Hungry days of ‘Pintakasi’ fuel young actor’s dreams
If he had his way, young actor JM de Guzman would make more indie films, where he feels acting is “more natural and liberating.”
A theater arts major at the University of the Philippines Diliman, JM was first seen in the Veronica B. Velasco comedy, “Last Supper No. 3,” best film in the 2009 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival. He also appeared in “Rekrut,” a Cinemalaya entry in 2010.
Last year, JM starred with Kean Cipriano and Cai Cortez in the Marlon Rivera satire, “Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank,” best film in Cinemalaya’s New Breed category.
First indie project
His very first indie project, however, was the live action-animation film “Pintakasi,” shot three years ago. It’s a collaboration between cinematographer Lee Meily and teacher-artist Nelson Caliguia, produced by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos under Creative Media and Film Society of the Philippines.
“My theater professor, a friend of Ms Imee’s, encouraged me to audition,” JM said during a victory party at the B-Side Bar in Makati City recently. “Pintakasi” won best film in the new wave category of the last Metro Manila Film Festival. “I tried out, halfheartedly, but I was cast as Tikboy.”
Tikboy is the antagonist, a drug user and dealer. John Wayne Sace is cast as DJ, a young man from the province trying his luck in the city and Erich Gonzalez, as the object of both Tikboy’s and DJ’s affections.
JM said “Pintakasi” gave him several firsts: “My first lead role, my first paycheck, my first time to get a gas allowance.”
He recalled sitting still for seven hours, the time it took to draw Tikboy’s tattoos and scars. “I learned I was allergic to henna. Plus, we had to work under the intense heat of the sun, in a Navotas dumpsite. The stench was terrible.”
Still, “Pintakasi” is one of his best experiences, JM said. “My coactors—John Wayne, Erich, Alwyn (Uytingco) and Alcris (Galura)—were already known actors. I had a lot to prove, so I couldn’t quit, even when filming became really difficult.”
JM described Marcos as a hands-on producer: “Money wasn’t her priority. She would ask us to reshoot when she felt it was necessary. She merely wanted to showcase Filipino talent in animation, special effects and music.”
JM has made three films for Star Cinema since “Pintakasi,” and now plays lead in the ABS-CBN afternoon drama “Angelito: Batang Ama.”
“I’m happy with my career now,” JM said. “Whenever I lose the drive, I recall my ‘Pintakasi’ days. I slept in Ms Imee’s office for days because I didn’t even have transportation money. Nakikikain lang ako.”