AFTER achieving success in the Asian market, indie movie Donsol will compete in two major film festivals in the Americas.
Bicycle Pictures’ tragic love story starring Angel Aquino and newcomer Sid Lucero is set to compete in the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival from October 16 to November 14 at Florida, U.S.A.
From North America, Donsol will compete in Latin America—specifically in the Dominican Republic International Film Festival from November 6-12. Aside from this, the movie is also included in the Festival of Festivals non-competition category of the Cairo International Film Festival.
These invitations to global competitions come on the heels of the movie’s triumph at the second Asian Marine Film Festival held at Makuhari, Japan last September 1-3. Donsol received the Special Jury Prize, besting entries from other countries such as Taiwan, Iran, Korea, and host country Japan.
The fishing community of Donsol, Sorsogon, serves as the backdrop for the heart-tugging story of Daniel (Sid), a Butanding Interaction Officer, who falls in love with the enigmatic Teresa (Angel).
Originally written and produced for this year’s Cinemalaya, Donsol is the directing debut film of Adolfo Alix, Jr. (who also penned the screenplays of Mga Munting Tinig, Homecoming, and D’Anothers). Funded by a seed grant of P500,000 from Cinemalaya organizers and private contributions, the director and his staff shot the film in time for the Butanding festival last April 29-30.
Whale sharks, locally known as butanding, are migratory animals that visit the waters of Donsol from November to May. “I studied the patterns of whale sharks…since they’re migratory animals, they might come back or they might not. I thought of developing a love story that would parallel the [migration] of whale sharks,” narrates Adolf, in a PEP interview.
He reveals that characteristics of these gentle giants were the inspiration for the main characters Daniel and Teresa. “Loner yung creature…so dun ko na-pattern yung character ni Daniel. Si Teresa naman, para ding whale shark kasi sya yung bumibisita sa town,” says the first-time director.
Angel’s moving performance as a recuperating breast cancer patient was even cited by the jurors of the second Asian Marine Film Festival. She also received the Best Actress award during the awarding ceremonies of Cinemalaya 2006. “I was very fortunate to have Angel in the cast. For this film, she cut her hair, she interviewed breast cancer patients…she really immersed herself in this role,” recalls Adolf.
The director took into account the physical demands of the film when he cast Sid as the guide who tours Angel around the province. When the director learned that Sid was part of the swimming team of Ateneo high school, he felt confident that the actor would be able to handle the underwater scenes of the film. He was also impressed by the acting skills of Sid, who has been part of teleseryes such as Krystala and Etheria. “Sid was a revelation with his intensity and his nuances—especially the accent. He even looked like a local [of Donsol]. The effort he put in this film really deserves notice.”
According to Adolf, a commercial run for Donsol will be scheduled during the last week of November or early December.