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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filmmaking, food trip, movies, musings

Food and Art Part 1

Last week we had an interestingly artsy fartsy series of events we didnt see coming.

On february 7, thursday night, bianca balbuena, production manager and assistant director in some of jerrold tarog’s films and now producer for pepe diokno’s latest project, in which i and carlo are a part of, invited us to a screening at the UP of her recent producing stint off cinema one originals festival, ABERYA, starring will devaugn, mercedes cabral, iwa moto, and best supporting actor, nicholas varela, a sound recordist in real life and the ex-boyfriend of bianca. long sentence, i know.

We got to the UP early so we had dinner across the street from the theater at the ROC. awesome food and interiors. Loving the high ceiling, especially.

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Clockwise from top left is tomato soup, bicol express bagnet, awesome herbed tomato and garlic roll up pizza and a beef stew (very good).
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ABERYA was written and directed by christian linaban who hails from cebu. I would have enjoyed the film more if the sound were better during the screening. The film lost a lot of the mood and atmosphere to draw its audience into the world of love, sex, video scandals, designer drugs and circumstance. I learn later on that Pepe diokno had previously tweeted saying the film had the best sound design there is hence, it explained why i couldnt immerse myself into the film. Maybe i can catch it again in a better theater, which makes it also imperative that the UP film center (now called the UP film institute, but im old like that) must really upgrade its sound system, acoustics and put in a better and permanent digital projector.

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