Jerrold Tarog is back to directing an indie feature titled Sana Dati. This film is one of the entries competing in the 9th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival that will take place in July 2013.
An official entry for the Directors Showcase category, Sana Dati is topbilled by Lovi Poe, Paulo Avelino, TJ Trinidad, and Benjamin Alves. The three male leads play the love interests of Lovi's character.
Among the supporting cast are veteran actors Chinggoy Alonzo, Noni Buencamino, Carla Martinez, Liesl Batucan, Nico Antonio, and newcomers Gie Canlas and Ria Garcia.
Here's the synopsis of Sana Dati:
Sana Dati by Jerrold Tarog is a story about Andrea Gonzaga (Lovi Poe) who has accepted her fate by agreeing to marry a man she does not love. This would be rich businessman and former politician Robert Naval (TJ Trinidad). But a few hours before Andrea's wedding, a videographer named Dennis (Paulo Avelino) arrives and strangely reminds Andrea of the one person she truly loved but nobody in her family knows about—a man named Andrew Cesario (Benjamin Alves).
Sana Dati is the third part of Jerrold Tarog's "Camera Trilogy" after Cinema One Originals’ Confessional (2007) and Cinemalaya’s Mangatyanan (2009).
The last time Jerrold Tarog joined Cinemalaya was in 2009, with Mangatyanan, his second film (after debuting as filmmaker in a Cinema One Originals Filmfest 2007 big winner, Confessional).
Four years and six feature films later, two of which were episodes in the succeeding Shake, Rattle & Roll franchise, "Punerarya" of SR & R XII (2010), and "Parola" of SR&R XIII (2011); plus Aswang (2011), a feature-length horror-drama, and an indie feature, Senior Year (2010), Jerrold is back to Cinemalaya.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to interview Jerrold Tarog through email regarding his forthcoming Cinemalaya entry, Sana Dati:
PEP : Sana Dati is a romance-drama. You said it's the last of the "camera trilogy," after Confessional and Mangatyanan ( The Blood Trail ).
JERROLD TAROG : Yes.
PEP: How different will Sana Dati be from the two earlier films, sa pagtuon nito ng kahalagahan sa kamera bilang "tool" o kasangkapan, na nag-uugnay sa mga tauhan at sa mismong kuwento?
JERROLD : I'd like to leave it to the audience to come up with their own interpretation.
But, of course, the film is consistent with the earlier two films in the sense that they're variations on the interplay of lies and truths, as revealed or hidden by the lead character's camera, whether it's personal (Sana Dati), cultural (Mangatyanan), or socio-political (Confessional).
PEP : As a romantic drama, does the film follow a certain "formula" na mapapagkamalan ding "mainstream" ang approach?
JERROLD : Wala naman akong sinunod na formula pero sadyang mas accessible siya kung ikukumpara sa naunang dalawang films ng trilogy. May mga dramatic elements na pamilyar pero may hindi din gaanong pamilyar.
PEP : Ano ang kaibhan nito sa karaniwang romance-drama films? Wala bang comedic "sidekick" ang bidang lalake? O kaibigan ng babae na magkakaroon din ng affair sa boyfriend niya? How "unconventional" will it be?
JERROLD : I think this has been partly answered in the previous question. Hindi naman ako nagsusulat na ang intention ay maging unconventional.
Usually hinahayaan ko lang maging "tao" yung mga characters at gumalaw sa loob ng kuwento base sa ugali nila.
PEP : Based on the synopsis, which tells the story of a young woman on her wedding day, there seems to be a "mystery" as it also narrates how the woman's encounter with a young man, who plays the videographer, would relive past memories of a past love. Parang "time travel" ba ang idea, na may reincarnation or something?
JERROLD : The story happens in a span of a few hours, during the female lead's wedding. May mga flashback lang naka-intercut sa wedding.
(Note: in the film's blurb, Sana Dati is about "A Lifetime of choices in a Single Day".)
PEP : Will the conflicts affecting major relationships in the story be so intense, pero later, "magpapakilig" din, sort of?
JERROLD : I don't know. Hindi ko iniiisip yung "kilig." Gusto ko lang maging totoo yung characters, maging sincere sa ginagawa nila sa loob ng kuwento.
PEP: Was it a deliberate choice on your part to cast Paulo Avelino and Lovi Poe as leads, after they did "aswang" roles in one of your previous films? How was it working with them?
JERROLD : The script (of Sana Dati) has been around since 2007 so, naturally, madami nang pinagdaanang casting choices yan. But I'm happy and thrilled that I ultimately ended up with Lovi and Paulo.
These are two very talented actors. It's exciting to watch them perform. And with TJ Trinidad and Benjamin Alves, plus the rest of the supporting cast, ang gagaling nilang lahat. I'm proud of my cast.
PEP : Ano naman ang mga challenges sa iyo ngayon, as indie director, after doing a succession of hit mainstream features? Any expectation, in particular, sa pagsali mo ngayon sa Cinemalaya?
JERROLD : To be honest, hindi ko iniisip na kasali sa competition yung pelikula. Pag may nagbabanggit lang sa akin 'tsaka ko naaalala. And it's the least important thing for me...
I'm just happy I'm finally making this film considering na more than five years na akong naghihintay ng opportunity na magawa siya.
Co-produced by Metric Films, Inc., Sana Dati is a Directors' Showcase entry for the 9th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, to be held from July 26 to August 4, 2013 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other theater venues, such as the Greenbelt 3 (Makati City) and Trinoma Mall Cinemas (Quezon City).