Pen Medina plays an ex-convict in Cinema One entry Layang Bilanggo


Michael Angelo Dagñalan directs Pen Medina (in photo), Miriam Quiambao, Jaime Fabregas, Will Devaughn and Neil Ryan Sese in the indie film Layang Bilanggo. This is one of the seven entries competing in the 6th Cinema One Originals digital film fest that will take place this November.


Ngayong November 10-16, 2010 na ang pagtatanghal ng Cinema One Originals, ang independent film festival na pinu-produce annually ng Cinema One, owned and operated by Creative Programs Incorporated (CPI), isang entertainment subsidiary ng ABS-CBN. Tampok sa nasabing indie filmfest ang pitong mga bagong pelikulang napili mula sa mahigit 100 entries.


Now on its 6th year, itatanghal ang mga pelikulang ito sa Shangrila Mall Cinemas sa Mandaluyong City. Ang mga entries this year ay Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria Kirschbaum directed by Remton Zuasola; Ishmael directed by Richard Somes; Astro Mayabang directed by Jason Paul Laxamana; Third World Happy directed by EJ Salcedo; Dagim directed by Joaquin Pedro Valdes; Tsardyer directed by Sig Sanchez at Layang Bilanggo directed by Michael Angelo Dagñalan.


Ang pelikulang Layang Bilanggo na pinagbibidahan ng underrated ngunit mahusay na character actor na si Pen Medina. Ito rin ang ikalawang full length film ng writer-director na si Michael Angelo Dagñalan, na siyang nag-direk ng 2005 Cinemalaya entry na Isnats.


Sa pamamagitan ng email ay nakapanayam ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) si Direk Mike noong September 5.



SYNOPSIS.
Set in a rural milieu, Layang Bilanggo is a story about the everyday struggles of abandoned senior citizens living inside a home for the aged. And as they go through their common routines, by chance, they stumble upon a revelation about a hired gun and the daughter he abandoned.


Paano nga ba nagsimula ang concept nila para sa Layang Bilanggo?

"Isang araw ng Linggo, kami ng fiancée at partner-in-crime ko na si Ma-an Asuncion, nagsimba sa St. Paul Church sa Timog, Quezon City.


"Isang group ng ex-convicts o mga ’layang bilanggo’ ang kumanta ng isang hearfelt song which struck me, at talagang halos maiyak ako nang ang isa sa kanila ay nagkuwento ng kanilang plight o karanasan.


"Ito ’yung kung papaano ba sila tatanggapin muli ng society galing sa pagkakabilanggo?

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"So, sinabi ko kay Ma-an, these people need a voice. Kailangan nila ng boses. After noon, nag-brainstorm na kami with our Kuwentista Production colleague Melchor Escarcha.


"Para bigyan ’yun ng universal theme, nag-decide kaming mag-focus sa abandonment and companionship ng isang bilanggo. To zero-in on that theme, nilagay namin ang character ni Pol [from St. Paul] sa isang situation where his past mistakes hound him hanggang sa pagtanda niya," kuwento ng writer-filmmaker.


Sa pagsisimula ng casting para sa pelikula, maraming mga pangalan ang nakunsidera, hanggang sa pangalan na nga ni Pen Medina ang nangibabaw, bilang lead character.


Ang iba pang nasa cast ay sina: Miriam Quiambao, Jaime Fabregas, Will Devaughn, Sue Prado, Archi Adamos, Mailes Kanapi, Ama Quiambao, Neil Ryan Sese, Lui Quiambao-Manansala, Hermie Concepcion, Pocholo Montes, Johnny Barnes, Bombi Plata, Raymond Rinoza, Yoonie Batoctoy, and Tom Olivar.


Paaano nila nabuo ang cast?

"After few considerations, we decided Pen Medina can portray the character Pol. Sa initial meeting pa lang namin sa kanya, na-demonstrate agad niya kung papaano i-arte ang kanyang character which shifts from a middle-aged man to an elderly man.


"Tapos, si Tita Ama Quiambao naman, na-meet ko years back. I already thought of casting her in one of our film projects and since pamangkin niya si Miriam, naisama na rin namin siya sa cast."


Ayon pa rink ay Direk Mike, si Ama na rin ang tumulong sa kanilang mag-cast ng iba pang "elders" sa pelikula.


"Nag-joke pa nga kami na isa itong Quiambao production dahil Tita Lui Quiambao-Manansala is also acting.


"Sue Prado, Neil Ryan Sese, Raymond Rinoza, Yoonie Batoctoy, Mailes Kanapi and Bombi Plata [UST classmate] are actors I already know. Everytime na nagsusulat ako ng story, I also keep in mind who can play the part especially ’yung puwede naming makatrabaho.


"Tulad ni Archie Adamos na nakatrabaho ko sa una kong feature, ’yung Isnats. Noong sinusulat ko ang unang draft ng script, sinulat ko talaga na Adamos ang pangalan ng character niya.

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"Jaime Fabregas was a unanimous choice to play Pen’s buddy in the home for the abandoned elderly.


"We were looking for an actor to play Miriam’s boyfriend, at mabuti na lang, available si Will Devaughn for his one-day shoot. In the course of revising the script, we figured he can fit in for more action scenes pero hindi naging ganon ang takbo ng istorya, dahil drama ito eh," kuwento niya.


