art & design, costume design, musings, set design

expert lagundi

this is a super delayed blog post, especially since the tvc has almost stopped airing.

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worked with direk lyle sacris and cinematographer j.a. tadena on this tvc for ritemed lagundi (production house abracadabra, agency mccann worldwide). the requirement was to setup for 4 different period vignettes for a 1-day shoot. 2 of the vignettes were aided with CG backgrounds but i still had to setup a forest floor for my china set and some elements for the UP manila part. the thailand and europe vignettes were full studio dressups, the latter being the most challenging in terms of proppings.


sketched this forest scene (above) to give clients an idea of what i would be setting up (below).

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here, our chinese actor (below) is putting a lagundi plant into one of tita tem’s old baskets i pulled out from our living room.

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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, food trip, interior design, movies, set design

i am love (io sono l’amore)

one of the most gorgeous films ive seen in recent years is practically unknown on this side of the world and i wonder why. tilda swinton stars in I Am Love (2009), a sweeping melodrama directed by luca guadagnino, production design by francesca balestra di mottola, set decoration by monica sironi, costume design by antonella cannarozzi, cinematography by yorick le saux and features previously produced music by john adams.  this film is just exquisite, from the opening titles that evoked classical italian cinema to the magnificent modernist interiors of villa necchi and the impeccable tailored costumes by fendi (sylvia venturini fendi is an associate producer) and jil sander (with raf simons) plus the elegant plating and emotion of carlo cracco’s culinary masterpieces.

the deliciously stylish film, set in milan in the year 2000, follows a haute bourgeoisie family through changing times and fortunes, and its disruption by the force of passion. the title is taken from a line from the aria La mamma morta, which is explored in the film philadelphia (starring tom hanks and denzel washington), a scene of which emma is watching while in bed with her husband, during the film. wiki source

the detail that went into the film is beyond words. it was a beautiful showcase of family, tradition and the unmaking of it. every frame of this film is a masterpiece and every scene just breathtaking.  i love the real time take on the opening sequence where the whole family arrives and sits for lunch while swinton, gorgeous in a burgundy dress, orchestrates the household serving the perfect meal from her seat.

the opening titles had me at hello. it is reminiscent of many old films by visconti, hitchcock and the like

much of the film was set at the villa necchi campiglio in milan, which is a character in itself. the interiors, reckoned the producers, were a wonderful mix of home, museum and prison.  i marveled that the director highlighted the house by showing us not just the main rooms of the villa but also its kitchen, staircases, sitting rooms, entryways and even the househelp’s private quarters.


“I wrote a script that called for a cube of marble with a big staircase and sharp surfaces,” Guadagnino says. “I was banging my head trying to find a home that suggested great wealth but also a restrained sensibility.” After searching for years, he saw Villa Necchi in a book and immediately knew that it was the one. “It shows the obsession with perfection and details that the Milanese bourgeoisie have,” he says. “Old money always comes with great charm. Their real success is making others believe that money doesn’t exist — and luxury, as most people perceive it, doesn’t really exist in this house. It’s very severe, and feels almost unmovable, like a piece of rock.” source

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

60s love on the x-men

i was excited when teaser clips of this film were circulated.  what’s not to love? a younger batch of x-men in the 60s? it’s like porn. and rightly so, with the magnetic chemistry and undeniable bromance between professor charles x xavier and erik lehnsherr, played by james mcavoy and michael fassbender.

this may be the best x-men film out there for me. the pacing was right and fassbenber’s performance is just killer. he owned the film actually.  online reviews reflect a more mixed feedback but im all for this film. weak link was probably january jones, playing the white queen, because she doesnt seem to know how to act.  she always had this blank stare and looked like she’s eternally bored and it’s not a very convincing bored look in the first place!


but the biggest selling point for me with this film is the 60s look. i thought it was an obvious route for director matthew vaughn to take this movie to that era because he also did the 60s advertising tv series, mad men.  i apparently have mistaken him for matthew weiner haha.  vaughn, a totally different guy, produced lock stock and two smoking barrels with director guy ritchie (ex-mr.madonna) before he went on to direct stardust and kick-ass, among others.

credit for the gorgeous set design go to the production designer chris seagers and his team of art directors led by john king and dawn swiderski plus set decoration by erin boyd and sonja klaus. costume design is by sammy sheldon. i just love anything 60s-70s.  they’re so much fun to look at and do.  full info at  i do not take credit for the photos below.  details on the photos were taken from architectural digest.  im just a fan  🙂


more after the jump.

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art & design, filmmaking, set design

set design porn

found this posted so im reblogging because it’s friggin awesome! this is set design porn at its best!

A selection of some of the most awesome Behind-the-scenes shots I’ve seen from some famous movies. Back when set designs were huge and hand made, when special effects where mechanical and photographic and film stars were risking their lives on the set.

