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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art & design, filmmaking, movies, musings

si chedeng, si apple, at si elvie

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im currently shooting a new film for cinema one originals with two of the most gorgeous women on the face of the earth, gloria diaz and elizabeth oropesa. these two ladies worked previously on the 1974 cult classic, Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop sa Balat ng Lupa, and aptly titled too because even at their current ages, their beauty is unparalleled.  one can only wish theyd age gracefully as these two have.

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i grew up knowing i had family relations with gloria diaz. my middle name is, in fact, diaz; my mother had explained my grandfather and gloria’s father were cousins (and we have connections also on the florendo side of things). to get to work with her for this film is a dream come true but i took my time before letting ms gloria know of this family connection. i preferred to get to know her better first. the first time we met up with ms gloria to discuss film costume requirements, she told us she can provide day clothes but doesnt have sleeping outfits because she only wears gowns and her crown to sleep! a true beauty queen inside and outside, she turned out to be warm, generous, and with a fabulous sense of humor. so when i call her tita gloria, there is more than a kevin-bacon-6-degree truth to that. i, thank you. charot.

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shot in manila and cebu and features awesome cebuano talent behind the camera (director, producer, dop and camera crew, sound crew, etc), “si chedeng, si apple, at ang louis vuitton” is directed by fatrick tabada (writer of sleeper-hit patay na si hesus) and rae red (co-writer of birdshot), based on a fabulous script by tabada. cinematography by don gerardo frasco, production design by carlo tabije and myself (cdo reprezent), produced by bianca balbuena, and executive produced by ronald arguelles, this film is a finalist at the 2017 cinema one originals film festival on november 12-21.

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art & design, filmmaking, laundry therapy, movies, musings, travel

wanderlust: karlovy vary

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karlovy vary is about 1.5 hours from prague in the czech republic. i had but recently only realized that czechoslovakia had divided itself in 1993 (i blame sleepy afternoons and not concentrating in history). so there is the czech republic and there is slovakia on the map. awesome to learn something every day, right?

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karlovy vary is known for their spas and medicinal spring waters and a lot of their tourism is towards people seeking wellness and therapy. however, every july their sleepy little town gets to throw a big party for the summer crowd and because it hosts the karlovy vary international film festival.

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this is Hotel Thermal, home of the karlovy vary international film festival. the hotel is kinda like CCP, except with a hotel and is near everybody else.

our film, KAPATIRAN (Brotherhood), was screened this year, ive blogged about it already. this post would show a little bit of karlovy vary instead.

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one of the ballrooms in the grandhotel pupp with a big ass morgan freeman portrait. one of the biggest spa hotels in karlovy vary and where a lot of the parties during the festival were hosted. it’s awesome for 1 festival to have most of the whole city so involved. you can see a lot of their poster billboards all over. the theaters are spread out and not just in one venue.

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another one of the venues where we had our 2nd screening of karlovy vary. goofing outside the cafe, we were joined by hubert poul (6th from left), programmer in karlovy vary and the one who was responsible for bringing us to the czech republic. also in the photo in lucille (rightmost) who was in-charge of our schedules and car transfers. very organized and with a bmw sponsorship for transfers, we were major alta in karlovy vary haha

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early morning and the crowd had just partied the night before. still some few souls traversing through the venue and gardens, others sunbathing for their life. im pinoy, no thanks, i have my umbrella to shield me from the sun.

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the view outside hotel ruze, where we enjoy our breakfast buffet of cheeses, hard bread, and yohgurt. plus goulash and different kinds of sausages as well.

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another of the collonades that feature a spring of water, supposedly medicinal and which you can drink (if you buy them touristy ceramic mugs).

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we stayed for 4-5 days but wish we could stay the whole week. got to watch brillante mendoza’s ma’rosa (heartbreaking) and swiss army man, directed by dan kwan and daniel scheinert (amazing). then of course, the new edit to kapatiran, which we saw for the first time in karlovy vary. during the q&a, pepe likened the philippines to shattered glass, an archipelago of broken people, separated by seas and subcultures yet connected by affiliations. and then there was a proposal that occurred. but that will be another story.

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for the rest of the photos i took in karlovy vary, head on to my fb photodump album.

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art & design, filmmaking, food trip, laundry therapy, movies, musings, set design, sketch

a week off facebook

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stayed away from facebook and logged off twitter since monday because i havent had time to watch the new game of thrones episode. but im looking at all the positives of this action. i had more time to nap between meetings and shoots and during the long uber ride home in rush hour. i missed the hullabaloo of catcalling and whistling controversies and i think that’s a good thing. too much drama and the guy hasnt even really started working yet. my mobile internet is not exactly all that happy though because instagram consumes a lot more data and i hit my cap too fast.

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btw, im blogging because im not exactly on facebook still.

im thankful carlo and i got to watch x-men apocalypse last week before we got busy. btw, the critics should just really stop because the movie was awesome. the only thing i didnt like about it is nightcrawler’s jeje hair. sansa stark was awesome as sophie turner as jean grey. and im loving the new cyclops. the character was always my favorite compared to wolverine.

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we just finished majority of principal photography for SINGLE/SINGLE season 2 with pepe diokno. the cast is awesome and fun but shooting as fast as we did takes a toll and ill never really like shooting for tv. unless maybe if i were working on a show like game of thrones or some weta production in new zealand then i wont have complaints whatsoever. the best person on the set in S/S was, hands down, utility jay-r who was always gracious and checking that everyone gets hydrated. such a selfless man. thanks, kuya jay-r.

also finished a shoot with paolo dy that i wasnt able to personally shoot haha (because i had a conflict sked with single single). carlo supervised the shoot as double unit instead. wow double unit. i never do double units, btw, but had no choice for this because of the celebrity talent’s schedule. paolo’s fast on the finishing touches and marketing of his new full length movie, ignacio, a gorgeous costume drama on the saint, coming on in july. hope all goes well for paolo and the film!

