Revolver Studios and Reality Entertainment will go full blast in their film production in 2011.
The group recently finished two co-productions, Rock en Roll and Zombadings: Patayin Sa Shokot Si Remington.
Heading the companies are three individuals well-acquainted with the Philippine movie industry: Dondon Monteverde, director Erik Matti and AF Benaza
Dondon Monteverde is the executive producer and managing partner for both companies. He is the son of Regal matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde, who has nearly two decades of production experience for both TV and movies.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talked with Direk Erik about their upcoming projects last March 14 at the office of Post Manila in Makati City.
He revealed three projects: OJT, an action-thriller starring Piolo Pascual (to be co-produced with Spring Films); The Aswang Chronicles, a horror-thriller starring Dingdong Dantes; and a comedy film starring Vhong Navarro that will be shot entirely in China (to be co-produced with Star Cinema).
He said they have plans to launch Phoemela Baranda via sexy flick tentatively titled Punto de Vista.
The two outfits boast the following in-house directors: Topel Lee, Joel Limchoc, Richard Somes, Borgy Torre, and Jerrold Tarog.
Celebrity photographer Jun de Leon, who is part of the group, has started directing TV commercials.
Other members include Peter Collias (who was head scenic artist in Hollywood films like 10,000 B.C., The Matrix, and Moulin Rouge) and Larry Ang (a fight director who honed his skills working on films in China and Hong Kong).
UPCOMING MOVIES. Direk Erik, who has been directing commercials in the last four to five years, said this year, he plans to make a comeback in the film industry. His last movie projects were Exodus (2005) and The Arrival (2009).
The Aswang Chronicles will begin shooting in April. Written and directed by Direk Erik, the movie revolves around a drunk (to be played by Dingdong Dantes) who eventually becomes a hero. Joey Marquez is cast in the film as the "under-the-saya" father of Dingdong's wife.
Dingdong has always wanted to star in an action film after his gay-themed teleserye, I ♥ You Pare. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
Piolo Pascual's movie, OJT, a co-production with Spring Films, will start shooting in July. Written and directed by Direk Erik, the movie, which is inspired by true incidents, will have four lead actors. Piolo will be joined by Joel Torre and Richard Gomez.
"Tungkol ito sa mga preso na pinapalabas para maging hit man at bumabalik sa kulungan. May consultant ako na alam ang nangyayari sa loob ng preso pero the story is fictionalized," Direk Erik said.
Meanwhile, Jerrold Tarog will direct a movie for Viva while Topel Lee will do a movie for Regal. Quark Henares will helm Rock en Roll whichstars Glaiza de Castro and Alwyn Uytingco.
NURTURING LOCAL AUDIENCES. Direk Erik shared his observations about the Filipino movie industry.
"Exciting times ngayon for movies kasi ang tingin namin, nasa junction tayo. A few years ago, it was the height of rom-com [romantic comedies]. We had One More Chance (2007)... A Very Special Love (2008). But now, you get a sense that rom-coms are not working [anymore] for producers.
"A few years ago, horror films were also [popular] with Feng Shui (2004) and Sukob (2006)," he said.
"Ang feeling namin, everyone is looking for something new. We don't claim that it's gonna come from us but ... the audience is kinda ready to accept something else... Dahan-dahan, give them something familiar pero exciting pa rin."
He said that aside from producing movies, they want to build an audience that is receptive to movies that are out-of-the-box and do not rely on formulaic plots.
"What we want is to nurture a local audience... Hindi mo naman ma-blame ang independent filmmakers who [exhibit] the movie outside [the country] 'coz that's the audience talaga. But in the end, we have to think local talaga," said the director of movies Pasiyam, Scorpio Nights 2, Mano Po 2: My Home, Gagamboy, and Exodus.
Is this their way of reaching the masses—tapping mainstream stars to topbill indie films?
"I think so. I'm the last person to admit that we need stars for a movie to work, pero looking at the Metro Manila Filmfest, looking at the box-office... no matter how good the story is, kung wala ka talagang mapag-usapan na artista, it can only go so far—money-wise," Direk Erik said.
He then cited an independently-produced film that also did well in the box-office. "Kimmy Dora made so much money. I think that's the indie movie [we can emulate]."
Kimmy Dora was the launching movie of comedienne Eugene Domingo.
Direk Erik summed up the goal of Revolver Studios and Reality Entertainment:"The dream is to make it big locally and export the movies internationally."