Judy Ann Santos and Iza Calzado are slated to shoot themovie Ploning in Cuyo Island, Palawan, by the end of this month.Panoramanila Pictures Co. is expecting Juday (Judy Ann's nickname) to tape hersequences on the picturesque island from January 25 to February 11, 2008. Izawill be joining her co-stars during the last week of January.
Director Dante Garcia is a close friend of Juday who has beenstyling the young superstar for the past 16 years. He tells PEP (PhilippineEntertainment Portal) how he got the idea for the movie Ploning, whichhe conceptualized around seven years ago.
"Ang inspiration ko kasi yung kanta na ‘Ploning,' isang folksong sa Cuyo na naririnig ko na noong bata pa ako. Usually naririnig ko siya,ang kumakanta isang lalaki. Nung una siyang ni-record, ang kumanta isang babae.It's a promise of undying love, lalaki ang kumakanta so normal. Pero nangkumanta ng babae, parang nire-recall yung promise na binigay sa kanya. Dunnagsimula yung concept ko.
"Maganda yung concept na para sa mature role ni Juday, isasiyang provincial lass."
How has his concept changed after seven years? "After sevenyears, affected siya ng experiences namin together [ni Juday]. Yun pa rin angconcept ng babaeng ibinigay ang sarili at naghintay."
The character played by Iza is a nurse who is serving thecommunity of Cuyo. "The movie is set in the year 1982, yun yung time na bataako sa Palawan. Meron pang YCAP yung mga nurses... Marcos campaign iyon, e. Angrole ni Iza isang nurse na nandun para tumulong sa mga taga-Cuyo. It providescontrast sa pagiging probinsyana ni Juday. Isa siyang woman of the world nadumating sa island."
YCAP (YouthCountryside Action for Progress) was a government-funded program during the martial law years. Former president Ferdinand Marcos encouraged the youth toparticipate in activities that supported nationaldevelopment.
Other key characters of the story are to be played by MeryllSoriano and Eugene Domingo. "Yung characters ni Meryll as Meme and EugeneDomingo, sila ang iba-ibang layers ng babae, how I understood women. Ploningis a movie about women from the point of view of a boy," explains Dante.
Meryll accompanied the crew of Ploning during one oftheir ocular visits and she met a young boy who was eventually cast as a maincharacter of the movie. The adolescent Cuyonon (native of Cuyo) will be playingthe younger version of Jhong Hilario in the movie.
Comedienne Eugene is tapped to play the half-paralyzedmother Juaning while another local, Ogoy Agustin, will play Veling. The olderversion of Veling will be portrayed by character actor Ronnie Lazaro.
In Ploning, the women talk about their lives whileproducing cashew nut brittle, a product similar to the popular peanut brittleof Baguio City. "Kuwento ito ng mga babaeng gumagawa ng kasoy. Yun ang ginagawanilang kabuhayan. Nag-uusap-usap sila habang gumagawa ng kasoy brittle."
The movie features Juday speaking in the native languagecalled Cuyonon. Around 40 percent of the movie will be using this language,which is similar to the Malaysian language.
"First time niya [Juday] na magsasalita ng hindi Tagalog sapelikula. Ang unique naman dito, parang sina Tita Gloria Romero nagsasalita ngIlokana, sina Nida Blanca nagwa-Waray, si Nora [Aunor] nagbi-Bicolano. Firsttime ito na isang mahabang pelikula at major actress na magsasalita siya ngforeign lengguwahe para sa kanya.
"First time rin ito na walang leading man si Judy Ann. Youwill hear about a man in her past but you won't see him," he points out.
The movie is expected to open in theaters nationwide onApril 2008. Since the movie is about an unmarried woman who is about to reach 30, which makes her an "old maid" by rural standards,Panoramanila aims to release the movie before Judy Ann turns 30 onMay 11.