Vilma Santos hopes to produce an indie film in the future; Luis Manzano and Jennylyn Mercado attend gala of Ekstra

(L-R) Senator Ralph Recto, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto, Ryan Recto, Jennylyn Mercado, and Luis Manzano graced the July 28 gala premiere of Ekstra.



After appearing in a Cinemalaya entry, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto hopes she can produce an indie film in the future.

Even her husband, Senator Ralph Recto, is open to the idea of producing an indie film for his wife.

"I'm her biggest fan! I'm the biggest Vilmanian!" declared Ralph when he was interviewed by PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) at the Cultural Center of the Philippines before the July 28 gala screening of Ekstra.

He revealed that his wife had to undergo a lot of hardships for this Cinemalaya entry that is competing in the Directors Showcase category.

"Mahirap kasi bilang governor, dun pa lang ang oras niya ubos na then being the mother of Ryan at asawa ko rin, it's very hard."

The politician even wants his wife to do one or two movies a year if she had more time.

"I'm sure when she retires from politics, she will be making more movies. I look forward to helping her produce movies in the future," said Senator Ralph who attended the gala screening with their son Ryan.

He then looked back on his younger years when he was a huge fan of the Star for All Seasons. "Gumawa ako ng report, gumawa ako ng essay tungkol sa Sister Stella L [referring to Ms. Vilma's 1984 socio-political movie]. Nung bata ako, nanonood ako ng Darna."

When does Senator Ralph want his wife to retire from politics?

"I think it will happen sooner rather than later. It's her last term as Governor. Depende sa mga pangyayari."

Luis Manzano made it a point to attend the gala screening with his girlfriend Jennylyn Mercado. With his left hand wrapped around the waist of Jennylyn, Luis jokingly told reporters: "Baka tanungin n'yo pa kung hiwalay kami ha!"

What was the reaction of Luis when he learned that his mother would be doing an indie film?

"Finally!" he exclaimed. "We all know that indie is booming right now and it's good that mommy gets to explore that facet of the industry."

Did he have a cameo appearance in this film? "No, hindi nila kaya ang TF [talent fee] ko," he deadpanned. "Walang pami-pamilya sa akin. Kapag pera, pera! Alam nila ang TF ko, kesyo mommy ko pa yan o hindi, bayaran n'yo ako, aarte ako."

In a past interview, Ms. Vilma said that she is secure when she knows that Luis is out with Jennylyn. In response, the GMA-7 actress said, "Siyempre natutuwa ako na malaki ang tiwala sa akin. Wag siyang mag-alala kasi aalagaan ko talaga si Luis."



EKSTRA AS PERFECT VEHICLE. When asked what prompted her to do do the film Ekstra, Ms. Vilma explained: "I just wanted to try the indie family and the perfect vehicle was Ekstra."

(To learn more about Ekstra and other entries of Cinemalaya this year, read: PEP Guide to Cinemalaya 2013)

In his speech before the gala screening, Direk Jeffrey Jeturian revealed: "Taong 1983 noong una akong nagsimula sa production. Ang title ng pelikula Baby Tsina at si Ms. Vilma ang bida nun. Noon pa man, pinangarap ko nang maging isang direktor. Yung una kong pangarap nangyari at yung ikalawa kong pangarap, nangyari na after 30 years. Thank you Ate Vi!"

IMDB lists Jeffrey Jeturian as a production assistant in the credits of Baby Tsina released in 1984.

Direk Jeffrey then thanked the celebrities who agreed to have cameo roles in Ekstra namely Marian Rivera, Piolo Pascual, Eula Valdes, Cherry Pie Picache, Pilar Pilapil, Richard Yap, Tom Rodriguez, and Cherie Gil who was present at the gala screening at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Vilma says doing Ekstra is her way of giving back to the film industry.

"Malaking bagay na sa akin yun, sana kahit papaano, nabigay ko ang konting contribution ko kahit papaano.

"Sobrang salamat sa mga kaibigan ko, sa mga Vilmanians na sobrang sipag."

She also appreciated the fact that she saw familiar faces from ABS-CBN. Among those spotted that night were Star Cinema executives Roxy Liquigan and Mico del Rosario and director Wenn Deramas.

Ms. Vilma said gratefully: "Ramdam mo ang suporta lalo na't first indie film ko ito.

"Sa reception, maraming salamat. The mere fact na nagkaroon ng kaunting contribution—higit sa lahat sa mga extra—tama na iyon sa akin. Malaking bagay na iyon and to meet to the indie family."

What did realize while making this Cinemalaya entry?

"Na hindi mabubuo ang pelikula kung wala ang extra."

How hard was it for her to shoot the physically demanding scenes?

"Mahirap kasi siguro we did it for 12 days lang. Physically, it was tiring but I enjoyed doing it. Hirap lang ako kasi kailangan tapusin in 12 days at may trabaho rin ako sa Batangas kaya dun ako nahirapan.

"The good thing is nag-adjust naman si Direk Jeffrey at si Atty. Joji [Alonso, producer] sa schedule ko. Once a week lang kami pero My God! 7 am to 7 am!

"Talagang lawit na ang dila namin but then again, maganda naman ang resulta."

When asked about her favorite scene in Ekstra, she narrated:

"Yung sa dulo kunsaan binigay na niya sa anak niya ang pera at nakaupo siya sa mesa at ina-absorb kung anong nangyari sa kanya sa set.

"Pero hindi siya nawalan ng pag-asa because at the end of the day, hindi pa siya nag give up. Sabi niya, baka may susunod pa akong booking."

How did she feel when the audience gave a warm round of applause after the end of the movie?

"Parang lahat ng kaba mo parang nawala lahat. Because the mere fact na ginawa mo yun, a little contribution to art.

"Yung pinaka reception kanina, yun na ang pinaka bayad namin."

Ms. Vilma points out how this project is different from other movies that she did in her career spanning five decades.

"Sana panoorin po ninyo because this is something different, extra po ako.

"Modesty aside, bida po ako [since starring in Trudis Liit].

"Ngayon, tingnan n'yo naman kung ano ang buhay ng extra. Ang isang pelikula hindi mabubuo kung walang extra."

The Star for all Seasons even expressed her desire to produce an indie film in the future.

"I hope so. I hope I find the time to even produce one. It's just that I need to find time since the prority is Batangas. This is my last term but I'm hoping everything will be smooth in Batangas. Maybe I can star in another one or produce one."

What was the comment of her husband Ralph Recto about Ekstra?

"Alam mo naman yan, critic yan. Pero na-enjoy niya! [Sabi niya] 'So this is how you do a teleserye in 24 hours?' Pero sa teleserye na ito, extra ako."

Did this film serve as an eye-opener for her about the treatment received by bit players in the industry?

"Sa tagal-tagal ko na rin sa industriya, nakikita ko na sila but it's about time na bigyan natin sila ng importansiya. May mga pangangailangan rin 'yan, e.

"Aminin natin, whether we like it or not, we take them for granted. Huwag naman. This is a perfect example. Si Loida [her character in the movie], may pamilya na nangangailangan.

"Yet tatanggapin niya lahat para lang sa anak niya. But you will notice in the ending, positibo siya.

"Kahit napahiya na siya, you will notice in the ending, sasabihin niya baka magkaroon pa siya ng booking. Kahit namura na siya, she's still waiting for another booking."

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