I've been hanging out at the CCP this past week for Cinemalaya, the independent film festival now on it's fifth year. Some of the amazingly talented people who worked on Off World have films this year at the festival.
Leeroy New, my forever set crush and award winning artist, was the production designer for Engkwentro. I heard he had to construct a slum for their shoot. Here's Leeroy in top form:
Ms. Irma Adlawan plays Fe in Ang Panggahasa Kay Fe (The Rapture of Fe). Amazing. We spent hours hanging out in the dinky blue van, our makeshift holding area on the set. Not a word of complaint from this woman, who is not only an exceptional actress but also a lovely person.
And of course Che Ramos in her first lead role as Laya Marquez in Mangatyanan (Blood Trail). She really went for it! Three cheers for Che!
May 22 is the feast day of Saint Rita, who is kind of my favorite because she's the advocate for impossible causes. When things are tough, good old Santa Rita keeps me going.
So I dragged Mateo to San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila where they celebrate high mass on her feast day. Although he's Jewish, I thought his half-Catholic side would enjoy it. There were roses, candles, a brass band, and a nice breeze outside the church.
Again, children everywhere. This time with candles for the parade. Photo by Mateo Guez.
Here she comes. They parade her around town once a year.
Mateo getting into the spirit of things.
A nice evening in Intramuros.
And even if the movie itself is almost, almost, almost done, this war is far from over.
A week ago from today, Mateo and I hopped on a plane (delayed of course) to Palawan. Landing in Busuanga, we took a two hour boat ride out to The Calamianes. Our destination: Mangenguey Island (www.mangenguey.com). Here's Mateo documenting his trip:
Our hostess on Mangenguey, the inimitable Helena Carratala Mander.
We had nineteen hours of behind-the-scenes footage from principal photography last December. It's been fun to watch it and it's challenging to put together.
Mateo also needed a mini break from the madness of making this movie, so we make it a point to chill. We sat on the dock and sunned, ate Helena's fabulous food, swam in the salty Palawan waters and brainstormed. Suddenly the next chapter in this adventure became a lot clearer.
And so the plot thickens.
On our last day, our hostess took us out on the boat for a sunset spin. Everytime I go this part of the country, I'm awed by how lovely it can be. Mateo enjoyed himself, I think maybe fancied himself The Boatman.
Mateo flies back to Toronto this evening. While he was here we talked to a lot of people: those who worked tirelessly with us, those who helped us, those we want to help.
I think we're both aware of how awesome the ride has been so far, and how amazing it's going to be.
Finally finished digitizing the tapes of Juan with Jason. My eyes are blurry. How strange to be watching everything three months later. Was it only last December?It feels like years ago.
Actually, it was a pretty intense ten days shooting in Tondo. Sure we were tired and unglamorous and sometimes crabby but after watching the tapes, I saw that we were relaxed, fairly happy, and efficient enough to get everything done on schedule. And you know what--we had fun: Marc and his wisecracks, Julia's karaoke moments, Leeroy making strange faces, everyone spontaneously breaking out into song and dance, enjoying Trisha's gourmet meals in the middle of nowhere.
It wasn't a picnic making this movie, but it was far from being a nightmare.
Here's Mateo taking a two-minute power nap .
Watched the sunset from Jason's editing suite. Sat from ten am to twelve midnight. Now that we've seen all the footage, the real work begins...
Today I woke up to a rainy morning in March and drove through the slushy streets of Manila to meet with Jason Tan, editor for our behind-the-scenes documentary. Jason is a ninja-slash-all around sweetheart and he's going to help us come up with a kick ass docu. Juan of course shot all the footage. Nineteen tapes baby.