Short film TheRapist stars Cherie Gil and Marco Morales


PHOTO CAPTION: (L-R) Marco Morales, Cherie Gil and TheRapist director Diane Ventura

Si Diane Ventura ang isa sa mga bagong filmmakers na sumusubok ng kanyang kapalaran sa mundo ng digital independent cinema, sa pamamagitan ng pagsulat at pagdirek niya ng first short film niya titled TheRapist.

Ipinalabas ito noong November 13, 11:45PM sa short films' exhibition category sa na 13th Cinemanila International Film Festival 2011 sa Market Market Cinema, Global City, Taguig.

Kung pamilyar ang kanyang pangalan sa showbiz circle, ito ay dahil si Diane ay siyang business manager at former wife ni Ely Buendia. Si Diane rin ang nagdirek ng ilang music video nito, ganoon din ng grupong Pupil, etc.


CAST OF THERAPIST. Bida ng pelikula ang seasoned and credible actress na si Cherie Gil at ang isang relatively new in the movie industry (mga 2-3 years pa lang) na si Marco Morales, na nagsimula sa paggawa ng sexy movies.

Anu-ano ang mga characters nila sa story?

"The role of Marco is Alex, siya yung patient, siya yung sina-psycho-analyze ng psychiatrist na si Cherie. The whole thing is basically about psycho-analization sa patient niya.

"Marco's character is accused of rape, pinadala siya sa psychiatrist. Alam mo yung mga criminals brought to psychiatrists for psychiatric evaluation?

"Ganoon ang nangyari sa kanya dito.

"Habang sinusulat ko ang script, may mga tao na ako in mind, like si Cherie. Si Marco, nagkataon na I met him from going out. He just kindda fit the role, na parang mukhang mabait pero parang questionable."

Kumusta naman na katrabaho si Marco?

"Sobrang okay siya. Parang may depth kasi sa kanya, hindi siya one-dimensional actor siya."

Hindi siya nag-isip na mas popular or mas bankable actor ang kunin niya for the male lead niya? Hindi ba mahalaga sa kanya ang bankability ng isang actor?

"Para sa akin, I was confident enough in him and I trusted my actor to be able to portray the role well. And he really did. I mean, opposite Cherie Gil.

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"Kasi, Cherie 'yan, e! Pero nakasabay siya. Opposite Cherie, but still he made an impact."

Wala siyang background of Marco na gumagawa ito ng sexy movies in the past?

"Wala masyado, hindi pa ako nakapanood ng previous movies niya. Nakilala ko siya as a friend. Nakita ko naman na kaya naman niya... Pina-try ko siya sa reading of script.

"Wala nang audtition talaga. Usually, when I think of something, yun na 'yon. Like kay Cherie, noong ginagawa ko ito, there's no one in my mind to get but her. There's no one else that can give justice to the role other than Cherie Gil, and if I don't get her, I don't wanna even do the film.

"And luckily, when I sent her the script, she didn't know who wrote it, wala siyang idea. Pero when she read it, sabi niya, 'I'll do it!' She told me that and I was super flattered."

Paano ang naging proseso ng pagkuha niya sa isang Cherie Gil?

"I asked my producer to look for her and they were able to find her manager, June Rufino, pinadala sa kanya ang script, and basically, that's it!

"What we needed to do was sent the script and that's it. The good thing with Cherie, I don't think she would accept a project unless talagang gusto niyang gawin ang project.

"Fortunately, she liked the script and sabi niya, 'I'll do it', without knowing 'yung mga details like kung ano ang background ko... Artist talaga siya!"

Ano'ng first impression niya kay Cherie?

"She was exactly how I imagined her to be, larger than life! It's her! Like she owns the room; she goes inside the room, she owns it. Her personality, parang parehong-pareho doon sa naiisip kong character.

"Alam ko na talagang kaya niya. With minimal directing, alam na niya yun kung papaano. She was very inquisitive and curious about the character. She was trying to characterize her role and bring it out in the table what I really wanted.