Ano ba ang sarili niyang style o papaano ba siya bilang director ng pelikula?


"Kapag nagtatrabaho ako sa kahit na ano, I always hang on to what the vision of the film is. So that I won’t get lost and the inspiration will sustain me however physical it is to work on a film. Gaano man kahirap gumawa ng pelikula.


"Masaya ako dahil the vision is intact with Layang Bilanggo. With two shooting days left, I already feel accomplished because having seen the rushes, I know that I got the best actors, locations, equipment, staff and crew for this project.


"We just hope that we get as many people to watch the film. Para ang pagod sa paggawa ay sulit at nawa’y makatulong na ibalik sa panlasa ng mga manonood ang pelikulang Pilipino," pagtatapos ni Direk Mike.


DIRECTOR’S PROFILE.
Si Direk Mike Dagñalan ay ipinanganak sa Legazpi City, Albay ngunit lumaki sa Sorsogon City (Bicol).

Sa Secular Minor Seminary siya nag-first at second year high school, at nag-third and fourth year high school naman sa Somascan, isang Italian coed high sa Sorsogon City. Hanggang sa nagtapos siya ng Bachelor of Arts, Major in Communication Arts sa University of Santo Tomas sa Manila.


Bilang baguhang scriptwriter, iba’t ibang seminars ang kanyang ina-attend-an upang pagyamanin ang kanyang kakayahan at passion sa larangan ng paglika ng pampelikulang iskrip.

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Kabilang sa mga seminars/ workshops na ito ay ang mga sumusunod: PETA Writers Bloc, ang NCCA-funded na PETA Playwriting workshop under Rene Villanueva+, Jun Lana, at Charlie dela Paz+, ang Mowelfund Film Institute for Low-Cost, High-Quality Film/TV Production sa ilalim ni Professor Ian Lang, from Griffith University, Australia.


Mula pa rin sa Mowelfund Film Institute, um-attend siya ng seminar for Mexican Filmmaking under Mexican Director Gustavo Loza, at ang pinakahuli ay ang 11th Ricky Lee Scriptwriting Workshop for Film and TV.


Taong 2005 nang ang kanyang kauna-unahang full-length film na pinamagatang Isnats (starring Jourdan Sebastian, Berting Labra, Archie Adamos) ay nakasama sa first batch ng Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. Ang screenplay nito’y nanalo bilang first prize ng prestigious Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature noong 2002.


Ang pinakabagong film works ni Direk Mike ay ang short films na Karoler, Pagburnayan, River of Dreams at ang documentary na Reflections Beyond the River of Dreams. Ang kanyang River of Dreams ay naipalabas na sa iba’t ibang international film festivals at nanalo bilang 2009 Best Shortfilm for/on/by Children sa 21st Gawad CCP for Alternative Film and Video.


A co-founder of Sinelab Workshop kunsaan siya nagtuturo ng Independent Filmmaking, si Direk Mike rin ang kasalukuyang Creative Director ng Kuwentista Production -- isang content development and creative management company para sa film, TV, advertising, etc.


Five years later mula nang ipalabas ang Isnats noong 2005, muling sinubukan ni Direk Mike ang paggawa ng isang bagong full-length film. Isinumite nito ang kanilang Layang Bilanggo script--with co-writers Ma-an Asuncion and Melchor Escarcha--sa Cinema One Originals 2010 at nakapasa nga ito.

PRODUCTION CREW. Ang sumusunod ang bumubo ng production staff ng pelikula.


Director -- MICHAEL ANGELO DAGÑALAN

Screenplay / Story / Producers -- MA-AN L. ASUNCION, MICHAEL ANGELO DAGÑALAN, and MELCHOR DF. ESCARCHA

Executive Producer -- RONALD ARGUELLES

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Creative Consultant for Cinema One -- SHERAD ANTHONY SANCHEZ

Supervising Producer -- MENCHIE TABIJE

Script Consultant -- ARMANDO "BING" Y. LAO

Director of Photography -- MA-AN L. ASUNCION

Assistant Director -- BIANCA BALBUENA

Production Designer -- DIGO RICIO

Editor -- MIGUEL PANCHO

Original Music -- FREDERIC JOHN FERRAZ

Production Managers -- ONIEL PARKER and HECTOR YAMBAO

Script Continuity/2nd Assistant Director -- MAITA LUPAC

Associate Production Designer -- BIANCA DADIVAS

Sound Designer -- JOSEPH SANTOS

Art Director -- MAO FADUL

Assistant Cameraman -- ROY APUYAN

2nd Camera/Colorist -- DUSTIN UY

Steadicam Operator -- FRANCO ALIDO

Wardrobe Mistress -- SANDRA SANTIAGO

Make-up Artist -- SARAH JOSE

Behind the Scenes -- TRISTAN SALAS and DUSTIN UY

Production Assistants -- ABEGAIL PEÑAMANTE, ALEX ALARCON, MARVIN REYES, JACKIE QUIRIT, MELBA ACOSTA

Assistant to the Supervising Producer -- HEART EUSEBIO

Poster Design -- LESTER BUSTARDE

Visual Effects -- JAMIE DUMANCAS

Sound Engineer -- EDWARD MARTINEZ


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