Eddie “Manoy” Garcia, Vilma “Ate Vi” Santos still in fighting form
Since we all have an Oscars “hangover,” allow me to feature two of our own movie icons who could very well vie for an Oscar, given a chance: Vilma Santos and Eddie Garcia.
Ate Vi shares her thoughts on her foray into indie films via “Ekstra,” where she portrays a bit player. Tito Eddie (or Manoy) is ecstatic about his best actor nomination for “Bwakaw” at the Asian Film Awards to be held in Hong Kong on March 18.
Both can sit on their laurels but here they are, still in fighting form. Thank heavens for actors like them!
Ate Vi’s tribute
What did you learn about bit players while shooting “Ekstra”?
How hard it is for them… they are always last priority, especially those that are in “class B and C”— part of the crowd or passersby. Sometimes they stand in as doubles for the lead stars. No movie can be made without extras. They shouldn’t be taken for granted. We all start somewhere and work our way up. This movie is my tribute to bit players who have supported me in all my movies.
Any memorable moments with the extras you’ve worked with?
Oh, they love picture-taking! Sometimes they get so excited and forget that the scene is not yet finished, so they are reprimanded. Sometimes the food on the set is not enough so they don’t get to eat. I always made sure to have my staff buy food for them.
What’s your advice to bit players who yearn to make it big someday?
Never stop dreaming. Do your job well and be professional. Many big stars started with bit roles. Everyone has a fair chance. Persevere until Lady Luck smiles on you.
Are there plans to send “Ekstra” to international fests?
I don’t want to focus on competition. I just wanted to experience doing an indie film. I was always intrigued by how [indie filmmakers] did it in such a short span of time and with a limited budget—yet they have [scored] such big contributions to the artistic side of local filmmaking. In my own little way, I’d like to contribute to the indie world… even if it’s tiring and ngarag (hectic) mode ako shooting for 17 hours every day. It’s not easy dividing my time. Of course, my priority is my duty as a public servant in Batangas.
What’s more important—an acting award or box office success?
Box office success. It will encourage the producers to keep making movies. That keeps the industry alive. Although awards also matter, it’s not enough to sustain the industry. Both are rewarding in different ways.
Why do you think “Bwakaw” clicked abroad?
It’s a simple, well-written story, well-photographed and well-directed. It hits the right spot in your heart. It carries a universal message: love.
Do you ever plan to retire from show biz?
As long as I feel needed and wanted, I’ll keep acting. It’s my job and it’s an honest way to make a living.
Actress Troian Bellisario, a.k.a. Spencer Hastings of “Pretty Little Liars,” will arrive in Manila on Wednesday. She’s the third actress from the hit TV series to visit the country.
Big surprises are in store for the show’s third season finale on March 23, 8 p.m. on ETC.
Things come to a fiery end, where much-awaited answers will be revealed and a new mystery unfolds. The show airs Saturdays at 8 p.m.