Glaiza de Castro and Carlo Aquino portray funeral videography interns in I-Libings


In I-Libings, Carlo Aquino and Glaiza de Castro portray student interns learning how to work for a high-tech funeral parlor.


Isa si Glaiza de Castro sa mga local young actresses ang masasabing laging maaasahan pagdating sa mahusay na pagganap. Kung kaya’t hindi lamang sa telebsiyon siya visible, tulad ng pagkakasama niya sa epicserye ng GMA-7 na Amaya kundi pati na sa pelikula, lalo na sa indie cinema.

Taong 2007, nakuha ni Glaiza ang isa sa biggest breaks niya sa pelikula nang pagkatiwalaan siya ng producer ng Still Life upang magbida sa nasabing indie film na official entry sa Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival that year, directed by Katski Flores.

Sa Still Life, hindi lamang sa Cinemalaya 2007 awards night na-nominate si Glaiza bilang Best Actress, kundi pati sa prestihiyosong Gawad Urian noong sumunod na taon, 2008, kunsaan co-nominees ni Glaiza sina Cherry Pie Picache (Foster Child), Lorna Tolentino (Katas ng Saudi), Judy Ann Santos (Sakal Sakali Saklolo), at Ina Feleo (Endo).

Two years later, 2009, nagbalik-Cinemalaya si Glaiza bilang female lead naman sa Astig kunsaan nakasama niya sina Dennis Trillo, Sid Lucero, Edgar Allan Guzman, and Arnold Reyes.

Call it coincidence, pero another two years have passed, ngayong 2011 ay muling nagbabalik-Cinemalaya ang contract artist na ito ng DMV Entertainment ni Manny Valera.

Bidang muli si Glaiza sa I-Libings, isa sa official entries ng Cinemalaya 2011, sa new breed section o mga pelikula mula sa mga baguhang filmmakers.

Ang I-Libings ay isang coming of age story tungkol sa isang funeral videography intern--played by Glaiza--at ang kanyang journey sa mga lessons at mga katotohanan o realizations ng buhay at kamatayan.

Nakapayam ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) si Direk Rommel Sales, writer-director ng I-Libings.

Ano nga ba ang "history" ng pagkakabuo ng I-Libings bago inilahok ni Direk Rommel ang kanyang script para sa Cinemalaya 2011?

"Noong January 2010, isang friend ko ang nagtanong sa akin kung gusto ko raw pumasok sa business ng e-libings (funeral videography).

"Sabi niya, easy money daw ito, maliit na capital lang ang kailangan, at majority ng clients ay OFWs. I got curious about the whole thing as a business.

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"July 2010, right after ko mag-workshop under Bing Lao, I was playing with the idea of writing a screenplay tungkol sa isang college student who was having trouble getting into an internship.

"Then, naisip ko, why not the e-libings? Yung character kasi ni Isabel [main character in the story] is roughly based on the life of a friend of mine. So, doon nagsimula ang lahat," kuwento ni Direk Rommel na ang unang directorial job ay ang Slow Fade (2010) starring Diether Ocampo and Precious Lara Quigaman.

Bakit napalitan ang original title na E-Libings to I-Libings?

"We are changing the title because St. Peter’s Chaapel owns the E-libing title and hindi nila kami binigyan ng permission para gamitin ito.

"Also, mas nagustuhan rin namin ang I-Libings because it feels a bit more like this generation," sabi ng first time Cinemalaya filmmaker, pero naging director of photography na ng dalawang past Cinemalaya films, namely Ranchero(2008) at ang The Leaving (2010).

CAST OF I-LIBINGS. Bukod sa lead star ng I-Libings na si Glaiza de Castro, kasama rin sa cast sina Carlo Aquino bilang JC, Alchris Galura (na real life brother of Glaiza) as Harold na videographer rin at isa ring batang ama; Marc Abaya as Isabel’s half brother, Rez Cortez bilang ama ni Isabel, Louela de Cordova as Isabel’s mom.

Kasama rin sa cast sina Earl Ignacio, Osan Reodica, Kent Darunday, Juan Manuel Severo, G.A. Villafuerte.

Anong masasabi ni Direk Rommel sa bida niyang si Glaiza?

