’t get anything out of them even if I wring them dry,” said Picadizo on the importance of finding the right people to play the roles of Matt and Sandy.


“Requited” tells of a disease-stricken biker who wants to conquer a treacherous terrain on one final adventure that pits him against nature and the woman he desires.

Picadizo said she wrote the script with Cuenca in mind. “We first met at the 2014 Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards, where I told him about the story, and he reacted positively to it,” she recalled.

Nerissa Picadizo and Jake Cuenca

Nerissa Picadizo and Jake Cuenca

The Inquirer Indie Bravo! Awards is an annual gathering of key personalities in the indie filmmaking scene to honor those who have won awards in international film festivals. Picadizo (for “Astray”) and Cuenca (for “Mulat”) were in the same batch of honorees.

“Whenever I would listen to ‘Safe and Sound,’ the song that served as an inspiration for the finale of this film, Jake appears in my mind as Matt,” she shared with the Inquirer. “I’m happy he said ‘yes’ to the film.”

Picadizo said she believed Cuenca would have a lot to contribute to the film. “I also see in him the need to prove himself as a great actor. I’m glad that a mainstream actor like him is very open and willing to take chances on an independent film. I guess if he really likes a project, then the talent fee is not an issue to him,” she pointed out.

The filmmaker added that there were several indie actresses who auditioned for the part of Sandy, but “only Anna captured that feisty charm I was looking for in the character. When I saw her perform at the auditions, I knew I found the right actress [to play the part],” Picadizo said. “I always cast actors based on what my instinct tells me.”

Picadizo pointed out that Luna is not a newbie when it comes to acting—she has won two best supporting actress awards: “Bendor,” 2014 Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival; “Paglipay,” 2016 ToFarm Film Festival).


She explained that the film has three themes: “unrequited love, health struggles and man’s deep need to move on,” all based on her personal struggles. “I wrote it to release all the pent-up emotions I can’t normally express, hoping that I can understand myself better and eventually find healing.

For Picadizo, the Cinemalaya nod felt like earning a badge of credibility as a filmmaker because her work was chosen out of the hundreds of entries submitted last year.

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TAGS: Cinemalaya, Cinemas, Entertainment, Indie Bravo!, indie film, Requited
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