Christopher Ad Castillo on Gretchen Barretto’s portrayal in Cinemalaya entry The Diplomat Hotel: “It’s a different Gretchen. It’s something she has never played before.”

Christopher Ad Castillo on preserving the legacy of his late father Celso Ad Castillo: “I rush headlong to that legacy! I don’t back away from it. I rush headlong to that legacy. My dad worked hard for that name, you know. My father worked hard for that name and I’m gonna rush headlong to it.The way I can preserve the legacy or honor him is honor the last name.”


All-praises ang comebacking director na si Christopher Ad Castillo kay Gretchen Barretto, ang bidang aktres ng The Diplomat Hotel.

Ang pelikula ay entry sa ongoing 9th Cinemalaya Filmfest New Breed category.

“She’s a very, very good actress! She’s very, very good in this film!” sunud-sunod na sambit si Direk Chris, nang makausap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) noong July 26, matapos ang opening ceremonies ng 9th Cinemalaya Filmfest sa CCP Main Theater.

Si Christopher Ad Castillo ang anak ng yumaong master director na si Celso Ad Castillo. Namana niya ang pagiging direktor ng kanyang ama.

Malaon siyang nanirahan sa Amerika at nagbabalik ngayon, bilang New Breed competing direktor sa Cinemalaya.

Ayon pa sa direktor, si Gretchen daw, bilang movie actress, “hasn’t done anything like this.”

Papel ng isang broadcast journalist ang ginampanan ni Gretchen sa The Diplomat Hotel, ang Cinemalaya entry na kabilang sa suspense-horror genre.

CHANCE TO WIN. Bukod sa pagpuri ni Direk Chris sa kanyang bidang aktres, nais din niyang maiuwi ni Gretchen ang Best Actress Award sa New Breed category.

“I hope she gets a chance to win [Best Actress]!” sabi pa ni Direk Chris.

“And if she does win, it’s bound to be well-deserved! And there’s no controversy!” Chris Ad Castillo so declared.

“There’s no controversy,” pag-ulit niya. “I mean... Cinemalaya controversy, if she wins, you know... let’s just end that, once and for all, whether her relationship [with Cinemalaya benefactor, Mr. Antonio ’Tony Boy’ Cojuangco] [might be misconstrued as an issue for winning the award]...

“I think she [Gretchen] is very good in the film. It’s a different Gretchen. It’s something she has never played before.”

Mula sa pagiging teen star noong mid-’80s, naging sexy star si Gretchen in the ’90s. Then she did light drama roles.

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Ngayon, sa Cinemalaya entry, isa namang seryosong broadcast journalist na nag-cover ng mga kababalaghang nangyayari sa lumang hotel sa Baguio City ang ginampanan ng actress-socialite.

“And very damaged [character],” pagtukoy rin ni Direk Chris, na tulad din ng kanyang amang direktor ay kilala sa pagbibitiw ng mga kontrobersiyal na pahayag noong nabubuhay pa’t aktibo sa paggawa ng mga pelikula.

Naalala pa nga ni Direk Chris ang nangyari noong Manila filmfest scam, sometime during the last decade, kung saan nasangkot si Gretchen, bilang witness sa nangyaring dayaan sa awards.

Pag-alala pa niya, “I remember that... the Gabby [thing]?... oh, yeah, yeah... I was already there. The Lolit Solis [thing], right?”

Going back to Gretchen Barretto, naniniwala rin ang kanyang direktor sa The Diplomat Hotel na intelligent actress ang kanyang bida.

“And she’s very nice. She’s very giving to me; very sharing, giving food, whatever...”

CELSO AD CASTILLO’S LEGACY. A lot of people will probably judge Christopher Ad Castillo’s film, The Diplomat Hotel, based on the achievements of his father as a filmmaker.

“And I rush headlong to that legacy! I don’t back away from it. I rush headlong to that legacy!” makahulugang sambit ni Direk Chris.

“My dad worked hard for that name, you know. My father worked hard for that name and I’m gonna rush headlong to it.

“The way I can preserve the legacy or honor him is honor the last name,” sabi pa ni Direk Christopher.

MOST TO LOSE.” Patuloy pa ng baguhang direktor, “I know the pressure of the film, you know.

“That’s why my producer, Joji Alonso [of Quantum Films] has been very, very good and [she’s] making sure that I have the best product onscreen.

“Because, sabi niya sa akin, she knows that I have the most to lose in this festival—just because of that legacy!”

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MESSIAH.” At the height of his popularity as movie director or filmmaker of note, Celso Ad Castillo was a self-proclaimed “Messiah of Local Cinema.” Siya rin ay binansagang Celso Kid, at Local Movies’ “Enfant Terrible” dahil sa kanyang unconventional ways sa pagdidirek ng pelikula.

Kabilang sa mga classic films na ginawa o idinirek ng yumaong Celso Ad Castillo ang mga obrang pinagbidahan ni Vilma Santos, tulad ng Burlesk Queen (1977) at Pagputi Ng Uwak, Pag-Itim Ng Tagak (1978); ang unang pinagbidahang pelikula ni Gloria Diaz, Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat Ng Lupa (1974); at FPJ-starrers, tulad ng Asedillo (1971) at Santo Domingo (1972).

Meanwhile, sa genre ng suspense-horror ay naging markado rin ang Susan Roces-starrers na Patayin Mo Sa Sindak Si Barbara (1974) at Maligno (1977); at Kung Bakit Dugo Ang Kulay Ng Gabi (1974) na isa raw sa mga paborito ni Direk Chris sa mga pelikulang ginawa ng kanyang yumaong ama.

“It was ahead of its time; one of the early films that used flashback-fast forward [structure]. No one has a copy of that film,” banggit pa ni Chris sa horror film na prinodyus at pinagbidahan ng hindi na aktibong si Alona Alegre.

Magkakaroon uli ng pagtatanghal sa CCP ang ilan sa mga pelikulang dinirek ni Celso Ad Castillo, sa ongoing 9th Cinemalaya Filmfest.


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