Czech actress Sara Sandeva on what it was like to make a film in PH

Sandeva (right) with Paolo Gumabao

Sandeva (right) with Paolo Gumabao

Czech actress Sara Sandeva was recently in the Philippines for almost two weeks to shoot some of the scenes in the romantic film “Spring in Prague” with leading man Paulo Gumabao.

Lester Dimaranan’s film is an “old-fashioned romance,” according to its writer Eric Ramos. Sara plays a tourist who comes to the country and meets Paulo, who happens to be a resort owner, and eventually falls in love. Something happens that forces Sara to go back home, and more complications also force Paulo to fly to Prague.

Here in the Philippines, scenes were shot in Puerto Galera, Mindoro and Tagaytay City. The Santo Niño de Praga in Manila will also be highlighted in the film.

“Although I miss my family and my boyfriend who are all in Prague (capital city of the Czech Republic), I never felt homesick,” disclosed Sara during a media gathering organized by the movie’s producer, Borracho Films Productions, a few days before she flew back home.

“We had so much work here and I had no time to think about the fact that I was away from home. The crew and my colleagues never made me feel that I was alone. Also, my manager (Michaela Flenerova), who is also Czech, joined me on this trip,” the actress told Inquirer Entertainment.

In the movie, Sara is Maruska Ruzika, whom she described as “very young and innocent, but at the same time, street smart. She wants to start a new life but faces a lot of obstructions, especially from her father. But you know how it is in life … when you don’t expect love, it comes for you. That’s what happens to her when she arrives in the Philippines.”

Sara continued: “My favorite thing about her is that she’s not afraid to pack her suitcase, go on a solo trip, and not tell anyone. I really want to do that someday, too–just go on a trip alone. It’s so inspiring how she eventually meets her true love. Maruska and I are alike in that sense. I also believe in true love and will really fight for it.”

Sara, now 25, has done over 35 film projects in the Czech Republic where she began acting professionally at age 16. She said most of the films were in the comedy genre, and it’s her first time to do something with a romantic theme.

“I didn’t have to adjust so much even though things are done here very differently compared to where I come from. People on the set, whether here or in Czech, have one thing in common—it’s our passion for work. We all want to come up with a good movie,” she said.

Breaking the ice

When it came to breaking the ice with her leading man, Paulo, whom she had never met prior to working on this film, Sara said: “Before coming here, I asked the production team to organize a Zoom call with the crew. That’s where I met Paulo for the first time. I liked him right away because he was the one who really tried to answer my questions—and I had a lot! That’s how it started for us. When we met here personally, I realized that he is the best leading man I could ever ask for. He is really talented. Filipinos are lucky to have him. He has a bright future ahead of him.

“Paulo is also a good person. He wasn’t just my coactor on the set. He would translate everything in English for me. I also had a really fun time with him and the other actors when we went sky jet skiing. I hope our closeness will be felt and translates well onscreen,” said Sara.

She flew back to the Czech Republic on Jan. 24. But before that, Sara said she was lucky to have had the chance to go

to some tourist spots here, like Tukuran Falls in Puerto Galera.

“My newfound friends also took me to places around Manila and then we had dinner. I was born in Macedonia, so I really enjoy this kind of weather. I love the sun. It’s actually what I love about your place. We don’t have that much sun where I come from,” she said.

“To be honest, the food here is the one thing that I needed to get used to. It’s so different from what we have in Prague. I was very surprised that you guys always have rice for breakfast with meat, that there’s a lot of rice in your meals. When I go back to Prague, I might have a craving for rice there. I will have to try halo-halo before leaving Manila, too,” the actress said.

Lester and Eric are also behind the 2022 Metro Manila Film Festival entry “Mamasapano: Now It Can Be Told,” which won the second best picture award. The cast and crew of “Spring in Prague” are scheduled to fly to the Czech Republic on Feb. 7 to shoot the remaining scenes there, according to Borracho Films head Ferdie Topacio. This activity is organized in close coordination with the Philippine embassy there, he added.