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"I really appreciated that. She put a lot of passion and energy into this and I ended up learning a lot from her! She had her own interpretation of her character na sobrang deep na hindi ko naisip while I was writing it."

Ayon pa rink ay Diane, very collaborative sila ni Cherie at hindi raw ito umasa sa director sa kung anong gustong atake ang gusto nitong ipagawa sa artista.

"She went out for herself, she's very respectful enough to tell me her visualization at tinatanong niya ako kung tama daw ang interpretation, intention, and execution niya.

"Cherie is an artist in its truest sense!"

One shooting day lang ang TheRapist, dalawang digital camera ang ginamit niya: 5D at 7D Canon. Pero mabilis nga lang ang shooting dahil sa magaling nilang collaboration ng kanyang mga artista.

BEING A FILM PRODUCER. Bilang isang backgrounder kay Diane Ventura, napag-alaman ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) na pabalik-balik ng Amerika si Diane, dahil nandoon na ang kanyang family and relatives.

"In 2009, I went to the US to study intensive subject or course on film. Then, I came back here," simula ni Diane.

Pangarap ba niya talagang mag-produce at mag-direk ng pelikula mula noon?

"It's a passion. It's always been a dream of mine [to produce and direct films]. I actually wanted to parang infiltrate the industry there [USA]. I don't care for whatever like if I have to start again...

"Pero I have responsibilities and obligations here so I needed to go back. I needed to take care of some business here, pero now, it's all being taken care of, kaya I'm gonna go back."

Nakapag-launch na rin siya ng sarili niyang production company, ang DVENT Productions ("D.V." na initials ng pangalan niya at ng "EN" stands for "Entertainment").

Ano ang goal ng production company niyang ito?

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"To produce films, music videos, concerts... The last concert na na-produce naming was 'yung kay XL concert ni Ely [Buenda] sa Republiq sa Resorts World Manila."

Bago natayo ang kanyang production, ilang taon ring naging "freelancer" si Diane.

"Yeah, medyo may pagka-independent. Walang office... Rockstar talaga!" tawa niya.

ON ELY BUENDIA. As for Ely, mabuti at naging matibay ang foundation nila bilang talent and manager, dahil hindi kumuha si Ely ng ibang manager after their "falling out"?

"Falling out, no. Ever since naman, kahit na we're not together, we always maintain a good, civil, and professional relationship, kasi we both decided that it's in the best interest of our son [named Eon]. In the best interest for both of us.

"And you know, we've gone through so much na and so, basically, the trust has been established. Mahirap nang mawala yun."

Kung noong mga panahong yun ay nag-lie low nang kaunti si Ely sa career nito, pero ngayon ay super busy ito.

"Siguro, noong time na nag-lie low siya was yung time ng break up, kasi, we were trying to start from scratch talaga. So, that time, people thought na doon kami nag-lie low, pero actually, that was the time that we worked the hardest, kasi nga, we're trying our way to go to the top.

"Pero now na na-establish na uli, hindi na kailangang ganoon 'kadugo' kaya I'm able to go out of the country, come back, go out...

"Kasi, wala nang problem, sobrang settled na. I could accomplish things from anywhere."

May iba pang mina-manage si Diane, tulad ng sister ni Ely--si Domino, isang solo artist.

"She's almost finished with her first solo album. For now, it's under Sony Music."

Ano'ng bago kay Ely?

"We just released the second single [of his latest album] entitled '20-20.' It topped sa music channels like weeks, number one siya, 'tsaka sa radio.

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"Ito 'yung tinigil nila ang flow ng mga kotse sa EDSA, for this particular video lang. Doon ang shooting, talagang walang kotse noong mag-shoot kami doon.

"Siyempre, with the cooperation yun of MMDA," kuwento ni Diane na co-manager rin ng bandang Pupil, along with Day Cabuhat.

In good terms naman si Ely at ang Pupil? Hindi kasi maiiwasan ang comparison and competition sa mundo ng music industry. Wala bang naging isyu sa mga ito?

