Manila will have its regular screening starting July 22

by Marie Ruth Berma Interview: Jocelyn Dimaculangan
Jul 8, 2009
The twin-bill film Manila is being distributed by Star Cinema and will be screened in cinemas nationwide starting July 22, 2009. Piolo Pascual opens up about being a first-time producer in this film directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin.

Aside from being listed in the credits as an actor in the film Manila, Piolo Jose Pascual is also listed as an executive producer. Get to see the matinee idol's work when this indie film is screened in cinemas nationwide starting July 22, 2009.

Piolo, who is sometimes called PJ by his close friends, topbills the two-part indie film inspired by Ishmael Bernal's 1980 film Manila by Night and Lino Brocka's 1979 film Jaguar. It is divided into a "Day" and "Night" episode directed by Raya Martin and Adolfo Alix, Jr., respectively.

Manila was exhibited at the 61st Cannes Film Festival and the 31st Moscow
International Film Festival.

Filipinos now have the chance to watch this black-and-white film at the following theaters, released by Star Cinema: SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Manila, SM Fairview, Robinsons Ermita, Robinsons Galleria, Gateway, Trinoma, Glorietta 4, Sta. Lucia, SM Davao, SM Cebu, SM Pampanga, and SM Taytay.

MANILA AT CANNES. In a previous interview, Piolo Pascual recalled the second time that he walked on the red carpet in Cannes, France. He previously attended the 2005 Cannes IFF when his films Dekada '70 and Milan were exhibited in the New Cinema of the World section.

"Nakapasok yung Manila, and then we're also invited sa iba pang mga festivals. Nakaka-eight na kaming invitations after Cannes. Actually we're thankful, yung first production, e, naging productive."

How was Piolo's experience in Cannes?

"Ay grabe po. Feeling ko ako si Brad Pitt, e. Ang saya kasi talagang yung mga tao, nagpremiere kasi kami. Nag-premiere din yung Independencia ni Raya [Martin] and we shared the red carpet with... And that time nagpremiere din yung movie ni Penelope Cruz, so star-studded," he said.

He pointed out that being invited to Cannes was a big milestone for him.

"We also had our fair share with the Filipino community, tumulong po sa 'min. More than what I asked for, more than what I prayed for."

He later added: "The moment I got the recognition from Cannes, we were invited I said to myself, that in itself is enough recognition, that in itself is a victory. So, nakita ko pa lang ‘yung poster nung Manila na may leaves, nakita ko palang na naimbita kami sa Cannes, okay na ‘ko. I mean you know, kung saan nga hahantung yun kung saan... I mean to the point nga na hanggang ngayon non stop. Sabi ‘ko nga, ‘Cannes lang and Toronto okay na kami' tas we got eight invitations already so that in itself is a success already. Siguro secondary na lang yung kumita."

PJ AS A PRODUCER. Piolo revealed that it was difficult being a star and a producer at the same time so in his next production, he just wants to focus on one job instead of juggling both duties.

After co-producing Manila, Piolo also stands as a producer of the film Kimmy Dora, directed by Joyce Bernal. It will have Eugene Domingo as the lead actress and she will have Dingdong Dantes and Zanjoe Marudo as her two leading men.

"Mahirap, mahirap mag-produce. But it's exciting because sa trabaho natin you want to grow as an artist."

Kimmy Dora
is written by Chris Martinez, the director of the Cinemalaya entry 100.

Did he experience problems with the actors and actresses on the films he produced?

"So far, wala akong na-experience. I remember si Angelica Panganiban when she found out that I was producing Manila hindi siya nagpabayad. Hindi siya humingi ng ano.. No, she never gave me any trouble."

"The whole time nag-shooshooting kami she was on time, so wala kaming problema.. So nakakatuwa kung parang kaibigan mo lang si Angelica, hindi siya nagpabayad."

Angelica plays the girlfriend of Piolo in the "Day" segment of Manila.

Does Piolo want to be a director someday?

"Honestly po hindi ko makita yung sarili ko magdidirect. Siguro, masyado pa kong masaya bilang aktor. Ngayon nga na nasubukan kong mag-produce, gusto ko munang i-enjoy."

PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) was able to interview Direk Adolf and he described how Piolo was as a producer: "When he said "Yes" to the project and produced it along with Edgar Mangahas of MJM Productions, we never had a problem. Kapag na-ipresent na namin sa kanya ang lahat ng kailangan, he sees to it that he everything's available. Malaking bagay that he believes in the material."

Why did the filmmakers choose to show the film in black and white?

"We just wanted to emphasize I think the idea of the Day and Night episodes," explains Direk Adolf. "Also if its black and white, you tend to look beyond the surface and focus on the dilemma of the characters—as they journey through 'darkness' in the film. Yung part ni Lav naman is in color so I think it will be very interesting."

WHY EUGENE DOMINGO? When asked why he chose Eugene Domingo to be the star in his next film, PJ said, "I've always believed in her talent."

Did he consider choosing the comedy queen, Ms. Ai-Ai delas Alas, for the lead role?

"Si Miss Ai-Ai...alangan namang makipag kompetensiya pa ‘ko sa Star Cinema ‘pag kinuha ko pa si Ma'am Ai. And I think busy rin si Ma'am Ai. So, with Uge naman, I think it's about time na, you know, she deserve a launching film because she's been in the business for a long time already. She's very talented."

"I'm so excited, talagang nagviview kami sa Roadrunner [editing company] ng pelikula at nakakatawa po talaga si Eugene. So I'm blessed, I'm privileged to be working with her sa launching movie po niya."

When asked if Piolo will do a cameo in the film, he merely flashed his winning smile and refused to answer.

Manila (2009)

A MJM Production and Bicycle Pictures production

Written by Ramon Sarmiento and Adolfo Alix, Jr.

Executive Producers: Piolo Jose Pascual and Edgar Mangahas

Producer: Arleen Cuevas

Associate Line Producer: Maxie Evangelista III

Director of Photography: Albert Banzon

Production Designer: Digo Ricio

Editors: Jay Halili and Aleks Castaneda

Music: Radioactive Sago Project

Sound Design: Ditoy Aguila

Cast: Piolo Pascual, Rosanna Roces, Jay Manalo, Alessandra de Rossi, Baron Geisler, Iza Calzado, Angelica Panganiban, Jiro Manio, William Martinez, Anita Linda, Marissa Delgado, Menggie Cobarrubias, John Lapus, Katherine Luna, Aleck Bovick, Jon Avila

Synopsis: Piolo Pascual portrays two characters in a split day/night story that exposes the seedy underbelly of the city as he grapples with the darkness around him. In between, Lav Diaz is shooting a romantic film titled City of Love with Iza Calzado and Jon Avila.

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The twin-bill film Manila is being distributed by Star Cinema and will be screened in cinemas nationwide starting July 22, 2009. Piolo Pascual opens up about being a first-time producer in this film directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Raya Martin.
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