By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:16:00 04/12/2009
Filed Under: Cinema, Entertainment (general)
IN A LOT of ways, it was like defending a college thesis before a panel of academicians.
That was how actor Piolo Pascual described his experience as an indie film producer who had to pitch Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin’s “Manila” to Star Cinema officers.
Top executives watched the movie at the company’s main office in Quezon City before finalizing the distribution deal, Piolo recalled.
“Everyone was there—from Tita Malou (Santos), Inang (director Olivia Lamasan) to the marketing and sales staff,” he explained.
Piolo, however, was by his lonesome because co-director Adolf was at the Rotterdam film fest at the time.
Facing the panel was nerve-wracking, Piolo admitted, but he was also confident and had huge faith in the material.
“At first, I was intimidated,” he recounted. “But since I was involved in every step of the production, the objective was very clear to me.”
Piolo and the film’s directors talked lengthily about the vision of “Manila,” so by the time he faced the panel, he was stoked.
Star Cinema representative
s, he said, were just as excited and curious about the indie film.
“They had lots of questions,” he noted. “I explained why it was in black-and-white … why it was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm.”
“Manila” is a twin-bill tribute to Lino Brocka’s “Jaguar” and Ishmael Bernal’s “Manila By Night.”
“The episodes of ‘Manila’ are two contrasting films made by two very different filmmakers,” Piolo related. “Each has his own style. Raya is edgy and takes a music-video approach, while Adolf follows traditional narrative.”
By the end of the screening, Piolo got what he wanted. Star Cinema agreed to distribute “Manila” in the Philippines.
Piolo said they also want to take the film abroad and premiere it in a major festival like Cannes or Venice.
Toronto has signified its intent to screen it, said co-producer Arleen Cuevas.