The horror film Ouija marks a lot of firsts—it will be Judy Ann Santos's first venture into the horror genre and it is her first time to work for GMA Films for this co-production with Viva Films. Not only that, it also ended the so-called "rivalry" between contemporaries Judy Ann and Jolina Magdangal and their respective managers, Tito Alfie Lorenzo and Daddy Jun Magdangal.
However, one thing it did not end is the rivalry between two major networks—ABS-CBN and GMA-7. Judy Ann is a certified Kapamilya star who has just renewed her contract last June while Jolina is a former Star Magic talent who moved to the Kapuso Network in 2002.
The first general press conference of Ouija was held last night, July 5, at the executive lounge of GMA-7. It was attended by two of the major stars—Judy Ann and Jolina. When Noel Ferrer, project manager for synergy and promotions, announced that Ouija will not be able to promote in three shows of ABS-CBN—namely Sharon, The Buzz, and Boy & Kris—the two lead stars were very surprised to learn of this development.
Judy Ann's initial reaction to this information was to say,"Hindi naman ako si Regine [Velasquez]. Hindi ako si Piolo [Pascual]."
She was referring to the cross-promotion conducted by Regine and Piolo on rival networks for Paano Kita Iibigin?, a Star Cinema-Viva Films co-production that was shown last May 30.
"Kahit gusto kong sabihing ayokong sumama ang loob ko or sumama ang loob ko, I don't thing iku-consider pa rin nila 'yun, e. Artista lang naman ako at hindi naman ako producer.
"Hindi ko naman sila puwedeng diktahan at hindi rin naman ako magmamakaawa sa kanila. Naiiintindihan ko at iintindihin ko kung ano ang magiging desisyon nila kasi may sarili silang pananaw.
"Pero artista lang ako at kahit papaano, nagtatanong din ako, ‘Bakit?'"
Do you feel bad about this decision?
"Siguro, kung halimbawa, hindi naman nakapag-promote 'yung movie ng Star [Cinema] sa GMA-7, I would really understand. It's just that nakapag-promote din naman sila dito sa GMA, how come GMA Films cannot do that sa Star Cinema?
"Hangga't maaari, ayokong isama ang personal na nararamdaman ko kasi baka maging halimaw ako. Feeling ko, I've been very much blessed for the past years of my life and kung ico-consider ko pa 'yung pagsama ng loob ko sa kanila, ‘wag na. Tama na ang nasabi ko na nagtatanong ako ng ‘Bakit?'"
Judy Ann goes on to share her thoughts on the rivalry between the major networks. "Feeling ko nga, noong nag-promote yung pelikula nila dito [GMA-7], I was hoping na yun na yung simula ng pagiging maayos ng lahat, kahit paunti-unti. Kaya lang, naglagay sila [ABS-CBN ng hindi pala puwedeng ganun at nagkataon, ako yung artista.
"Sana lang maayos. Hindi po masama ang loob ko. Nagtatanong lang ako, ‘Bakit?' Parang pinagsama yung malaking artista nila at malaking artista dito sa isang pelikula. Yun din naman yung nangyari dito, kaya lang pareho kaming babae [ni Jolina].
"Malaki ang utang na loob ko sa kanila [ABS-CBN]. Pero siyempre tao lang ako, nag-iisip lang ako minsan, may posibilidad pa kayang magkaayos ang dalawang networks? Para share-share na lang sana yung mga artista, everybody happy, everybody masaya kasi maraming trabaho, maraming pera..."
Judy Ann confided that chief executive officer and chairman of ABS-CBN Eugenio "Gabby" Lopez III himself told her that they would not be allowed to promote her film Ouija in her home network.
"We had a talk already before we started shooting Ouija, nagkaroon kami ng small talk ni Sir Gabby and he told me naman, ‘I hope you won't mind' na hindi nga namin mapo-promote yung movie namin doon [ABS-CBN]. Okay lang ho pero at that time, wala pa silang nilalabas na movie ni Regine. Pero ngayong may nilabas na, nagtataka lang ako, bakit naman hindi kasi winelcome naman ng GMA Network ang pagpo-promote ng movie nila dito. How come hindi nila maibalik yun sa GMA?"
Ouija, which also stars Iza Calzado and Rhian Ramos, will be screened on cinemas nationwide starting July 25.