"Wala, bakit naman magkakaroon? All of the members naman are established in their own ways.

"Basically, wala silang ego, they have their utmost respect with each other. So, it's more of brotherhood and camaraderie lang talaga, and love for music that put them together."

Six months siyang nag-aral ng nasabing kurso sa Amerika, at isa nga sa mga goal niya ay "learning" at ayon sa kanya, ia-apply niya ang kanyang mga natutunan dito man sa bansa o sa Amerika, or both.

Habang nag-aaral siya sa U.S., ano'ng mga opportunities na nangyari sa buhay niya doon o hanggang saan ang inabot niya?

"I wasn't able to explore, kasi, I had to go back here. Pero now, sa pagbalik ko, I wanted to stay there longer, I wanted to do production work, kahit na mag-intern muna ako sa isang production company na established na. I just want to experience. Hindi ko talaga habol ang anything else but the experience."

Pero noong bago siya umuwi uli sa Pinas, naging ready na ba siyang harapin ang pangarap niyang magdirek ng pelikula sa bansa - sa panahong "napapansin" na ang local indie films?

Ano ang nag-trigger sa kanya upang pasukan ang larangan ng pagdidirek?

"I've always been fascinated with films," say niya. "Passion ko 'yan and first love ko talaga ay films, before music.

"Ang music, parang napasukan ko lang by chance, dahil nga kay Ely. Pero noon pa, I've always wanted to be involved with filmmaking and film production.

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"Pero hindi siya business for me. Hindi siya business na papasok ako dito dahil maraming pera dito. Passion lang talaga.

"If I make money out of it, wow, bonus na lang. Pero just the fact that I'm doing something I love, that's something na.

"Movie fan kasi talaga ako. Mahilig talaga ako manood ng pelikula. I really appreciate the process, the process of creating something."

Sino-sino ang mga paborito niyang film directors?

"Favorites ko ay 'yung mga standard na favorites rin ng mga tao eh, kasi, magagaling naman talaga sila to begin with... Si Spielberg, si Kurosawa, si Hitchcock..."

Magkaiba ang "mundo" ng musika at pelikula. Since nagsisimula pa lang siya, "nanganganay" ba siya sa paggawa ng film sa bansa? Paano siya nagsimula sa larangang ito?

"Well, I knew what I wanted to get into. I knew business--in general. Pero I think it really helped me launched [the production company] or get into it dahil I really studied.

"Kasi, sa pinag-aralan ko sa New York, very practical and hands on [ang turo doon], so basically, I have the courage talaga to go through with it. Dito kasi, minsan, medyo theoretical.

"Pero doon, ibibigay talaga sa 'yo ang equipment, e. Tapos talagang dapat gawin mo. You have to come up with something by the end.

"Dito kasi, puro theories, pero I'm sure if we have the funds, kaya din natin. Yun lang ang naging problem. Marami kasing magagaling at matatalino dito [sa Pilipinas], e, pero kulang lang talaga sa funding and not blessed to go out of the country to study.

"So, siguro, lahat ng natutunan ko doon, puwede ko magamit dito."

Paano nag-start ang production niya? Nakaplano ba ito na isang indie short film ang first project niya?

"Hindi. Siguro, I wanted my first project, if ever, to be something of my own creation. 'Yung ako ang total control of everything...

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"Kasi mahirap for your first project to get into if you get a partner, kasi, hindi naman sa baka hindi mo makasundo, kaya lang, parang may conflict sa ideas, concept, and decision making.

"Pero I would dabble before sa music video directing and stuff, pero iba talaga 'pag film. Tapos, you're handling top-rated actors."



CONCEPTUALIZING HER SHORT FILM. Ano ang "history" ng conceptualization ng TheRapist? "Therapist" ang unang basa sa title ng pelikula, pero sa film credits daw ay ganoon ang unang lalabas, as "Therapist", pero mag-iiba ang kulay ng word na "rapist", kaya ang magiging basa na ay "The Rapist."

"Interesting and fascinating sa akin ang topic ng psychology. Ng therapist. Or people who study how other people behave or think.

