"It's not a movie about running. It's about the life of a runner. Hindi ito parang pelikula na ipapakita lang ang mga runner, it's more about the journey ng isang tao," says director Paul Soriano about the concept behind his second movie, Thelma.

Photo: Noel Orsal

Malaki ang naitulong ng directorial film debut ni Paul Soriano na A Journey Home para lubos niyang ma-appreciate ang sining ng  pelikula.

Mas nakilala kasi si Paul bilang direktor ng television commercials kaya malaking hamon para sa kanya ang gumawa ng proyekto na ang tanging inilalako sa mga manonood ay purong istorya at hindi produkto.

Bagamat hindi tinalikuran ni Paul ang mundo ng advertising matapos maipalabas ang kanyang first film venture noong nakaraang taon, hindi rin naman nawala sa kanyang isip ang posibilidad na muling gumawa ng pelikula provided na may magandang ideya na dumating.

"After A Journey Home, that was my first film, I fell in love with the whole idea of movie making. We all know that the past four years I've been directing commercials... Pero last year when I was given an opportunity to make a film, I fell in love with the way movies are made.

"So I told myself parang kailangan kong gumawa ng one more film. I had some ideas from studying film and I always wanted to do a sports film—dream ko 'yan because I'm a huge fan of Chariots of Fire, Children of Heaven, and Million Dollar Baby," kuwento ni Paul nang makaharap ang PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at iba pang entertainment reporters noong Huwebes, November 4, sa Dulcinea Restaurant sa Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

Dagdag pa ni Paul: "Sports films can be very inspiring, it's almost like a metaphor of life. A lot of people can learn not just how the sport is, but life values as well."

SHAPING THELMA. Track and field ang sport na naging inspirasyon ni Paul sa kanyang bagong independent project na tinawag niyang Thelma.

"Ang running kasi centered sa isang tao as compared to let's say basketball o football. This movie kasi is about one person's journey to run for her dreams. Of course, I also love to run and I think also perfect timing din kasi parang every Saturday and Sunday may fun run or marathon," paliwanag ni Paul sa PEP.

Upang lubos na maging pamilyar sa kanyang napiling paksa ay nag-research at pinag-aralang mabuti ni Paul ang nasabing sport. Kasama sa kanyang preparasyon ang pakikipag-usap sa mga track and field athletes at mga coaches. Personal din siyang dumadalo sa mga training sessions kahit pa karaniwan itong ginagawa ng madaling araw.

Malaki ang papel na gagampanan ng Olympic track and field medalist na si Elma Muros-Posadas sa pelikula. Bukod sa aarte siya bilang coach ng lead star na si Maja Salvador ay pinakiusapan din siya ni Paul na magsilbing mentor maging sa production team para maintindihan nila ang sport.

"I interviewed Elma and we had meetings about the life of athletes and she shared a lot of her stories. We went to even as far as talking to Philippine Women's Teams here... I even ran with the FEU [Far Eastern University] Team at 4:30 in the morning just to kinda feel the life of an athlete," paliwanag ni Paul.

"After all that research, we decided to write the story, write the script, and that's why we are here today. Thelma, I would say, is inspired by true stories of athletes. I don't want to say it's just Elma's story, but definitely you'll see some parts of her story there on the big screen.

"There are also stories about other athletes that we've interviewed. So, it's a movie inspired by true events and true stories and I really feel that this kind of film can give a positive and uplifting experience when you watch it."

Lilipad ngayong linggo papuntang Ilocos Norte ang cast at production crew ng Thelma para simulan ang shooting ng pelikula.