Dimples Romana plays an Abu Sayyaf-kidnap victim in Tsardyer


The Cinema One Originals entry Tsardyer is inspired by true incidents that took place while Ces Drilon was kidnapped in Sulu. This indie film stars Dimples Romana (in photo) as the abducted journalist who befriends a Tausug boy who runs errands for the Abu Sayyaf.


Gaganap si Dimples Romana ng isang "Ces Drilon-inspired" character sa indie film na Tsardyer, isa sa official entries ng 6th Cinema One Originals, written and directed by Sigfried Barros-Sanchez.

Matatandaang naging isang malaking balita ang pagkaka-kidnap at pagho-hostage ng mga Abu Sayyaf kay Ces Drilon, isang ABS-CBN news anchor, noong 2008.

Ang nasabing independent film festival ay ipapalabas mula November 10-16, 2010 sa Shangrila Mall Cinemas. Ang pitong entries this year ay produced ng Creative Programs, Inc. (CPI), isang entertainment subsidiary ng ABS-CBN.

Ang Tsardyer, ayon kay Direk Sigfried, ay hango sa kuwento ng batang lalaking inuutusan ng mga Abu Sayyaf na "i-charge" ang kanilang mga cell phones kapag ito’y naglo-low battery na, habang hostage pa nila sina Ces Drilon and company sa kabundukan.

Kasama rin sa pelikula ang child actor na si Martin delos Santos (lumabas na sa Hollywood film na Mammoth opposite Michelle Williams and Gael Garcia Bernal at kakalabas pa lamang sa PETA play na Ang Postman) bilang si Shibab; Neil Ryan Sese bilang ama nito; Pipo Alfad (isang totoong Tausug actor), Shamaine Buencamino, Dido dela Paz, Mon Confiado, Bombi Plata, indie veteran Raul Morit, musician Frank Corona, at mga Tausug guys.

Sa panayam ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) sa writer-director ng Tsardyer na si Direk Sigfried, naikuwento nito ang kanyang first few shooting days experience. As of press time ay ilang araw pa ang tatakbuhin bago matapos ang principal photography ng pelikula.

Ayon kay Direk Sig (palayaw nito), sa unang araw pa lang ng kanilang shooting ay pumunta na sila sa Sulu, partikular na sa Abu Sayyaf-infested areas tulad ng Patikul, Indanan, Talipao, and Maiombong sa Sulu.

"Hindi namin akalain na habang nagsu-shooting kami doon ng ilang footages sa isang town doon, naka-face to face namin sila, greeting them with smiles, ang members ng Abu Sayyaf group," kuwento ni Direk.

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Ang ikalawang shooting day nila’y ginawa sa Quezon City.

"Kinonvert namin ang Mandaue Foam, isang foam store sa Banawe bilang hotel room sa Sulu kunsaan nag-stay yung character ni Dimples at ang crew nito. Nag-reunite kami nina Shamaine Buencamino at Bombi Plata, my two former actors in my first two films, Lasponggols (Cinemalaya 2005) and Ang Anak ni Brocka (Cinema One Originals 2005)."


Ang third shooting day ay ginanap sa Phillip Sanctuary sa Antipolo, Rizal.

"Mahuhusay ang actors that day. Ang highlight ng shoot ay yung ’tuhog’ shot, kunsaan ’yung character ni Mon Confiado ay dapat nang pupugutan ng ulo ni Commander Karim [played by Pipo Alfad]. Tatlong cameras ang ginamit noon sa isang mahabang take! Take one lang ’yun dahil magagaling ang mga artista.

"Pipo Alfad was a revealation and a prized find. So was our boy, Martin Delos Santos who plays Shihab. Ang veteran actors like Dimples, Bombi, Mon, and the great Raul Morit were also revelations. Naging instant fan nila ako."

Kumusta naman ang pagganap ni Dimples sa kanyang role na "inspired" ni Ces Drilon na sa totoong buhay ay nakidnap ng mga Abu Sayyaf?

"Magaling si Dimples. She captured the pain of the mother na hinahanap ko sa ginagawa naming pelikula. She was very motherly sa character nu’ng bata na si Shihab. Gusto kong makapag-uwi siya ng isang best actress award para sa portrayal niyang ito!

"For Raul, he, too, was a revelation because he had to learn how to speak Tausug in the film and he passed it with flying colors. Niloloko nga namin siya na isa na siyang adopted son ng Sulu."

Ibang aktor ang dapat na gumanap sa papel ni Neil Ryan Sese, pero dahil sa hindi ito pumuwede sa schedule ng shooting, si Neil Ryan ang ipinalit kahit mabilisan ang mga pangyayari, kaya ganoon na lamang ang pasasalamat ni Direk Sig sa isa pang underrated ngunit credible actor.