"Para sa akin, medyo intrusive siya, 'di ba? You get into the mind of someone... Sa film, kinompara ko siya sa rape, pero within the physical sense... Parang getting into the mind of somebody, parang mind fucking."

Anong genre ng movies ang gusto niyang gawin?

"For now, walang particular genre... I don't know; I don't actually think about doing this kinds of movies. Parang at a certain point, it just gets to you. Nai-inspire ka lang. And then, you just start writing.

"Pero you don't actually think so hard about it. So, basically, nag-flow siya naturally. Lumabas lang 'yung product na 'yun. Hindi masyado napag-isipan, although parati kong napag-uusapan."

Bilang first timer, paano nabuo ang script, meron ba siyang co-writer - at gagawin niya ang isang bagay na bago sa kanya?

"Hindi, kasi it came out naturally pa rin, e. Lumabas lang talaga when I was thinking. Natapos ko ang script ng movie in one day.

"Kasi, when I'm writing a script, hindi ako 'yung organized person na one week ginagawa or something, kundi dire-diretso siya. Hanaggang sa natapos na ito. Basically, the whole story was finished by the time na it was put out there on paper.

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Matagal na ba ang concept ng pelikula sa utak niya at ngayon niya lang naisakatuparang gawin in reality?

"Before I left for New York, parang naisip ko na ito. I'm always at awe sa concept of rape. Parang may mga something about it... 'Yung mga rape na hindi masyado sobrang black and white.

"One of the hardest things to prove kasi is rape. So, in-explore ko ang concept na 'yun; pinapa-question ko lang ang gumawa noon..."

So, in a nutshell, ano ba ang kuwento ng TheRapist?

"Natatakot kasi ako dahil baka pag nagsabi ako, makuwento ko na lahat. Kailangan talagang mapanood kasi, mahirap talaga siyang i-explain. Medyo very complex kasi 'yung material, e.

"Pero, I guess, to sum it up... Hindi na lang 'yung story, siguro, what was my intention na lang when I did this."

So ano nga ba ang intention niya sa paggawa ng first short film niyang ito?

"Baka marami ang mag-react after ng film, pero actually, TheRapist is about female empowerment. And about not allowing yourself to be put in a position where you shouldn't be...

"Na merong certain things na you're actually in control of the situation, you have the power in it. It's up to you if you want to use that power to your advantage or disadvantage.

"'Yung intention is like, parang I'm saying na... 'whatever is dictated by society, or whatever is generally accepted by the public or the society is NOT always right naman.' At the end of the day, ikaw ang nagdi-dictate kung ano ang tama.

"Morality is subjective, kumbaga.

"It doesn't mean na a lot of people think it's right, eh tama na [ang isang bagay o katwiran]. Mangingibabaw pa rin ang choice ng tao, not just about women, or about sex, parang generally speaking lang.

"Hindi lahat ng pinaniniwalaan ng lahat o ng nakakarami sa society, e, yun na yung truth."

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DREAM CAST. Sino sa local actors natin ang gusto niyang mai-direk sa pelikula?

"Gusto kong maka-discover ng bago," aniya. "Magandang sa movies magsimula ang isang artista, and not sa TV, parang dati, 'di ba?"

"Ang gusto ko rin sanang ma-achieve sa Philippine cinema is mabago naman yung mga napapanood nating Pinoy movies na masyado nang formulaic. Walang nagte-take ng risk. Naa-under estimate yung masses na, 'Okey, eto lang ang puwede ninyong panoorin.'

"Parang may power ang tao to dictate na maglabas naman ng mga magagandang pelikula. Sana, mag-take ng risk kahit na kaunti lang...

"Kahit na indie films ang mga ito, sana, eventually, ay ma-appreciate ito ng masses, ng mas maraming tao.

"Pero ako, 'yung pagpili ko to go indie right now, e, intentional siya. Gusto ko talaga is to gain street credibility, ayoko 'yung basta-basta lang ang project," pagtatapos ni Diane Ventura.


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