Dimples Romana and Ina Feleo lead the cast of Senior Year


Dimples Romana (in photo) is one of the stars of the indie film titled Senior Year. Directed by Jerrold Tarog, this film tackles intertwining lives of ten high school students.


Last year sa Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival (2009), isa sa mga full length films na naging critically-acclaimed ay ang Mangatyanan ni Director Jerrold Tarog, na unang lumikha ng "ingay" sa award-winning first indie film nitong Confessional (2007).

Hindi lamang magaling na indie filmmaker si Direk Jerrold, kundi isa ring mahusay na film editor ng ilang mga pelikula of recent years. Siya rin ang editor, writer, director, co-producer, musical scorer, at sound engineer ng mga sariling films niya.

Sa ngayon ay may bagong pelikulang ipinagmamalaki si Direk Jerrold, ang Senior Year na nasa post-production stage na’t inaayos na lamang ang premiere night showing nito.

Ayon sa baguhan ngunit mahusay na direktor, ang Senior Year ay tungkol sa buhay ng mga estudyante, kanilang pamilya, at mga guro sa isang paaralan. Sa Mangatyanan, co-producer niya si Mr. Franco Alido, at pagkatapos nga nito’y naisipan ni Direk Jerrold na muli silang magkatrabaho sa isang pelikula.

Ano ang inspirasyon niya para sa pelikulang Senior Year?

"After Mangatyanan, naisip kong gumawa uli ng pelikula na makakatrabaho ko si Franco, ang aking co-producer doon. Ang family niya kasi ay nagpapatakbo ng Elizabeth Seton School in Las Piñas.

"Dahil doon, nag-propose ako na gumawa kami ng isang high school film na gagamit ng actual kids from the school. He agreed to produce it himself," simulang kuwento ni Direk Jerrold sa panayam sa kanya ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP).


"From more than 200 students, na-narrow down ’yun to 10. Hanggang sa mga dalawang buwan ako nag-hold ng acting workshops with the kids, at dahil doon, nakilala ko ang kanilang individual personalities.

"Sa workshops na ’yun, nag-construct ako ng script with characters na based sa kanilang personalities kahit na ang mga kuwentong ito ay hindi nangangahulugang nagre-reflect ng kanilang mga buhay."

Ayon kay Direk Jerrold, ang prosesong ito ay partly inspired ng British filmmaker na si Mike Leigh.

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"Si Director Mike Leigh, nagho-hold ng ilang buwang improvisation workshops sa actors bago sumulat ng kanyang screenplay. It’s also inspired by the 2008 French film The Class, kunsaan nag-spend ang director ng more than a year with students mula sa isang high school at nag-shooting ng movie using the students as actors."

So, may pagkakatulad ba ang Senior Year sa Cannes award-winning film na The Class?


"The Class is a serious look at the French school system, pero ang Senior Year naman ay isang lighthearted view ng middle-class high school experience.

"Ang pagkakalahad ng kuwento ay may flashback structure. Kaya may mga adult na sa cast (professional actors) na nagre-reminisce sa kanilang senior year (played by actual students)," sabi ni Direk Jerrold.

CAST. Ang adult cast ay binubuo nina RJ Ledesma, Ina Feleo, Arnold Reyes, at Dimples Romana in a special role. May cameo role rin si Kalila Aguilos. Gumaganap naming high school teachers sina Che Ramos (bida niya sa Mangatyanan), LJ Moreno, at Ramon Bautista.

Ang high school students ay sina Aaron Balana, Celina Peñaflorida, Rossanne de Boda, Eric Marquez, Nikita Conwi, Mary Lojo, Daniel Lumain, Francez Bunda, Sheila Bulanhagui, at child actor Daniel Medrana.

Sa grupo ng sampu, si Daniel lamang ang professional actor, dahil ang original student ay nag-back out at the last minute. Daniel played Felix Roco’s brother sa critically-acclaimed film Engkwentro ni Pepe Diokno.

SYNOPSIS. Senior Year is a glimpse into the lives of ten students at St. Frederick’s Academy as they struggle through the final months before graduation. Hearts are broken and healed, friendships are formed and lost.

Childish ways are thrown out in exchange for seeds of maturity. Is this the beginning of so-called adulthood or the start of a bumpy ride towards the crazy mess of real life?

Kumusta naman ang production o shooting niya ng kanyang latest film?

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"Eleven days namin ginawa ang buong movie. Also, ’yung short film kong Faculty (naitanghal sa Ambisyon 2010 and Cinemalaya Shorts 2010) is a prequel to Senior Year.

"’Yung college teacher played by Che Ramos sa Faculty moves on to teach high school dito sa Senior Year."

Ano ba ang mensaheng gusto niyang iparating sa kanyang audience with his new movie?

"Senior Year is many things at once. It’s a wide and lighthearted look at the middle-class high school experience. Tungkol rin ito sa pag-move on from childhood to the very early stages of maturity.

"Tungkol rin ito sa grupo ng mga kabataan kinikilala ang kanilang mga sarili, sa isang bansang walang tunay na identity. Tungkol rin ito sa mga maliliit na changes sa sarili, na magli-lead to bigger things later sa kanilang mga buhay.

"Finally, it’s about how much people change and do NOT change over the years. "

Ang production crew nito ay pareho ng sa Mangatyanan: Director of Photography si Mackie Galvez, Production Designer si Benjamin Padero, Assistant Director si Bianca Balbuena, Sound Recordist si Nicholas Varela.

"Pero tulad ng award-winning film niyang Confessional (Cinema One Originals 2007) at Mangatyanan (Cinemalaya 2009), I wrote the script, edited the film, did the musical score and sound design," sabi ni Direk Jerrold.

May ilang magagandang kanta rin daw sa pelikula mula sa magaling na musician na si Johnoy Danao.

Samantala, tulad ng iilang indie filmmakers, matagumpay na nag-cross over from indie to mainstream cinema si Direk Jerrold, hindi tulad ng iba na "napako" na sa indie films at hindi na nabigyan ng break sa mainstream movies (na mas may malawak na audience pa rin).

Pinagkatiwalaan siya nina Mother Lily Monteverde at anak nitong si Ms Roselle Monteverde-Teo upang i-direk ang "Funeraria" episode ng Shake Rattle and Roll 12.

Ang annual horror flick na ito mula sa Regal Entertainment ay para sa Metro Manila Film Festival Philippines ngayong December 25, 2010. Tampok sa "Funeraria" sina Carla Abellana, Sid Lucero, Ciara Sotto, at Mart Escudero.

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Ang iba pang episodes ng SRR 12 ay ang Manika with Shaina Magdayao at Ricky Davao, directed by Zoren Legaspi; at ang Isla Engkanto with Andi Eigenmann at Rayver Cruz, directed by Topel Lee (na siya ring nagdirek ng White House).


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