"Maganda itong project kasi kumbaga pioneering project ito. This is the very first regional soap opera between two countries [Malaysia and the Philippines]. It will be aired simultaneously in the two countries," says Albert Martinez about a soap opera co-produced by Star Cinema and a Malaysian company. Photo: Noel Orsal

Umalis noong May 1 si Albert Martinez patungong Malaysia para sa taping ng soap opera na pinagbibidahan nina Jericho Rosales at ng Malaysian actress na si Carmen Soo. Ito ang kauna-unahang regional soap opera at unang venture sa pagitan ng Star Cinema at isang Malaysian company.

 

Nakausap ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Albert sa telepono kaninang umaga. Kagagaling lang niya mula sa Korea kung saan nagbakasyon sila ng kanyang pamilya nang makatanggap siya ng tawag mula sa Star Cinema na kailangan na siyang pumunta ng Malaysia.

 

"If you are familiar with the movie Seraphim Falls [Hollywood film starring Pierce Brosnan and Liam Neeson], my role is somewhat similar to the role played by Pierce Brosnan. The character I play in the series is the one being blamed by Echo [palayaw ni Jericho] for the death of his father. We are the ones involved in conflict, although Echo has this mistaken notion that I am to blame," kuwento ni Albert.

 

Ito ang ikalawang pagkakataon na makakatrabaho ni Albert si Jericho sa isang soap opera. Una silang nagkasama sa isang soap under ABS-CBN mga sampung taon na ang nakalipas, kung saan tampok din si Pops Fernandez.

 

Reunion ito between Albert and Jericho, same with Direk Gilbert Perez, na siya rin ang nagdirek ng unang pagsasama sa TV series ng dalawang premyadong aktor. Hindi lang maalala ni Albert ang title ng soap opera which he did with Echo and Pops some 10 years ago.

 

PIONEERING PROJECT. Anong pakiramdam niya bilang kasama sa isang project na sa Malaysia kukunan, no less? And is the first of its kind in the region?

 

"Maganda itong project kasi kumbaga pioneering project ito," saad ni Albert. "This is the very first regional soap opera between two countries [Malaysia and the Philippines]. It will be aired simultaneously in the two countries. Hindi pa lang namin alam kung kailan ang target airing nito. Kasi after we come back in June from Malaysia, we will still be taping for three months here in the Philippines

 

Majority raw ng male cast ay mga Filipinos, at karamihan ng female cast ay mga Malaysian actresses.

 

Ano naman ang expectations niya sa project na ito with Star Cinema and the Malaysian group?

 

"To begin with, maganda ang script. Maganda ang casting. Primarily kasi, kaya ako na-excite dito is because it's the first regional soap. After this soap opera, this could open doors for Filipino actors to work in other countries, with other leading men and leading ladies from other countries.

 

"Kung ngayon Malaysia, probably we can work with Singapore and Hong Kong. So lalaki yung playing ground ng mga Pilipino in Asia. Hindi na tayo limited sa small country like the Philippines. Ang market natin ay Asia na, which is good kasi magkakaron na tayo ng Asian exposure. There would be more opportunities now kasi exposed ka na sa Asian market, hindi lang sa Pilipinas." 

 

CINEMA BUHAY. Bukod sa soap opera, may pelikulang gagawin din ni Albert sa September. At isang project para sa Cinema Buhay, isang foundation na nagbibigay ng grant sa mga aspiring filmmakers. Ito ay tumutulong sa mga bagong filmmakers.

 

"Nagpo-produce kami ng project for them. This is the second time I am doing this. The first was in 2006 when I did the Numbalikdiwa, which starred Maricel Soriano. She even won a best actress award for that movie," sabi ng aktor.

 

Nakahanda na rin ang filming ng second movie na ipo-produce ng Cinema Buhay na ididirek ni Juan Miguel Sevilla. Ito ang nakatanggap ng P1-million grant para sa pelikula.

 

"Kailangan na mag-submit ng synopsis, casting, background ng filmmakers, tapos pipili kami kung alin sa mga entries ang bibigyan ng grant. Noong first year namin, we received 42 entries. This year, nakatanggap kami ng 39 entries. Out of 39 entries, we narrowed it down to ten, then five entries. Pag limang entries na lang, kailangan i-defend sa amin ng filmmaker kung bakit sila ang dapat makatanggap ng grant para magawa ang pelikula," paglalahad ni Albert.

 

Para sa unang dalawang taon nila, tig-isang pelikula muna ang puwede nilang mabigyan ng grant. Pero umaasa ang aktor na baka next year ay madagdagan na ito.