Jericho Rosales, 38, feels like he has come full circle with his humble roots as he stars in a short film called Make You Feel.
The directorial debut of L.A.-based director Eileen Cabiling, Make You Feel is a cinematically-driven character study of a fisherman, who is forced to accept shady odd jobs just to make ends meet.
“My character’s name is Bong. Funny because that’s the name of my father. Pero hindi ako ang nagrequest nun, ha.
“Isa akong mangingisda-slash tricycle-driver.
“Isang problema dun yung kakulangan ng isda sa dagat. So yung trabaho niya wala siyang mahuling isda, wala siyang kakainin.
“Minsan makakagawa siya ng mga desisyon na hindi niya gusto. In short, medyo kapit sa patalim ng konti.
“It’s a short film. But it’s also a part of a bigger film towards the end of the year.”
In the short film, his character is a fisherman who lives in a small seaside village. His livelihood is threatened because there are hardly any fish in the sea due to climate change, overfishing, and irresponsible tourism.
Forced to earn in any way he can to take care of his sick child and feed his family, Bong has been taking side gigs to make ends meet. He sees other fishermen being interviewed for work overseas and he considers doing the same.
Jericho described his role as a perfect fit given his background as a fish vendor long before he joined showbiz.
The Kapamilya actor has made no secret of the fact that he used to help his mother sell fish in Concepcion market in Marikina during his teenage years.
“Natutuwa ako kasi naalala ko yung buhay-palengke. Nasa palengke din ako sa mga eksena dito.
“Medyo nostalgic yung dating, yeah. But may ibang contrast din pagdating sa time. Kasi nung time na yun, two decades ago, sagana pa yung pangingisda. Okay pa. But now, wala nang isda, sira na yung dagat.
“So parang in a way, prinepare ako sa projects today. Parang yung nangyayari sa buhay ko, yun ang naa-attract kong projects, yung malapit sa akin.
“Like Alagwa, Siargao, tapos eto, Make You Feel. I love that I am drawn to projects na may social relevance, at the same time, very entertaining and artistically done."
TEAM BEHIND MAKE YOU FEEL. Jericho is also thrilled that he had an active role in the pre-production stage of Make You Feel—brainstorming and exchanging creative ideas with Eileen and Darlene Malimas, who are co-producing this short film.
“Eileen’s style is very different. She’s a very patient and precise director. I love her eye for reality.
“Her heart and soul is in this project. Collaborating with her is a great blessing.”
Both graduates of the American Film Institute (AFI), Eileen and Darlene met via the Independent Feature Project, a New York-based organization that supports indie films.
It was Darlene who introduced Eileen to Jericho here in the Philippines.
Darlene said, “I came across his 'Pusong Ligaw' song video, I was really moved. He seems to have a lot of heart and truth to his performance.
“I started studying his performance. I was struck by his indie films, one was called Alagwa. He did a really amazing job in it.
“He just really struck me as a great actor on screen.”
The team also includes fellow AFI grad Jae Hyuk Lee, a director of photography and gaffer whose body of work include Okja (2017), Black Panther (2017), Snowpiercer (2013) and various Korean films.
Of this, Jericho said, “Yung team niya from L.A., they’re all here.
“People working on gigantic projects, they’re also working on projects like this because nakikita nila yung value ng story.
“Saludo lang ako talaga sa kanila.”
"THINGS THAT MATTER." As an actor, Jericho said that he feels driven to perform better knowing that Make You Feel aims to make moviegoers think about the harsh realities of life.
“I had dreams na medyo inalagay ko sa isang tabi a few years ago.
“But because of this project, nabuhayan ulit ako ng loob to do something great again.
“I’m thankful Eileen found me.”
He continued, “If you sit down and don’t think about what you’re watching, I get it, you wanna relax, masaya naman yun.
“But it’s also nice na ma-relax ka, at the same time, may napupulot ka.
“And this, for me, is an opportunity to shine a light on things that matter.”