The soon-to-be-released teen drama Unfriend from Solar Entertainment Corporation showcases up and coming young actor Sandino Martin, who shares the same screen surname as one of today’s most bankable mainstream actors, Coco Martin. They are completely unrelated to one another though. But this early, many movie observers are asking whether this hunk of an actor may yet soon be the next Coco Martin.
In Unfriend, Sandino portrays a gender-confused teenager named David, who battles depression after he is dumped by his male lover Jonathan (Angelo Ilagan). Continuing to track and follow his ex-lover on social media, he is unable to contain his uncontrollable obsession with hauntingly fatal consequences.
The role called for him to perform intimately and in the nude with his male lover David, and then again in a passionate one night stand with a partygoer he meets anonymously (Jay Enriquez). Exposing skin, butt and everything else in the film’s R-18 Directors Cut version, the sizzling and sensuous role recalls then indie actor Coco Martin in similar portrayals in celebrated sexy films Serbis, Masahista and many more.
Could the same route be exploited by Sandino to eventually land mainstream? Sandino answers only with a smile at the thought of this career path. But on the comparison to Coco he is more open. “Of course, I don’t mind the comparison with Coco. In fact it’s very flattering,” he mentions.
After Unfriend premiered a few weeks ago at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival, the young actor is very hopeful his career will take to high gear. “I surely have a long way to go to be likened to him and am just very, very happy now that we premiered in Berlin. The film was actually finished early last year and I was waiting for some time for the local release. But imagine the big surprise—the Berlin Film Fest! It was an experience of a lifetime for me,” he said. Sandino flew to Berlin, Germany with the film’s director Jay Altarejos.
Unfriend was among the first films selected among hundreds of global entries in the non-competitive Panorama section of the film festival. It received rave reviews from German film critics. It was described as “powerful,” “stylish,” “compelling,” a great story of the unraveling of a wanting soul in the face of the loss of a loved one.”
It is at best a social commentary on the ills of disturbed and struggling teenagers whose lifeline is disconnected from absentee parents and hooked instead to fleeting, non-permanent and false sources of nurturing.
Unfriend also stars Boots Anson Roa in the role of Ester, Jonathan’s grandmother.
A production of Solar Entertainment Corporation and Centerstage Productions, Unfriend opens nationwide on February 26, 2014.