SEE THIS GALLERY HERE: BEST OF BTS  –reposting the photos below

source: Ain’t It Cool News specifically here and here

A self portrait of Stanley Kubrick with his daughter, Jack Nicholson and the crew @ the set of The Shining. Production Design by Roy Walker. Art Direction by Leslie Tomkins, Costume Design by Milena Canonero. Source

On the set of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis — the actress inside the Maria robot taking a breather.

The Empire Strikes Back – filming the Crawl.

darth vader and director Irvin Kershner. i love empire strikes back more than star wars and return of the jedi. it was a much fuller story and direction was so much better. Production Design by Norman Reynolds. Art Direction by Leslie Dilley, Harry Lange, Alan Tomkins. Set Decoration by Michael Ford. Costume Design by John Mollo. Source

the swamp where luke first meets yoda.

Rebel Without A Cause — James Dean, Natalie Wood and director Nicholas Ray.

Sesame Street

Requiem for a Dream — Jennifer Connelly strapped into a SnorriCam. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Cinematography by pinoy Matthew Libatique. Production Design by James Chinlund, Art Direction by Judy Rhee, Set Decoration by Ondine Karady

The Gate (1987) — Giant special effect set. © Craig Reardon

The Birds (1961) — Tippi Hedren with Hitchcock.

set of Alien. nominated at the oscars for art direction. Directed by Ridley Scott. the alien itself was designed by H.R. Giger. Production Design by Michael Seymour, Roger Christian (uncredited), Art Direction by Roger Christian, Leslie Dilley. Set Decoration by Ian Whittaker, Costume Design by John Mollo. source

h.r. giger on set. winnneeeeerrrrrrrr *drool*

stan winston working on the queen in Aliens. Directed by James Cameron. Production Design by Peter Lamont. Art Direction by Terry Ackland-Snow (supervising art director), Ken Court, Bert Davey, Fred Hole, Michael Lamont. Set Decoration by Crispian Sallis. Source

Private Vasquez (Jenette Goldstein) on the set of Aliens. idol ko sha!  she also worked with cameron on Terminator 2 as furlong’s foster mom and Titanic as that mother with the 2 kids.  source

marshmallow man in 1984’s Ghostbusters

Superman seems flying on the set.

on the set of Mothra (1961) – special effects director Tsuburaya Eiji

Dr. Strangelove — Sellers & Kubrick. Production Design by Ken Adam, Art Direction by Peter Murton.

Tron (1982) — David Warner and Bruce Boxleitner fuck around in costume. Production Design by Dean Edward Mitzner, Art Direction by John B. Mansbridge, Al Roelofs. Set Decoration by Roger M. Shook, Costume Design by Eloise Jensson, Rosanna Norton. source

Nosferatu (1922) — only Max Schreck “lounged” like that.

on the set of Faust.

Godfather — fish-line bullet holes.

Sean Connery sleeping on the set. awaaaard source

King Kong (1933)

on the spaceship set of 2001: A Space Odyssey. *drool* love this movie. won the academy award for best art direction. Production Design by Ernest Archer, Harry Lange, Anthony (Tony) Masters. Art Direction by John Hoesli, Set Decoration by Robert Cartwright (uncredited) source imdb

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


probably one of the most fun shoots we did this year was working on the currently airing lola techie commercial for bayanDSL. lyle sacris directed all tvcs for bayanDSL’s lola techie ads and this would be my first working on this campaign with him. i had to recreate every detail of continuity from the previous commercials but the bedroom and kitchen were new ground so i was able to play around with it. it helped a lot that the location we shot in was amazing, with authentic vintage 70s furniture and gorgeous detailed work on ceiling and wall panels.

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had to introduce a few more elements to the house to push the lolatechi-ness in the design. i always love playing up the 70s feel in my designs and this was another opportunity to do so  🙂  i always get inspiration from amelie (directed by jean-pierre jeunet, design by aline bonetto (art director) and marie-laure valla (set decorator), and of course top photographer erwin olaf.  a lot of the toys in lola techie’s house are from direk lyle’s own collection, including worlds of warcraft and the matrix’s sentinel (which we wanted to put on her bed’s headboard but was taken out eventually).

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

i was once a filmmaker

before all these pd work on tv commercials, before regal films and centerstage, revolver and abracadabra, before doing design for brillante mendoza and jerrold tarog and chito rono and tikoy aguiluz, before getting the urian and a ycc, before graduating and all the bills, i was once a filmmaker. i wouldnt go as far as say i was great, but i was a friggin filmmaker.

and i got reminded of that by eating my instant pancit canton.

and watching the trailer of amorres perros.

in high school and college i got interested in a lot of movies. i read about some highly-praised films that i would never get my hands on. being in the province with no access to obscure movies and art house films, plus technology would not be pirate friendly for another 10 years, i was cinema-starved.

in 2000 i transferred to the college of fine arts and met kindred spirits who were also hungry for good movies. we fed on films by fincher, lynch, inarritu, mike de leon, lav diaz, tornatorre and of course on lucky me pancit canton and red horse beer. after a few years, pirated dvds and players started popping up in quiapo and it was the motherload. we continued feeding on more world cinema along with our unsatiated appetite for pancit canton and moud halal’s roasted chicken and kabsa rice.

