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Perry Escano "no hard feelings" despite Caught in the Act's exclusion from MMFF 2021

by Ruel J. Mendoza
Dec 5, 2021
Perry Escano director of Caught in the Act
Caught In The Act director Perry Escano (right) remains unfazed despite the movie's exclusion from the list of official entries for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival. He says, "Hindi naman ibig sabihin na dahil hindi ka napasama, your film is mediocre."
PHOTO/S: Perry Escano on Facebook

Hindi kasama sa 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) ang pelikulang Caught In The Act.

Pero ayon sa direktor nito na si Perry Escaño, "no hard feelings" daw siya kahit na hindi napili ang kanyang pelikula na mapasama sa Magic 8 ng naturang film festival.

Ipinahayag niya ang planong ipasok ang Caught In The Act sa MMFF 2021 noong May 2021, sa naganap na virtual media launch para sa simula ng shooting ng pelikula.

Noong i-announce ang Magic 8 noong November 12, hindi nakasama ang pelikula ni Direk Perry kunsaan bida ang mga Gen Z stars na sina Joaquin Domagoso, Andi Abaya, Josh Lichtenberg, Bamboo B., and Jhassy Cruz Busran.

"No hard feelings sa MMFF... the screening committees have different taste at may gusto silang genre pagdating sa pag pili ng Magic 8," pahayag ni Direk Perry sa panayam ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) sa pamamagitan ng Facebook Messenger.

"Hindi lang naman ako ang nag-iisa na hindi napili. Madaming mga respetado at magagaling na direktor din naman ang di napili sa mga nag-submit. May ibang opportunities naman na puwede ipalabas ang movie," dagdag ni Direk Perry, na nakilala sa mga pelikula niyang Ang Guro Kong 'Di Marunong Magbasa (2017) at Ang Sikreto Ng Piso (2019).

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Hindi rin daw alam ni Direk Perry kung ano ang naging rason ng MMFF screening committee kung bakit hindi pumasa sa panlasa nila ang pelikulang nagawa niya.

"I do not have the knowledge talaga kung ano ang reason nila sa hindi pagpili ng film namin. Kung commercial appeal ang pag-uusapan, we have promising actors naman. We have Joaquin Domagoso, na isa sa mga build-up artist at priority artist na ng GMA. We also have Andi Abaya na winner naman ng Pinoy Big Brother at very visible na sa mga teleserye.

"The film is also supported ng mga veteran artists natin like sina Karel Marquez and Lance Raymundo. Sa content naman, modern and fresh story naman ang inihain natin for our audience."

Para kay Direk Perry, mas mahalaga sa kanya na mapanood ng marami ang kanyang pelikula.

Aniya, "Bago naman po kami nag-submit, MMFF is one of the options to reach wider audience. Kung hindi mapasama, we have to move on and focus on the next plans, there are other options.

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"We have a lot of digital platforms naman, like Google Play, Xbox, Amazon, GMA Films and Star Cinema. Siguro there are a lot of reasons kung bakit siya di napasama and it is part of the process.

"Hindi naman ibig sabihin na dahil hindi ka napasama, your film is mediocre. They can watch this on December 15 para makita naman nila ang content at execution ng film kung ano talaga ang tina-tackle ng story."

DIREK PERRY ON MMFF'S "BIG STARS" CRITERIA

Isa raw sa criteria para makapasok bilang official entry sa MMFF ay dapat may big stars sa cast.

Sa napiling Magic 8, nasa mga official entries ang mga pangalang Dingdong Dantes, John Arcilla, Daniel Padilla, Charo Santos, Toni Gonzaga, Alex Gonzaga, Kim Chiu, Beauty Gonzalez, Winwyn Marquez, Raymond Bagatsing, Ken Chan, at Rita Daniela.

Pabor kaya ang mga direktor at independent producers sa criteria na ito?

Ani Direk Perry, "Even in the past naman, isa ito sa mga criteria nila na dapat may big stars talaga para panoorin. Pero if you really love watching films, your focus is not the popular actors. Dapat dun sa content or sa story or how the filmmaker executes his work.

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"In our movie, mayroon silang dapat aabangan dun. Dapat kapag nanood tayo ng film, dapat ma-educate natin ang mga viewers na una nila titingnan ay yung plot ng story.

"Madami silang aabangan sa movie. This is not just a teen or millennial movie. These are also for young professionals and all adults. There is something unique in the film they should not miss and should know.

"Kaya I'm hoping someday MMFF will not just look at who are the big stars in the movie or if this is a well-established production company, but also they will give independent productions or producers like us a chance to be part of their filmfest."

Kahit na hindi nakapasok this year, positive lang si Direk Perry na may possibility na magkaroon din siya ng pelikula sa MMFF in the future.

"I'm not closing my doors... submit lang nang submit. Kung magustuhan nila, I'm very thankful and I appreciate them.

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"Basta ako, gawa lang nang gawa and you help a lot of film workers. Kasi my intention is for everyone naman. This movie helped more than 200 film workers during the pandemic. From staff, crew, talents, drivers, medical team, post production staff, our media friends, and even the musicians kasi nga we released six songs for the Caught in the Act Inner Love soundtrack.

"The Caught in the Act Inner Love soundtrack is doing quite good. We are very lucky that Star Music distributed them. Mataas ang views niya sa YouTube and Spotify. Madami din bumili sa iTunes. Umabot kami ng Rank 2 at nasa Top 20 yung ibang songs."

DIREK PERRY ON MOVIE'S YOUNG CAST

Kuwento pa ni Direk Perry, kahit daw mga baguhan ang nasa cast ng Caught In The Act, naging professional daw ang mga ito, lalo na't nag-shooting sila sa gitna ng pandemya.

Aniya, "We shot the film during pandemic, that was June. As director, challenging for me kasi you have limited time, 12-14 hours per day unlike before you have 24 hours to shoot.

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"The hardest part, you need to shoot in the province na di mataas ang COVID. Thank God, no one got sick. Sumunod kami sa strict safety protocols, lalo na at mga teenagers ang nasa cast namin.

"Even though most of them are newcomers, they are very professional. They came to the set on time and prepared, alam nila dialogues nila, mostly take one and they are not difficult to block. They followed my instructions, directions during rehearsal and actual takes.

"Kaya napadali ang work ko as director at maganda ang kinalabasan. Tsaka naging hands-on ako sa kanila, madaming days inilaan ko sa kanila for rehearsals. I treated them like my younger brothers and sisters."

Ang Caught In The Act ay tungkol sa isang group of senior high school students na nakaimbento ng mobile app na tinawag nilang “Caught in the Act” bilang part ng kanilang school project. Habang tine-test nila ang app, naka-witness sila ng isang krimen na gawa ng isang sindikato.

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May world premiere ang pelikula sa December 4, na susundan naman ng nationwide release sa December 15, 2021.

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Caught In The Act director Perry Escano (right) remains unfazed despite the movie's exclusion from the list of official entries for this year's Metro Manila Film Festival. He says, "Hindi naman ibig sabihin na dahil hindi ka napasama, your film is mediocre."
PHOTO/S: Perry Escano on Facebook
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