Confident, charismatic Christopher takes final bow
Filmmaker Christopher Ad Castillo passed away on Saturday evening, due to cardiac arrest, according to his uncle, John Ad Castillo. He was 54.
The son of director Celso Ad Castillo, Christopher joined the Cinemalaya in 2013 with the suspense flick “The Diplomat Hotel,” starring Gretchen Barretto. In 2014, he was part of the QCinema fest, with the thriller, “In Darkness We Live.”
He had just finished shooting a remake of his father’s horror classic, “Patayin sa Sindak si Barbara,” for ABS-CBN’s over-the-top online platform iWant TV, when he was rushed to the hospital.
Even in the hospital, Christopher’s main concern was his movie. Fellow director Keith Sicat recalled: “I understand that he had talked to his team about the movie’s edit before he went back to the ICU.”
Keith believes that “Barbara” would have been Christopher’s “homage, his love letter to his dad,” who died in 2012.
Keith said of Christopher’s sudden passing: “I am still in a state of disbelief. I’ve known Chris since my New York days. He was always supportive. He was a confident and charismatic speaker who was constantly engaged in an uphill battle to have his out-of-the-box movies made.”
Keith looked back fondly: “When he visited New York for the screening of his (2002) film ‘The Sky Is Falling’ at the Asian American Film Festival, he kept complaining about having to walk for so many blocks. He joked: ‘I miss my car!’ After all, he was from Los Angeles.”
Although Christopher was busy on “Barbara,” he found the time to do a cameo on Keith’s film, “Alimuom.” “I was the one who assisted him with his costume. I had no idea that was the last time we would be together,” Keith noted.
Christopher was an occasional thespian, too, and in 1986 won best supporting actor at the Metro Manila Film Festival for “Bagets Gang.”
Related actor Art Acuña, who was in “Diplomat”: “He was collaborative. He understood actors. He will be missed.”
Actress and “Diplomat” costar Chanel Latorre agreed: “As a director, he made you feel like a friend… who really believed in your talent. He was young and full of life. He still had so many ideas for future films. It’s sad that he wouldn’t be able to make them anymore.”
After the passing of his father six years ago, Christopher wrote: “I am the firstborn son of Celso Ad Castillo. Growing up on film sets, I was destined to follow in his footsteps—never to eclipse him, but to be the best that I could be in using the gifts he had given me.”
In 2013, Christopher told the Inquirer: “It always feels good to be part of a revolution of change. We’re in the midst of one. . . [that’s why] it’s important for me to be one with these filmmakers. We’ll always be kindred spirits with one purpose: To uplift [each other].”
He is survived by his wife, filmmaker Malaya Roxanne Santos.
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