Iza’s sentimental trip to Osaka | Inquirer Entertainment

Iza’s sentimental trip to Osaka

/ 12:18 AM March 17, 2017

t0317iza calzado1

Iza Calzado

The minute she was told that her latest film, Jerrold Tarog’s thriller “Bliss,” had been invited to the 12th Osaka Asian Film Festival, actress Iza Calzado’s heart skipped a beat.

She thought the invite was a “special message” from her departed parents, choreographer Lito Calzado and actress Mary Ann Ussher.


“My mom and dad lived in Osaka and Tokyo for a time, because we had a talent promotion agency that sent entertainers to Japan in the 1980s and 1990s,” she told the Inquirer. “I felt that they wanted to remind me that they were still watching over me.”


Her parents both spoke Japanese fluently, she recalled, and even her brother Dash worked in Japan as a club deejay for a while.

Iza also visited Japan with her parents on several occasions until the family business folded up in the mid-’90s.

Needless to say, Japan is a significant part of her family’s story.

All throughout her recent trip to Japan, Iza somehow felt her parents’ loving presence. “I was allowed to take a break from work (the ABS-CBN series, “A Love to Last”) to attend the fest. Everything was so easy and things went smoothly. Even [boyfriend] Ben [Wintle] could go with me.”

At one point during their stay in Osaka, she confided to her boyfriend: “I can feel something good is going to happen.” At the time, she had no idea what was in store at the fest, but she “believed” her parents were guiding her every step of the way.

Then, during a postscreening forum with the audience, a Filipino viewer coincidentally asked Iza about her father’s influence on her career.


Iza couldn’t help shedding tears.

“I knew then that it was a sign from my father,” she said, “that he was looking out for me.”

After composing herself, she answered the question by paying tribute to her dad: “My father always taught me to put my heart into everything I do. Everything must come from the heart.”

When Iza’s name was announced as the winner of the Yakushi Pearl Award for best performer last Saturday night, her parents were on top of her thank-you list.

She described the award as “symbolic” and dedicated it to her mom and dad, her “angels in heaven.”

She recounted that she had gone through a “roller-coaster ride” of emotions during the shoot. She related that she had “auditioned” for the part because of her wish “to do something out of the box.”

“Well-deserved,” her director said of Iza’s victory in Osaka. “She gave it her best, and I am forever grateful for that. She worked so hard on the film … which was demanding, physically and emotionally.”

“I got sick twice during filming,” she looked back.

Calzado in “Bliss”

Calzado in “Bliss”

But it was all worth it.

“Osaka was memorable because there was a big Philippine delegation this year,” she explained. “Nine Filipino films were shown, and three of those movies were in the main competition.”

She said that she had felt “the love and support of the Japanese people for our films” throughout the fest.

The director told the Inquirer: “We received mostly positive feedback. I was approached by a few, including some from the media, who enjoyed it and spotted the influence of (Japanese filmmaker and manga artist) Satoshi Kon. Of course, some were confused by the film. Given the story’s nature, I’m fine with that. It’s a very challenging piece that’s not for everyone.”

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Iza asserted: “I have always believed that we Filipinos are truly talented. Given the right material and opportunity … we have some of the most gifted artists in the world, because we have so much heart and passion for what we do. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Philippine cinema! Mabuhay!”

TAGS: 12th Osaka Asian Film Festival, Bliss, Iza Calzado

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