"I’ve always had her in my mind as Isabel," pag-amin ni Direk Rommel. "Lahat kami sa production, we all feel that she is perfect for the role. She has blown us all away with her performance, ang galing niya!

"Sa simula, dahil sa schedule conflicts, kailangan naming palitan ang ilan sa cast.

"But the cast we have has also been amazing. Iba talaga ang mga artista ’pag indie film ang ginagawa. Nakikita mo sa kanila yung passion, lalo na at alam mong they are not getting much payment from this project.

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"It’s amazing how they all are asking and really wanting to get into the psychology of the characters."

SYNOPSIS. "Dramedy" ang genre ng pelikula, ayon pa rin kay Direk Rommel. Narito ang synopsis ng I-Libings:

Due to her family situation, Isabel is rather cynical and skeptical of everything that comes her way. When she enters the I-Libings for her required college OJT, she sees the i-libing as a company whose only purpose is to make a profit from those who lost a loved one.

Later as she accumulates her required hours, she realizes that the company is not just a place where videographers make money out of other peoples misfortunes but is a place where the dead and the grieving receive special attention.

In the end when Isabel has to face a fate similar to the clients she served at the I-Libings, she would realize that her internship might have been just 200 hours, but the lessons that the I-Libings left her would last a lifetime.

Ano’ng masasabi niya sa kabuuang experience niya while shooting the film?

"The film feels a bit more personal and intimate. Maliit na pelikula lang ito, pero maraming tao ang makaka-relate dito.

"Pakiramdam naming, nag-i-introduce kami ng new voice sa paraan ng pagbu-view ng mga tao sa mga funerals and other rituals na katulad nito.

"Karamihan ng mga equipment at locations na ginamit dito ay mga kaibigan ang may ari. So, that’s the true indie spirit," pahayag ni Direk Rommel.

PRODUCTION STAFF.

Director/ DOP/ Screenplay: Rommel Sales

Assistant Directors: Michael Cardoz, Marjorie Darunday

Line Producer: Daphne Chu

Creative Producer: Joe Alandy

Co-Producer: Richard Reyes

Production Designer: Amanda Nava

Sound Recordist: Mark Locsin

Continuity: Sheen Seckts

Talent Coordinator: Jamieson Lee

Production Assistants: Chris Fabros, Valkent Darunday

DIRECTOR’S PROFILE.

Rommel Sales graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor’s degree on Film and Audio-Visual Communication. In 2007, Sales attended the Berlinale Talent Campus in Germany, which opened many opportunities for his personal and artistic growth as a promising director and cinematographer.

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His recent lauded works in film include The Leaving, a 2010 Cinemalaya finalist, for which he won best cinematography.

Squatters in Mars, a sci-fi short film about the future of the Philippines won third place at the Graphic Fiction Awards held at Fully Booked.

Slow Fade, his first feature, was a product of the 2009 PLDT-SMART Foundation and Cinemabuhay film grant competition in which he bested several veteran directors for the prize. It was recently was chosen as among the five indie films to participate in the MMFF 2010.

Txt B4 Marriage, a documentary finalist to the 2008 Dekada Cinemanila International Film Festival. Ranchero, a feature film was screened in Cinemalaya 2009 and adjudged as the official selection for the Paris Cinema International Film Festival; and Paano Kaya Managinip Ang Taong Grasa, an official short film entry to the SP*T Film Festival in New York, 2003.

Nakagawa na rin si Direk Rommel Sales ng maraming projects sa iba’t ibang production outfits, TV stations, pati na ang government and non-government organizations in the Philippines.

Humigit-kumulang ay nakagawa na rin siya ng isaang daang music videos. Karamihan sa kanyang mga likha ay nanalo na ng maraming iba’t ibang awards sa MTV Philippines’ music video awards.

"I believe that film should always try so speak of the realities in life whether fictional or documentary. Film is life presented with cinematography," sabi ni Direk Rommel.

Anong mensahe niya sa kanyang audience na manonood ng I-Libings?

"I cannot answer this muna. I think the viewers would get it when they watch the film," pagtatapos niya.

Kabilang ang I-Libings sa siyam na full length film entries sa 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2011 (New Breed Category) na gaganapin sa July 15-24 sa Cultural Center of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City.


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