When Tessie Tomas attended the Cinemalaya awards night at the Cultural Center of the Philippines last Sunday, July 18, she was wearing a sparkly white top, shiny leggings and false eyelashes that gave her a youthful vibe. The lead actress of the film Two Funerals told members of the press that she was wearing a creation of her only son Robin.
"I try my best to promote ang clothes ng anak ko so I wear his designs especially during big occasions like this," said the proud mother.
She continued: "He's still launching his Tomás brand in America so he will spend a few months there and a few months here. But it is his dream to have a little shop here kung saan puwede niya ibenta yung mga ready-to-wear clothes niya."
She said he is doing "very well" in New York. "He won in a very big fashion design competition called the Supima design competition wherein 50 contestants participated and it was trimmed to six finalists so I'm very, very proud of him."
Last January, her 33-year-old son won the Best Reinvention of the Men's T-shirt award, which means his design will be sold in Bloomingdale's stores all over the U.S.
Robin is a UP Diliman graduate with a degree in graphic design. He took up further studies at the Parsons School of Design in New York and interned at Valentino and Anna Sui before working as a men's wear designer at the Gap, J. Crew and Tommy Hilfiger brands.
TWO FUNERALS. In Two Funerals, Tessie topbills theblack comedy directed by Gil Portes.
"Basically it's a road movie," she said, "kasi tinutuntun ko ang body ng anak kong babae and at the same time, dala namin yung karo ng patay."
Her daughter in the film is portrayed by former Pinoy Big Brother Double Up housemate Princess Manzon. Together with Xian Lim, she travels from Cagayan to Sorsogon to retrieve the body of her daughter, which had been accidentally switched by the funeral parlor.
She described Two Funerals as one of the most difficult films she's ever done.
"Unang-una kasi, ang indie film mahirap gawin kasi paspasan at kulang rin sa budget. Pangalawa, ang hirap ng mga location namin kasi may Antipolo, Taytay, Montalban Dam, Gapan [Nueva Ecija], at umabot kami sa bitukang manok ng Quezon province. And pati Bicol pinuntahan namin."
How was it like working with Gil Portes in this film?
"He is a very demanding director but he brings out the best in me. Medyo strikto and most of the time, I'm on my toes. I always try to give it my best shot so he enhances my acting."
Two Funerals earned Best Director, Special Jury Prize, Best Screenplay and Audience Choice award at the newly established Directors Showcase category of Cinemalaya.
It will be screened at the Film Institute of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City this Tuesday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m.
(CLICK HERE to read PEP's review of Two Funerals)