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"Salamat kay Neil Ryan Sese for being a real trouper and saving our shoot last September 19, despite the very, very short notice. Neil is now a certified Tausug," biro pa ni Direk Sig.

Ayon kay Direk, na-miss nito ang paggawa ng pelikula dahil tatlong taon na mula nang magdirek siya ng film.

"My last one was supposed to be three years ago; a movie I didn’t finish shooting titled Ungol. Pagkatapos noon, nag-hibernate ako sa pagsulat ng scripts sa iba’t ibang networks, pati na ang pag-direct ng AVPs.

"Na-test rin ang health condition ko, after coming out of a life-threatening minor stroke exactly a year ago. It somewhat mellowed me down unlike before na very energetic ako. Sa ngayon, mas nag-mellow down ako and I hope it shows in the film, na mas magkaroon ng puso ang film," lahad ni Direk Sig.

SYNOPSIS. Tsardyer is loosely based on an article published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer during the release of Ces Drilon and her crew. The film is about the real-life role of a 10-year old Tausug boy assigned by the Abu Sayyaf group to "charge" the cellphones they use in negotiating for their demands in order to release their abducted prisoners.

In this film, Shihab, the young boy, finds "a spot" in the terrorist group as the one who charges the rebels’ cellphones down the mountains where the nearest house has electricity. It is his job to make it in time to the rebels’ camp before the battery of the next cellphone runs out.

However, things go awry when one of the captives, a female journalist (the character of Dimples Romana), befriends him and gets to earn his trust. Fearing for the life of his newfound friend, Shihab is now caught between his loyalty to his Tausug brothers and the motherly compassion of the journalist.

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He used to wait for the cellphone to be fully charged, but now he heads back to the rebel camp with either a half-charged battery or, later, with just one bar, especially when he overhears that one of the commander’s men has plans of raping then executing the journalist and her companions.

Shihab races not only to save the journalist but to save war from erupting once again in the jungles of Jolo, Sulu. It also features the love of Shibab’s crippled father to him as he tries to look for his son despite his condition. This film will use the local Tausug dialect in most parts of the film.

Ayon pa rin kay Direk Sig, ang newspaper article na tinutukoy niya na nag-inspire sa kanya upang gawin nito ang script ng Tsardyer ay isang istoryang sinulat ni Beverly T. Natividad na pinamagatang No Way to ’Lo-bat’: Kidnappers Used Hostages’ SIM Card na unang na-publish ng naturang pahayagan noong June 20, 2008.

Ano ba ang "message" ng Tsardyer para sa kanyang audience?


"Ang biggest casualty sa anumang giyera ay ang mga inosenteng tao. Sa walang katapusang giyera sa Mindanao, it is always the women, the old, and most especially the children who are going to suffer the brunt of all the chaos. The Tausug children are given a choice early on in their lives to choose a path, a path that will lead them to become warriors and a path that will lead them towards normal citizen life which is to have an education.


"Nakakalungkot dahil karamihan sa mga Tausugs nowadays are choosing the path to war rather than a path to education. Sadly, it is the government that pushes them more to choose the path to war by selling guns to them and making their lives miserable so that they will fight back and believe to claim what is theirs.

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"Sulu is a very beautiful place to live in with its rich culture. But sadly, politics, militarization, and banditry has darkened the future for the young Tausug children. Kidnapping has been the common source of income for them.


"Sabi nga ng isang linya sa pelikula, ’Kidnap for ransom ang sasagip sa ekonomiya ng Pilipinas...’ And as our tagline says, ’Sa giyerang ayaw paawat, hindi puwedeng ma-lowbatt’ or ’In a war that doesn’t want to be stopped, there’s no time for a lowbatt’.


"The road to peace must charge on if we want to save Sulu and its children. I hope that road begins with Tsardyer," pagtatapos ni Direk Sig.

DIRECTOR’S PROFILE. Si Sigfried Barros-Sanchez (kapatid ni Direk Seymour Sanchez) ay nagtapos ng AB Political Science, University of the East-Recto noong 1996. Gumagawa ito ngayon ng sariling pangalan bilang isang filmmaker, ganoon din bilang TV-advertising-music video/ events director, and scriptwriter, at lumalabas rin bilang actor kung minsan.

Ilang film education workshops ang kanyang in-attend-an, kabilang na ang 11th Ricky Lee Scriptwriting Workshop noong (1998) by Ricky Lee; Underwater Cinematography Workshop (1998) by Professor: Dir. Marissa Florendo; Filipino Film Directing Workshop (1998)by Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya and Director Manolo Abaya; Reality Shots Cinematography Workshop (1999) by Jorg Schmidt-Reitwein at German cinematographer of Werner Herzog, among others.

