“I’ve learned that it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.”
This was how Jessy Mendiola described her experience filming Sherad Anthony Sanchez’s Salvage, which is Cinema One Originals’s entry to the 2017 Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
In the found footage film, Jessy plays the role of Melay, a TV news segment producer tasked to cover the series of killings, initially believed to be caused by aswang attacks, in a remote province in Mindanao.
She is accompanied by JC de Vera as the camera man, Joel Saracho as a news reporter, Barbie Capacio as a make-up artist, and Karl Medina as the van driver.
Known for her dramatic roles on TV, the ABS-CBN actress said that doing physically challenging scenes for Salvage was the toughest part of her role.
Speaking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Jessy admitted, “Hindi siya baril-baril na action. More of takbuhan, hilahan, suntukan…
“Ako lahat yun. I had no double.”
“Di ba sa probinsiya uso yung kapag nagsisiga parang may pugon, para siyang may butas sa ilalim.
“Pumasok ako dun. I did that. Dala-dala namin yung camera.”
Jessy further recalled the times when she got wounded while shooting the said film.
JESSY'S ACCIDENT. It was Direk Sherad who revealed that she actually suffered a third-degree burn at one point.
He said in a taped interview, “Hindi ko makakalimutan when Jessy was injured. She had a third-degree burn.
“But hours after, she was willing to run, to be put on a harness, rumampa, tumakbo, tumalon.
“It’s encouraging for me as a director, at the same time, nakaka-guilty kasi yung artista mo nahihirapan pero game na game.”
Direk Sherad was grateful that his lead stars were so committed to doing what was required of them for his experimental film.
“It’s fun to have Jessy and JC eager to have fun with me. She’s a very good collaborator.
The director added, “Working with JC is also [certainly] inspiring because he’s eager to learn, eager to do something he never did before.”
NO NEED TO MEMORIZE. Jessy was similarly impressed by Direk Sherad’s spontaneous treatment in the making of Salvage.
The 24-year-old actress was surprised when he just asked her to read but not necessarily memorize the film’s script.
“Si Sherad kasi sobrang spontaneous na director.
"So, nung napapansin ko na may mga scenes na kami na nadadagdag, sabi ko, ‘Sherad, parang may mga bagong eksena na hindi ko nakita sa script, ha.’
“Na kahit ako natatakot akong gawin. So, ganun siyang klaseng film.”
There were times when the cast members didn’t even know that there would be an explosion for a certain film sequence.
“Yung ibang elements sa eksena, planted lang. Hindi namin alam.
"Ganun ka-totoo yung emotions, yung fear, yung kaba, yung weirdness.”
DIFFERENT BRAND OF HORROR. As much as she felt disturbed the first time that she saw the film, Jessy was proud to say that Salvage will get moviegoers thinking long after they’ve finished watching the movie.
Sherad, for his part, said that he wanted to deliver a deep brand of horror that is different from the typical aswang scare that moviegoers get when they watch traditional Filipino horror films.
“I have this idea of making a certain kind of awe, an illusion in many kinds of perspective, many kinds of shades.
“The dynamics of the character are actually inspired from The Wizard of Oz—from someone who’s very adventurous to someone who’s very scared—all these archetypes.”
Direk Sherad also said that Salvage aims to inspire moviegoers to be tolerant of the many faces of truth.
“Salvage is an important film Filipinos should watch because it reminds them to ask and not to be judgmental right away and not to be forceful in one’s truth.
“Kailangan natin magkaroon ng tolerance, at the same time, critical thinking in order to face certain kinds of issues and conditions.”