Social networking sites Facebook and Twitter are once again abuzz with the latest controversy.
A video posted by a certain Jeff Hernandez has sparked ill remarks from theater actors, directors, and other industry players.
The video was a recording of a TV interview of young filmmaker Rafael Santos on the show Cityscape, which aired last June 24 on the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC).
Santos’s film Samarito is competing in this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival under the short films category.
Samarito is about a robber who gets caught in an awkward and critical situation that would test his conscience and temperament.
In the interview, host Lexi Schulze asked Santos this question: "You also used theater actors for your film, is it usually the case when you do shorts or independents, do you usually get theater actors and not some of the big names in the industry?"
This was Santos’s reply: "Ah, well, personally, I find the theater actors are better to work with because they don’t complain; you can feed them Sky Flakes three meals a day, and pay them in cat food basically..."
"Because they usually do it for free a lot of the time," Schulze interjected.
"And they’re never late, and they cry when you want them to cry, other actors kasi you have to hit them first..." Santos continued.
CLICK HERE to watch the video.
"VIOLENT" REACTIONS. Santos’s remarks irked many actors and directors who watched the video.
These are some of the comments that PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) saw posted on Facebook and Twitter:
Award-winning director and writer Joey Reyes said this on Facebook: "OMG!!! I do not, can not and refuse to believe this. The INTEGRITY OF THEATER ACTORS is not measured by their capacity for subservience. IT IS CALLED LOVE FOR THE ART AND CRAFT. It is called PROFESSIONALISM. I am so HURT by such careless statements."
A theater actor himself, John "Sweet" Lapus made this short statement also on Facebook: "Napaka bobo mo Rafael Santos. Kawawa."
In reply to a certain Direk Pablo, top comedienne Eugene Domingo—who began her acting career in theater—also made this comment on Facebook: "If you know him personally, advise him well. sayang baka walang manuod ng trabaho niya dahil lang sa ayaw niyang mag apologize. obviously WE ARE OFFENDED. taga theatre ka man o hindi. THIS IS NOT FUNNY NOR PETTY. THIS IS PAINFUL. DO NOT GENERALIZE. BE MORE SENSITIVE. PLEASE."
Actor and makeup artist Ricci Chan, who starred in the hit stageplay Care Divas, posted this on Twitter: "Naku, Rafael Santos, you arrogant fool. Making a punchline out of Theatre Actors is the worst thing you could have done in your life."
Ricci also commented on Facebook after it was mentioned that Santos, apparently, is the son of formidable lawyer Katrina Legarda.
He said, "Wala akong paki-alam kung anak pa siya ni Mahoma. ako anak ako ni Lord. at ang sabi ni Lord, do unto others what you want others to do unto you. at dahil inalipusta niya ang estado ng pagiging artista ng teatro, pwes. boycott siya."
Theater, film, and TV actor Joel Saracho also said on Facebook: "And the mother is MY friend, a very close friend. kaso lang nga, arogante ang batang ito."
Actress Kalila Aguilos also had this to say: "...Very bad choice of words. He was making a statement about commercial actors being difficult but dragged "theatre actor" through the mud in the process. He needs to publicly apologize and explain himself."
Kapuso actress Glaiza de Castro, who is starring in two Cinemalaya entries this year, said on Facebook: "Di na nga binabayaran ng maayos kung pagsalitaan pa ganun ganun nalang?? Talaga pwede cat food?? Ikaw kaya? Tapos umarte ka pa. Ingat sa pagiging cool tsong."
Singer-actress Agot Isidro on Twitter, in reply to friends who were also engaged in a conversation about Santos: "Get ko na! Nang-insulto para magpatawa. E di nakakatawa. Kain na Lang sya ng catfood."
Film director Chris Martinez, who won best director in the 2008 edition of the Cinemalaya for his film 100, also gave his comment on Facebook: "Sino bang mga artista ang kinuha niya? si hello kitty? si garfield? SO MGA FRIENDS, ALAM NYO NA -- SA JULY 15 ANG OPENING. ANO ANG DAPAT NATING GAWIN SA HAMBOG NA ’TO?!!!"
From Andrew de Real, comedian and founder of The Library in Malate, on Facebook: "Cat food???!!!! skyflakes???!! anu naman akala niya sa mga theater actors. mga hungry artists at walang panlasa sa food na pang tao??!! make sure your brain is in gear before you open your mouth dear!"
Actress G Tongi also gave her point of view on the matter on Facebook. She wrote: "I think that he was trying to make a point that artistas have high demands.. he just went way too overboard. Pero what do you expect? Bagets pa kase and this is his first film.. tsk tsk tsk. Sayang but maybe he was trying to be controversial noh?"
She also added, "Oh I agree he is way out of line. I am not justifying his actions. I am trying to give reasons why he could be so stupid enough to say these things. gets?"
Emerson Reyes, a young director who is also competing in the 2011 Cinemalaya Film Festival short film category gave this exclusive statement to PEP via text message:
"I’m with Rafa sa Cinemalaya Shorts A program. And I think his statement is really offensive to theater actors.
"May respeto ako sa sining ng mga taga teatro dahil sa kanilang professionalism, talento at pagmamahal sa kanilang ginagawa.
"Ni minsan hindi ko sila pinapakain ng Sky Flakes at kung gagawin ko man sasamahan ko ng Nutella. Nakakahiya ang sinabi niya.
"Sa Cinemalaya, yung pelikula nya lalabas ako at gagawin kong yosi break.
"Sana matuto siya ng respeto. Kung ako ang mentors nya, mahihiya ako sa binitawan nyang salita. He tried to sound witty. But no. Fail. Bastos."
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) is open for any statements from Rafael Santos regarding this issue, although a source says the young filmmaker will not apologize since his statement was "taken out of context."