back then we dreamed of films, ate films, breathed films. ive been lucky to have shot, produced and directed a few short films. we were living the dream, quite frankly.

before i graduated, my choices of meals were cheap or cheaper. when i started working (with then PD dante mendoza), i could afford to watch more movies on the wide screen and eat in a variety of restaurants. more when i started to do my own PD work in tv commercials and films. now it was a choice of whether we’d eat japanese, italian, pinoy or whatnot, no matter the price.

today i stayed home and waited for the rain. by the time the roofs started their staccato beat, i got hungry and cooked a batch of pancit canton. who’d have thought this bowl got me reminiscing and find enlightenment?

before all these pd work on tv commercials, before regal films and centerstage, revolver and abracadabra, before doing design for brillante mendoza and jerrold tarog and chito rono and tikoy aguiluz, before getting the urian and a ycc, before graduating and all the bills, i was once a filmmaker. i wouldnt go as far as say i was great, but i was a friggin filmmaker.

and i got reminded of that by eating my instant pancit canton.  and now maybe it’s time to go back and make my own films.

art & design, filmmaking, laundry therapy

survivor asia


we survived! this would be the first time i had to deal with a schedule of 5 shoot projects, laid out on a week and a half, with 3 of the projects shooting at 6 consecutive days! preparations would have to overlap each other and on shoot days as well so i had to reorganize my staff to help me out with everything, including sending them to meetings and props checks. thank God for delegation and dissemination. i normally would deal with these myself but technology wouldnt allow for commercially-available cloning.

on one project, we had to work with celebrities on the launch of a new product and shoot at zambales (again), on camara island (again). im not complaining, i love zambales and this would be turn out to be one of the most relaxed shoots we’ve had. this was also the tvc that i got to work with budgette tan, who wrote the trese series, which i loved.  i brought my books to the shoot hoping for an autograph but was saddened to learn he left early on the last day.  tsk tsk, another time then.


the rest of my shoots were done in the studio and i had buboy (setman) build me set pieces quickly for the shoot only to strike them down immediately afterwards to make way for the next project. this included creating a whole barangay street, which was fun. i also employed a landscaper (same landscaper for the nescafe crouching tiger body partner chuchu shoot we did years ago–has it been that long?) so i could have real soil on my set haha.  had fun pushing the limit of glamour and fun on another project, working with swimming pools, bead curtains and incandescent bulbs.


i did learn a lot working out this crazy month.  for one thing, i do concur and confeerm that sometimes youre only as good as what your assistants are also capable of.  it helps to have responsible and creative people on your team so kudos to the artdepartment! to the fabulous lolafer, to carlo, syrel, chantel, pj and to setman buboy and his boys  🙂   they attended to some of my meetings and made creative decisions so i didnt have to deal with some of them, stayed around when i had to do checks and did fabulous work on set details and costuming, and for proxying and made lamay on the set when i got sick.  cant thank you enough!

i also learned how the senior PDs manage to run around doing projects in succession and never losing their stride.  it’s pretty hectic work, reason enough to get really harassed and break down or burn out.  i was conscious not to be affected with stress, i needed to focus on getting the job done as this kind of work deals with a lot of solving design problems. the crazy schedule is something i hope i dont have to do again since i do lose control over some details and my work can be compromised.  im just thankful the artdep gelled well and i didnt lose creative vision because we were all in-line.  i know now we can do it.  question is, would i want to do it all over again?


in the end, it’s the people you work with that makes it worthwhile. when the director calls a wrap, it’s just a great feeling to have accomplished so much in so little time.  it’s hard work to make it look fun and easy, the advertising industry is fun though gratification is hard to get.  it helps to be surrounded by positive and confident directors and a production staff who believes in you, and im blessed to have worked with them.  otherwise i would have already stabbed myself with a spoon.

till the next!  🙂


art & design, set design

nescafe ceremony shoot

worked on the new nescafe bodypartner commercial with the wu shu-ing, crouching tigering around the bamboo forest. had fun building the bamboo forest though i loved how it looked when the bamboo still had leaves, it looked like a set for theater. had a wild time with the shoot and im happy how the ad turned out. im posting also the final tvc here

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art & design, costume design, filmmaking, set design

jollibee shoot

we shot a jollibee ad a few months ago for the new champ burger (1/3 pounds, bigger than a quarter pounder! haha). i asked the services of talented brothers carlo & angelo tabije to help paint a backdrop for the product.  they made me 2 8′x8′ panels in jollibee orange colors all in one afternoon. this commercial featured joem bascon eating burgers in the last 5 seconds of the ad. the photo above were those prepared for him to bite into. every take, they had to replace the burger with a new one.  after the shoot they were carted off… i dont know where. and i didnt even get to eat even a bit of bacon (from the bacon and cheese burger on their menu) 😦

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