Chassis director Adolf Alix Jr. is currently in Argentina to attend the 25th Mar de Plata Film Festival where his film is in competition. The filmfest will run until November 21, 2010.
In this film, Jodi Sta. Maria plays Nora, a woman who will do anything to keep her child alive—and turns to prostitution to do just this.
She and her daughter Sarah (Kimberly Fulgar) live, illegally, under the chassis of container vans at the South Harbor in Manila.
The term chassis refers to the rectangular steel frame of a vehicle that holds together the body to its motor (answers.com).
For this role, Jodi spent a day at Pier 16 to learn firsthand about the residents there.
Shot in monochrome, this indie film is scheduled to have its regular run in Philippine cinemas starting December 6.
Jodi was unable to join Direk Adolf in Argentina since she is busy taping for the ABS-CBN teleserye Noah.
"Sayang, kasi for competition sana 'yong pelikula. I'm proud to say na [Chassis] lang ang Filipino film na nakapasok sa Mar de Plata International Film Festival," said Jodi during the Philippine gala premiere of the film last November 12 at the University of the Philippines, Diliman.
"Hindi puwede [sumama] kasi nagte-taping pa tayo ng Noah hanggang ngayon. Kasi ang Noah ngayon, sa amin umiikot 'yong story. So, hindi nila afford na more than a day na mawawala ako sa taping."
According to Direk Adolf, Jodi was allowed to go on leave for three days, but since travel time alone to Argentina takes 30 hours one way, this didn't leave the actress enough time to attend the filmfest itself.
SHOCK ENDING. The ending of Chassis shows a man who bares his genitals while Nora (Jodi's character) "sits" with him, ready to provide him "service."
Jodi talks to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) about this scene: "I actually gave him a 'service.' When I was doing the part, it was hard for me to do it, but we shot the scenes chronologically.
"Inuna namin yung mga eksena kung bakit nag-lead sa act na 'yon. It somehow helped me emotionally kasi it gives me the feeling na kailangan ko talagang gawin ang ginawa ko.
"Pero, siyempre, natakot pa rin ako kasi it's way out of my comfort zone. It's my first time to do something like that."
Jodi also says that she understands how women can take extreme steps for their family because she is a mother herself.
The ABS-CBN actress is married to Panfilo "Pampi" Lacson Jr., son of Senator Panfilo Lacson. They have a son, Panfilo Sta. Maria-Lacson III, whom they nicknamed Thirdy.
MEETING WILLEM DAFOE. Chassis had its world premiere at the 15th Pusan International Film Festival last October. Kim Ji-Seok, the executive programmer of the PIFF, described Chassis as "a bold film by Adolfo Alix Jr. that criticizes society, venting sympathy and anger at the same time." (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
During their stay in South Korea, Jodi was able to meet Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe.
She was excited to meet the highly rated actor since she was impressed by his performance in the film Antichrist (2009).
Dafoe is best known to today's young moviegoers for playing Green Goblin / Norman Osborn in the 2002 film Spider-Man.
Jodi recalled the series of events that led to their chance meeting.
"Before we went to Korea, I was told that he was going to be there. Pagdating namin dun, sabi ko kay Direk Adolf, 'Saan ba nandun si Willem? Puntahan natin.'
"But we were so busy going around...then we were walking sa beach area and we saw an open forum ni Willem. Oh, my God! So, talagang umupo kami doon at nanood kami sa kanya, hoping na makapag-papicture kami sa kanya. Pero ang daming security, e.
"That night, we attended a retrospective for a veteran actress. Nakita ko siya doon, and sabi ko, hindi ko na palalampasin ang chance na ito. Talagang lumapit ako sa kanya and I told him, 'Mr. Dafoe, I've seen your film Antichrist and you were so good in it.'
"Then, nagpa-picture ako with him. He was so nice and accommodating. At 'yon ang ginamit kong profile pic ko sa Facebook!"