Darna, LizQuen project among 2019 movies of ABS-CBN Films

by Jocelyn Dimaculangan
Dec 12, 2018
<p>Star Cinema aims to release <em>Darna</em>, starring Liza Soberano (in photo), in 2019. </p>

ABS-CBN executives lauded the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) for promoting Filipino films in the global market.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and two other reporters had the chance to interview Ms. Olivia Lamasan and Black Sheep head Kriz Gazmen when they attended the 2018 Singapore Media Fest recently.

"Kaya rin kami nandito [Singapore], we're still going to do films for the Philippine market but the plan really is to go global.

"That's the new direction we're heading to," disclosed Kriz during the interview held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

He continued, "We really want to do films, not just for the Filipino market but we want something that will showcase Filipino talent around the world."

Ms. Olivia observed that Pinoy viewers and international viewers have different preferences when it comes to film genres.

"Sa Pilipinas talaga, romance works and yung family[-oriented films].

"Pero sa international, it's action, horror."

The ABS-CBN executives revealed that they already met with a lot of foreign investors at their company's booth that was set up at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Ms. Olivia, who is now the managing director of Star Cinema, pointed out that they had another objective in joining the Singapore Media Fest:

"We're here in support of FDCP. This year, the Philippines is the country of focus."

Through the efforts of the FDCP, which is headed by chairperson Liza Dino, the Philippines became the country of focus in the 2018 Singapore Media Fest.


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PEP.ph took this opportunity to ask Ms. Olivia and Kriz about the plans of ABS-CBN Films for 2019.

One of the most anticipated projects is the new Darna movie to be top-billed by Liza Soberano.

MJ Felipe of ABS-CBN News then asked if Darna will be released next year or in 2020.

Ms. Olivia admitted, "Siyempre, pinagdadasal namin next year.

"Okay naman kami kasi right now, Jerrold is already working on the scripts for Darna."

Jerrold Tarog is the replacement of Erik Matti as the director of Darna.

In October 2018, Direk Erik left the Darna project after working on it for the past five years.

The Kapamilya Network explained its decision back then by issuing a statement that indicated:

"ABS-CBN, Star Cinema, and director Erik Matti have mutually decided to part ways in the filming of 'Darna' because of creative differences and to allow the filmmaker to work on his other projects under his own production company Reality Entertainment."

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Direk Jerrold Tarog was chosen to take over the Darna project. His last project was the historical film Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.

He also directed the 2015 period film Heneral Luna, which was the prequel of Goyo.

When Ms. Olivia was asked what changed when Direk Jerrold became the new director of Darna, she pointed out:

"Siyempre, vision naman niya. Kanya-kanyang vision naman yung mga director.

"Ako, bilang direktor, a film is always a reflection of who you are, yung pagkatao mo, how you see the world.

"Of course, they will be different on how Erik saw it and how Jerrold sees it."

Since they were still adjusting to these changes, Ms. Olivia said this gave Liza and Enrique Gil enough time to do a movie together.

"That's why Liza was able to have this opportunity to do this LizQuen movie kasi sobra na rin silang na-miss ng kanilang fans," she said about the Kapamilya love team.

In a previous interview, Direk Erik told PEP.ph that they were envisioning Darna to be a trilogy.

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Are they still planning to do Darna as a three-part franchise?

Ms. Olivia admitted:

"You mean, parang three parts? Ah, yes. Yes. Pero let's see what happens to the first.

"So, let's all hope that it does well, that it suceeds. Suportahan ang sariling atin.

"We're all excited about that. For next year, siyempre nakatingin pa rin tayo sa Darna. Lilipad na siya."

Before she starts doing Darna, Liza will be shooting the still-untitled LizQuen movie wherein she is cast as a student of the Umiversity of the Philippines.

PEP.ph asked: will the LizQuen movie be the Valentine's Day presentation of ABS-CBN Films?

"Yes," confirmed Ms. Olivia. "[It will be] directed by Antoinette Jadaone under Black Sheep.

"We're expecting something different because under Black Sheep siya."

Black Sheep Productions is one of the new film production brands of ABS-CBN Films.

For 25 years, Star Cinema was the sole film production arm of the Kapamilya network.

This 2018, Black Sheep was created to target the millennial market while CineBro Originals was formed to target the male market.


Kriz then gave details about a multi-cultural film that will also be released in 2019.

"In going international, we started shooting Motel Acacia, which is a horror film.

"It's our international project scheduled for next year.

"It's directed by Bradley Liew. Malaysian director siya and yung cast niya from all over the world."

JC Santos will top-bill this movie, wherein he will get to work with Jan Bijvoet of Belgium, Bront Palarae of Malaysia, Vithaya Pansringarm of Thailand, Talia Zucker of Australia, and Will Jaymes of U.S./Australia.

Motel Acacia is a co-production of Black Sheep and Epicmedia of producer Bianca Balbuena.

The website of Epicmedia provides this synopsis of this upcoming film: "Motel Acacia is tasked with exterminating immigrants by the government through a BED, haunted with the spirit of a Filipino tree demon, that eats men and impregnates women. A young Filipino man, JC, is groomed by his tyrannical Caucasian father to take over the business."

According to Kriz, this horror film will have scenes set in a country located in central Europe.

"There's a local shoot in December then they're going to be shooting abroad early next year.

"They're shooting in Slovenia."

Another Kapamilya love team will be seen on the big screen next year.

"Of course, we will have another Kathniel movie next year," said Ms. Olivia.

Real-life couple Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla form the Kathniel love team.

Their latest movie, The Hows Of Us, became the first Filipino film to reach the P600 million mark in the PH box office, according to Star Cinema.

For its opening salvo in 2019, the Kapamilya Network will screen a horror film starring Bea Alonzo and Ms. Charo Santos-Concio.

Ms. Olivia said about this project: "We're coming out with Eerie. It's coming out by January.

"It premiered here in Singapore two days ago and it was very well-received.

"That's also a collaboration with a foreign investor, Cr8 Productions.

"It's the very first collaboration with a foreign investor."

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<p>Star Cinema aims to release <em>Darna</em>, starring Liza Soberano (in photo), in 2019. </p>
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