filmmaking, movies, musings

INA NYO

it’s official! c1 originals festival 2017 just posted on their facebook page that our short film, INA NYO, is in competition! thrilled that cinema one originals under ronald arguelles took it in. we finally have our world premiere! wohoo!

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INA NYO is a short film directed by Mary Grace Evangelista and was part of her final requirements for her film program under NYU-TISCH. Ina Nyo (Your Mother) is a day in the life of Ana, a young housemaid in Manila, and her quiet resilience as she is hassled by the family she has come to care for and know. While desperate to send more money to her mother, her job is suddenly jeopardized when the rivalry of the siblings and their desire for her go too far. Ana struggles with how to maintain her livelihood.

was introduced to mary online through her brother, eric. it wasnt until she was about to shoot that i got to really meet her. as i couldnt do her design work for this project, i tapped my art directors kitch napigkit, to be prod designer, and arman montallana, to be prod manager. and since i was supervising the local team and logistics, i got swept into the whirlwind of producing without realizing it. grateful to have done it but im not sure if i did a pretty decent job. i should remind myself to sit in bianca balbuena’s workshops next time.

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production meeting when the crew from new york arrived. from left: me, arman (prod manager), JP habac (assistant director turned coordinator), mikee (stylist), kitch (PD), mary (director), joanne (DOP), charlie (AC), and falko (gaffer).

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notes between kitch and me discussing/consulting design and requirements.

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it’s been a while since mary and i saw each other (we briefly spent an afternoon a few weeks ago with brother eric and his partner stan) so i decided to do a short interview about her thoughts behind INA NYO and her future plans. a first for this blog! always wanted to do an interview so here goes.

tell us a little bit more about writing and developing this story. there are a lot of strong women also in the film. what are your thoughts on feminist filmmaking?

I grew up surrounded by tough women who worked as caretakers, cleaning ladies and nannies. I was inspired by their stories and their resilience. My mom and her best friend, Tita Lina would chismis about work and they’d tell these amusing stories that were sometimes pretty tragic – but it was always told in a way that empowered. There was a lot of laughter growing up so the somber ending to the film is more of my own doing in this case. I am a feminist so naturally I feel my filmmaking will be reflective of that as well.

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it seems this story is relevant more than ever. how do you feel about this with the current weinstein gate?

Weinstein sucks. When I was writing the script I had a professor who couldn’t understand why Ana would give in to John, as if she let herself get assaulted. That was frustrating and alarming because of course she doesn’t – no one is ever asking for it. With the story I wanted to explore how as women we’re constantly navigating these power dynamics and it’s hard to know what the right answer is in situations especially when you feel trapped.

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tell us a bit more about shooting this film

It was incredible to shoot in the Philippines. When you and JP came on board that’s when it all came together and suddenly I found myself on set with thirty people waiting for direction, a generator, a signal number 2 typhoon wreaking havoc and lots of art and production design.

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I also love how my friends who came with me from the States bonded with your team and we became a little family. Lots of Taglish and even some beki lingo were spoken in-between takes and generally it was a playful set which counterbalanced the dark material and the grueling schedule.

any thing else you are currently developing? a full length perhaps? what’s next for you?

I’m working on a couple projects including writing a feature length version of Ina Nyo. It’s set in the Bay Area California (where I mostly grew up) and follows Ana’s rocky first summer in the States while both she and her mom work as domestics and hide from the immigration authorities.

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catch the short film in the shorts program! screening schedule listed below!

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