Enchong Dee: It’s an actor’s responsibility to promote quality PH films globally
“It’s a huge responsibility. You can’t put your guard down and just relax,” said actor Enchong Dee to explain how he feels when he participates in international film festivals for the different movies he has shot since last year.
“Just because you’ve already shot the film doesn’t mean you can already relax. When you’re out there, you have to constantly prove yourself because people will ask questions like: ‘Why is he here? What movie did he make? Is he any good?’ ” Enchong told Inquirer Entertainment during a recent interview.
He was in Tokyo recently for Paul Soriano’s “The Fisher,” and in Los Angeles, California, barely a week later for the screening of Chris Martinez’s “Here Comes the Groom.” Richard Somes’ “Topakk,” which brought Enchong to Cannes, France and Locarno, Switzerland, early this year, is currently screening in Finland.
Enchong is living his dream. “You know, 2023 is one of those years when many of my dreams came true. This also gives me motivation to make more worthwhile projects—those that, when screened abroad, people will come to watch because they know these are quality films from the Philippines. It feels so good that I’m one of the many actors who is able to represent the country abroad,” he said.
“To have participated in the Q&A session for ‘The Fisher’ in Tokyo was really inspiring. I got to experience foreigners asking Filipino artists specific questions, like my process when shooting specific scenes with Kuya Mon (Confiado, his costar). It was a proud moment. They saw the fact that there was that push and pull between the two characters because they’re in conflict, because they disagree on some things. This didn’t escape the intelligent audience,” he explained.
Focus on movies
For the past two years, Enchong has chosen not to accept any TV work and focus only on doing movies. “I want to grow old with a filmography that people will keep watching and rewatching. I want projects that my audience can learn from, that will make them feel that nationalistic flame in their hearts. I’m at that point in my life right now. I just don’t know why they’re all happening at the same time. I just prayed for God to allow me to keep making movies. I haven’t stopped since ‘Here Comes the Groom,’ which was screened at the 1st Summer Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF).”
Enchong is currently promoting Pepe Diokno’s historical epic “GomBurZa,” which is a finalist at the 2023 MMFF in December. He claimed that doing “GomBurZa” made him feel proud to be a Filipino. “I love this country and I will fight for it. If, through my films, I can inspire other people to also love this country, then I would gladly take on more projects. This flame that has been reignited within me comes from my love for making films,” he declared.
Strengthen history subjects
In 2022, a group of teenage participants on the reality show “Pinoy Big Brother” erroneously answered “Majoha” when asked to name the three priests martyred by the Spanish colonial government in 1872: Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos and Jacinto Zamora. Filipinos call out the Department of Education to bring back and strengthen Philippine history subjects in high school, as well as educational programs designed for children on television.
“I was a host for that particular season when that came out. I also believe that these PBB contestants are educated kids and for them not to be informed about something as simple as ‘GomBurZa’ was very saddening. But at the same time, I realized that I also knew very little about what really happened to ‘GomBurZa,’ so I can’t totally blame them. I’m not an expert when it comes to this discussion, but I think we should bring back history in our educational system so that we can better understand why the country is like this and why Filipinos then were fighting for this freedom that we’re enjoying right now,” Enchong pointed out.
“The challenge for us as actors is to humanize the characters we portray in order to make them relatable to the audience,” the actor said. “We have both light and darkness within us. No one is completely good or completely evil. How to balance this in a film that runs for an hour and 47 minutes is the task of the actors. We have to humanize ‘GomBurZa’ so that people can relate to them … so that people will continue to watch this movie about them.”
“GomBurZa,” which also features Dante Rivero as Gomez and Cedrick Juan as Burgos, is produced by Jesuit Communications, in cooperation with MQuest Ventures Inc. and CMB Film Services Inc. INQ