One of the films competing in the 2014 Cinemalaya Film Festival is Ronda, which tells the story of a woman faced with a moral dilemma when her duties as a mother and as a policewoman collide.
Ronda is written by Adolfo Alix Jr. (Presa, Chassis, Kadin) and Jerome Zamora (Haruo, Bahay Bata, Karera). The film is directed by Nick Olanka who also directed the Cinemalaya film Ang Huling Araw Ng Linggo in 2006. Nick has directed television shows such Apoy sa Dagat, E-boy, and Maalaala Mo Kaya episodes as well as the Star Cinema film Cinco.
Ronda tells the story of Paloma (Ai-Ai delas Alas), a policewoman who patrols the streets of Manila at night. Searching for her son who has been missing for days, Paloma examines herself and her failings as a mother. She is forced to make a difficult decision when she realizes her teenage son (Julian Trono) has killed his lover.
The film co-stars DM Sevilla, Carlo Aquino, Carlos Morales, Mon Confiado and Cogie Domingo.
The script was actually written two years ago. Co-writer and line producer Adolfo Alix Jr. was directing the film Chassis when he noticed the policewomen who were guarding the cast and crew. He became curious about the policewomen and the work they do. He joined them while they were doing their rounds, and that’s how he came up with the story.
In an interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Alix narrated, “Sabi ko maganda yung kwento na tungkol sa isang nanay na dual yung role niya bilang nanay at bilang pulis...syempre minsan bilang pulis nababali yung morality mo dahil meron kang sinusundan. Pero bilang nanay pag-uwi mo sa bahay paano mo pinapatupad yung rules mo sa bahay….yun yung pinaka germ.”
Alix eventually co-wrote the script with Jerome Zamora.
Director Nick Olanka liked the material and decided to enter it for the 10th edition of Cinemalaya. The story takes place in real time, but Direk Nick plans to direct it in a style that is not real time. Direk Nick liked the challenge. He said, “Hindi naman ako babalik sa indie after 6 or 8 years kung walang magchachange sa akin or hindi ako machachallenge…kaya ako na-attract sa kwento.”
Direk Nick cast box-office star Ai-Ai delas Alas in the dramatic lead for various reasons. He said, “Gusto ko ng actor na…kung pinalakad mo kasama ng mga tao…pwede siya magblend in. Secondly, dahil comedy ang madalas niyang ginagawa, feeling ko physical actor siya. E, ang daming physical requirements dito sa script….may different take siya than a drama actor. First time niyang mag-indie so for me, blank slate siya.”
This is Direk Nick’s first time to work with Ai-Ai, but he found it really easy to work with her. He also counts on Ai-Ai’s experiences as a mother to guide them through the intricate emotions a mother might undergo given the circumstances of the story.
What has been the most challenging part of shooting so far? Direk Nick pointed out, “Working on a budget yung pinakamalaking bagay. Aayusin ko yung diskarte ng schedule, sa pinakamurang halaga at sa maiksing time…in six days kailangan matapos yung pelikula. In one day kailangan ko makatapos ng ten sequences. Mahirap siya para sa film na one-camera [setup].”
Ronda is Ai-Ai delas Alas’ first indie film. When asked why she decided to do an indie film, she answered, “Para alam ko kung paano gumawa ng indie film…matagal na rin kasi ako sa showbiz so gusto ko naman na maranasan kung ano ang nandun.”
According to Ai-Ai, the experience has been good so far. “Magandang experience…full of art…at saka hindi ka doña dito. Simple ka lang. Hindi siya yung mainstream na spoiled ka, may ganito may ganyan. Dito hindi.”
When asked if she can relate to her character Paloma, the comedianne answered, “No it’s a different character. I think kasi laging role ko good mother, eto, she’s cold…hindi emotional, pulis, e, so malayo dun sa iba kong characters.”
Ai-Ai talked about the most challenging part of the shoot so far. “First, kailangan na sa puso ko ay ako si Paloma…pulis, hardcore…yun at ang indie kasi hindi kagaya ng mainstream na dapat pumupusisyon ka sa camera, e. Dito less is more.”
Ai-Ai is a co-producer of Ronda. She has also produced some of her previous films with Star Cinema.
The comedienne said that if this movie becomes successful, she plans to do more indie films in the future. She might even produce an indie film even if she is not the star of the movie.
For Direk Nick, Ronda has the blanket theme of motherhood, but it is also about powerlessness. He said, “Though in power siya [Paloma], nasa position siya meron siyang ranggo, sa lahat ng nilalakaran niya at pinupuntahang lugar siya yung ni-lo-look up, siya yung kinakatakutan, pero sa mga lalake sa buhay niya, sa mga taong malapit sa kanya, wala siyang power over them. Sa asawa niya na nasa ibang bansa. Sa anak niya na nawawala at hindi niya kilala… parang ganun siya basically…”
When asked what he hopes the audiences’ reactions would be, Alix said, “Bilang writer gusto ko lang ma-realize ng mga tao yung pinagdadaanan ng isang babae as a woman in a man’s world…sana mareconcile nila na kahit yung character ng isang simpleng babae, ang dami rin niyang pinagdadaanan...in a way parang ronda kaya yon yung napili namin na title diba nagpapatrol siya tapos habang nagpapatrol she learns, well the audience also learns things from her, and she also learns things na pinagdadaanan niya as a woman tsaka as a mother.”
Ronda and other Cinemalaya films will be screened from August 1 to 10, 2014 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Greenbelt 3, Trinoma, Alabang Town Center, and Fairview Terraces.