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and im excited to buy a new printer. my other one conked out after 3 years of continuous, “unlimited” printing. and when it did, i was broken and unproductive creatively and realized i was totally reliant on printers. i wish i could afford a portable printer that does A3 paper but i can only afford this. and im happy.

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had a short trip flying to cagayan de oro last week to see my cousin get hitched. he wanted me to “host” his reception as i have done with our other cousins’ wedding reception dinners years ago. and so i went. hahaha congrats tonski and zsazsa!

then i got to meet my brother-in-law’s adopted pitbull, bruno. and while i believe in good-hearted dogs, this 8-month old puppy chilled my heart a bit because i was considered a stranger in their house. he barked at me! hahaha and while he slowly approached and licked my hands, his body language was still on guard and anxious and he stares at me (head to toe). it will take a bit more time for him to fully accept me but ill only be seeing him again in december and by then he’ll have grown up and totally forget me. cesar millan, help. haha

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but i was at the beach with him that sunday. and because he was so busy swimming to get back to land, i got to hug him and carry him above water.

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so many gorgeous people on the set of SINGLE/SINGLE, mind you. and all are easy-going, kind, and considerate of everyone. matteo, shaina, anna luna, brian sy, bernardo bernardo, jc santos, and the dame cherie gil. then we have the gorgeous will devaughn, who walks in and worlds stop. actors aside, i only agree to work in non-tvc projects based on the cast of characters behind the camera. who can say no to bianca balbuena? aber? along with her epic partner, pepe diokno, and epic lover, bradley liew, we have kuya ruel (char kuya), kulas, ms ninay, lilit, patti lapus (extraordinaire), martin and maki. kalorks roll call na ito sige nga. pero hindi na lahat ha, haba the list. shoutout to our hard working team, kitch, sammy, docdoc, nante, melben, isabel, ken, vinze.

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and speaking of vinze, this guy was our intern for the whole two months of summer. i warn interns that production shoots go beyond their required 240 hours of internship and they have to be willing to stay a bit longer to complete a project. this guy stayed two months and went through 5 different tv commercial shoots and 6 days of the SINGLE/SINGLE shoot. still so much to learn but hardworking, he wanted to just stay forever as art department. but like all interns, and because i believe in real education, i strongly demanded he bring his ass back to school and finish college before coming back to work full time in the art department. i tell you, you’ll thank yourself years later. and your mom will be the most fulfilled mom because she’ll see you on stage getting your diploma. congratulations in advance on your graduation, vinze. 😉

and i have now finished my coffee and have to run off do prep for another shoot. cheers and wishing everyone a safe and productive weekend!

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ps. this is perhaps the best ramen in manila ive ever experienced. was introduced to this by direk erin pascual. life changing ramen. this is mendokoro ramenba in salcedo village, makati. the shoyu ramen is the best and the only thing i order and eat because i cant get over it. no, i cant.

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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, interior design, movies, musings, set design, sketch

shooting heneral luna part 1

HENERAL LUNA is in the last stretch of school tours and promotions prior to the movie’s release on september 9, 2015 and artikulo uno has already released a series of behind the scenes featurettes, including a production design video featuring carlo and myself. however, let me take you further behind the scenes and the design process for one of the sets featured in the current trailer, including trying to meet requirements for our first day of shoot.

a lot of the movie’s intense scenes was staged in this convent room where president aguinaldo’s cabinet staff would meet to discuss (argue) plans for the impending conflict against the americans.

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we’ve started reading and studying the heneral luna script august of 2013.  the script called for the cabinet meeting to happen in a convent. historically, the philippine government often had to move around and meet where it would be convenient and church convents would be akin to board rooms/conference rooms in our modern life setting. by this time, our govt had been driven out of manila and aguinaldo held office in the provinces. i started researching on visual pegs with photos of convents in the 1890s and any local government meetings i could find.

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movies

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (2013)

i cried again watching this movie for the 2nd time. this clearly is not only an homage to the best magazine in the world, not just to film photography, but to the very core moments of life where you need to stop and take it all in, those moments and experiences that are just needed to be lived, an adventure by itself. i just had to watch this again, this time in 1080p. the cinematography is gorgeous and every thing building up to that end sequence just tugs at my heartstrings so hard id break. easily one of the best movies. EVER.

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filmmaking, laundry therapy, movies

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (2015)

there are movies that move you to tears and some to laughter. this one makes you scream and curse and rage and hyperventilate over the awesomenessofitall. it drives you mad. to the max. now i understand.

a lot have been said over the direction and the design (the costumes and car designs have been unanimously praised) of the movie and i agree with everything. it’s so awesome it blows my mind. the musical score and sound design were phenomenal; i especially love the visual aspect of the score pairing the army drummers onscreen with the kickass doof warrior character doing riffs on that rig, it’s insane! george miller. colin gibson. jenny beavan. junkie xl. john seale. tom hardy. charlize theron. nicholas hoult. they’re all insane!

another thing i love about it was the practical effects the director took lengths to do. it harks back to the days when cg was so low tech and most people do live effects and puppets and all to create a tangible, physical world to shoot in. i dont know if they shot in film as well (too tamad to research) but the look was just gorgeous and the effect visceral that if it were not for the 3D glasses i had on, i swear i was back in the old decripit theater downtown in my province in the 80s gawking at the fast paced road rage going onscreen.

i hate 3D but if there was anything you needed to see in 3D iMAX this year, this is it. 5/5

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