Taong 1999 nang magsimula siyang magtrabaho sa mainstream cinema sa Viva Films. Sumunod ditto ay iba’t ibang trabaho na ang kanyang ginawa: bilang aktor sa Dos Ekis ng Viva (2001), screenwriter and actor sa Kilabot at Kembot ng Imus Productions (2002), at script reader muli ng Seiko Films noong 2003.

Year 2003 rin nang sinulat niya ang scripts ng Bertud Ng Putik ng Imus Productions at Prosti starring Aubrey Miles mula sa Regal Entertaiment. Taong 2005, balik-acting siya sa Boso ni Katya Santos mula sa Viva Films.

Ngunit tila mas nahanap ni Direk Sig ang kanyang sarili sa mundo ng local independent cinema--bilang aktor, screenwriter, o director.

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As actor, taong 2004 nang lumabas siya sa mga pelikulang Barong Brothers, Sa Aking Pagkakagising Mula Sa Kamulatan, ’Nak Ng!, at ASTIGmatism.

Taong 2005 naman nang nakasama siya sa cast ng Anak Ng Tinapa (Cinema One Originals), Isnats at Baryoke (both in Cinemalaya), pero bilang director na sa Lasponggols, sa Cinemalaya 2005 pa rin. That same year ay balik-screenwriter siya ng peliulang Dilim na entry naman sa Cinemanila International Film Festival; at bilang director rin ng Ang Anak Ni Brocka na entry naman niya sa Cinema One Originals.

Bilang Screenwriter ng short films, ginawa rin niya ang: Shorts (2008), directed by Seymour Sanchez na nagwaging 3rd placer sa 2008 PBO Digitales at ang Lababo (2006), directed by Seymour Sanchez na nanalong 1st placer sa 2007 PBO Digitales.

Naging aktor rin siya sa Tribu (best film ng Cinemalaya 2007), Carnivore (Cinemanila 2008).

As a Director, ginawa niya ang Aksyon Star sa Imahe-Nasyon: 20 Short Films by 20 Indie Directors about 20 Years After EDSA 1 (2006, Digital Viva) na naging official entry sa 2007 Singapore Film Festival. Dinirek niya rin ang Ungol (2007) from Celestial Digi-Films; Dukot and Karne short films ng RIGHTS: Short Films on Enforced Disappearances (2007) sa Free Jonas Burgos Movement.

Isa sa mga most recent niyang ginawa bilang director ay ang Katayan (Slaughterhouse), isang Independent Short Film Entry sa 2008 Chicago Fil-Am Film Festival, pati na sa 2008 LA Independent Fil-Am Festival.

Sa mundo naman ng local television, "nakaikot" na si Direk Sig sa iba’t ibang trabaho--way back in 2001--mula sa pagiging aktor, guest-panelist, segment producer, assistant director, scriptwriter, and director ng mga palabas sa ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Channel V Philippines, Solar Sports, etc.

Ilan sa mga notable works na ginawa ni Direk Sig on TV ay bilang scriptwriter ng Blind Item ng ABC-5 hosted by John Lapus (2005-2006); bilang scriptwriter-director ng Persona ng Cinema One (2005-2006); as segment producer-assistant director ng You And Me Against The World ni Gretchen Barretto sa ABC-5 (2008). Nagdirek rin siya ng ilang episodes ng Case Unclosed ng GMA-7.

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As scriptwriter, hataw rin sa TV si Direk Sig. Siya ang may likha ng scripts ng ilang ABS-CBN shows like Your Song Presents: Boystown (Gerald Anderson, etc.), Katorse (Erich Gonzales), Your Song Presents: Isla/ Gimik 2010/ Maling Akala, at ang upcoming teleseryeng Green Rose (Anne Curtis, Jericho Rosales, Alessandra de Rossi). Siya rin ang director-scriptwriter ng I-Witness presents Bilog Ang Bola ng Kapuso ngayong 2010.

Nakapagsulat at nakapagdirek na rin siya ng maraming TV commercials, music videos, and various events mula 2003.

PRODUCTION CREW. Ang production staff ng Tsardyer ay ang mga sumusunod:

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Michael "Chu" Villar
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Malayang Filipino Javier (first DOP work for a full-length film but he has done a lot of indie short films including Pam Miras’ winning short entry at Cinemalaya 2010)

PRODUCTION MANAGER: Karr Cotamora (PM ng Paano Ko Sasabihin; Production Coordinator for ABS-CBN’s Kulilits)
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Armi Rae Cacanindin and Alf Alacapa;
ART DIRECTOR: Bambi Orenia

SCRIPT CONTINUITY: Renz Estacio

ASSISTANT PRODUCTION MANAGER: Michelle Ngu

2nd CAMERAMAN: Glenn Ternal
3RD CAMERAMAN: Joel Angeles


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