Being a huge movie fan, Boy Abunda took it upon himself to conceptualize a show that would feature the pillars of Philippine cinema and provide a way for the youth to interact with these showbiz icons.
The veteran talk show host tells PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) about the concept of his new show. "Inside the Cinema is a once-a-month show on Cinema One. It's a show for movie fans, moviegoers, for actors, for directors, for everyone involved in the cinema. May one-on-one interviews ako with artistas, directors...It's about their filmography, ang kanilang mga nagawang mga trabaho at ang kanilang buhay. It is inspired by James Lipton's Inside the Actor's Studio."
Boy Abunda's show is patterned after the talk show of James Lipton, an American writer, poet, and dean emeritus of the Actors Studio Drama School in New York City. Just like Inside the Actor's Studio, Inside the Cinema will be shot in various academic institutions all over the country and will feature a question-and-answer portion with the students.
What is the difference between your one-on-one talk show Private Conversations and Inside the Cinema?
"Private Conversations is basically 95 percent political. It's a political show. I have guests such as Jun Lozada, Benjamin Abalos Sr., etc."
What makes Inside the Cinema different from Inside the Actor's Studio?
"Si James Lipton kasi very chronological, yung filmography talaga. E, ang Pinoy iba, magkwento. I realized in those conversations, makulay talaga magkuwento ang Pinoy. Ang daming interesting sidelights."
He also points out another major difference between him and James Lipton: "He is a revered teacher. He's erudite; I'm not. I'm an interviewer. I ask questions. I'm okay to be similar to him, but in terms of style, ibang-ibang kami. Hindi naman masamang gayahin ang maganda, because I know I will always have a way of owning the show."
Who do you want to interview for Inside the Cinema?
"I want to interview Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Susan Roces, Celso Ad Castillo, Emmanuel ‘Maning' Borlaza [a prolific Filipino director], iba't iba."
Do you plan to feature mostly established artists and directors in the film industry?
"Yes, ang aming uunahin ay mga artists with 20 years-and-above experience in the industry. I will admit na ang hirap ng storytelling with anyone with a limited story. If I did my conversation with Chanda Romero fifteen to twenty years ago, it wouldn't have been as inspiring."
Are you concerned about the ratings of a show that might have a limited audience in a cable show?
"In the very beginning, my boss Ronald [Arguelles, Cinema One managing director] and I had an agreement that the direction would be largely archival. This is the beauty of doing a show on cable, hindi ka hahabulin ng ratings. We're hoping to show these episodes late evening in ABS-CBN."
Is it true that you're very hands-on in the production?
"It's a work in progress. We're discovering a lot of things as we work on the show. We hope to have more audience participation. We are still studying whether or not to give research material to our audience. Kasi mga bata, e."
"I think it is important for the youth to know where we came from in the story of our cinema history. The reason we are traveling around schools is to create some presence."
The pilot episode of Inside the Cinema was shot in the University of San Carlos in Cebu City.
The show's director is Oscar Nava, an independent filmmaker who helmed the Ilonggo film When Timawa Meets Delgado.
"It is challenging to work with an independent film director," admits Boy. "Hindi ko talaga alam kung saan ang camera ko. I know how to work with my cameras pero with him, nangapa talaga ako. He was shooting it like film. He was lighting it like film."
The show's teaser says, "A lot of things can happen inside the cinema." Can you expound on this?
"I like the suggested meaning. If I were not as visible on TV as I am, I'd probably have more fun inside the cinema (laughter). We debated on this. The production team wanted to use Inside Cinema para daw mas academic ang dating. I said no, I want the title to be more lascivious [laughter]."
The one-hour television show will feature a simple yet deep conversation between the host and the artists, between voyeur and subject. For the pilot episode airing today, March 11, a very special guest will grace the show—well-known and respected actress Chanda Romero. Get to know more of this veteran actress and listen to her insights on her life as an artist, the state of the film industry and life in general.
Inside the Cinema will air every second Tuesday of the month on Cinema One cable channel 56 at 9 pm. Boy Abunda's future guests include showbiz icons Pilita Corrales, Michael de Mesa, and Joel Torre.