Yassi Pressman top bills, with Sef Cadayona, Kaleidoscope World, which bills itself as the first dance film in the country and which is also an official Metro Manila Film Festival entry.
That she landed her first leading role this early in her movie career has had the effect of keeping the 18-year-old actress unable to relax.
Understandable, since she’s competing with the biggest crowd- drawers in the industry.
“Oo, malaki yung pressure. We’re more nervous than ever," Yassi admits.
“Ang mabibigay lang talaga namin is our love for acting and our love for dance," Yassi tells PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during our December 20 interview, at Viva’s Tektite office in Pasig City.
The young actress adds, “We dance to express, not to impress."
She explains, “So, parang, you would really see us doing crumping kapag galit or kahit pag hindi ka dancer. I think if you watch a crumper you’ll really see their story.
“If you watch them even if you don’t know how to dance, you would see and you would be touched.
"That’s what we’re trying to do, to inspire more people and also remind them of our master rapper, siyempre si Francis Magalona, who started the hip-hop community.”
KALEIDOSCOPE WORLD. Yassi plays Elsa in this hip-hop dance film inspired by the music of Francis Magalona, in a role she describes as “sobrang relatable."
She tells the story of Elsa, "She studies in the States, tapos pumunta siya dito to study, then she falls in love with dance.
"She also falls in love, which is a typical, alam mo yun, teenager story.
“Pero along the way, she discovers the other side of Filipinos. Where she’s living kasi, medyo well-off."
"FIRST DANCE MOVIE." Kaleidoscope World bills itself as the first dance movie in the country. How is this different from the foreign films and what can this movie offer to its audience?
Yassi boasts, “It is super local.
“It’s really Pinoy and super relatable.
"Actually, kahit hindi...mga dancers, [they] can watch, kasi you can relate with the family experiences, with the barkada that they have, lalo na rin yung mga teenagers our age."
She repeats, “First Filipino dance film—so that’s what we have.
“I’m not saying naman na don’t watch the other films. Please watch ours also, and sana maka-relate din kayo."
TRIBUTE TO FRANCIS M. According to Yassi, apart from being the "first dance movie in the country," Kaleidoscope is also a tribute to the late Master Rapper Francis M.
“Ito talaga!" she exclaimed. “It is something different kasi this is a tribute to Mr. Francis Magalona and all the people he touched with his music, yung mga na-inspire niya.
“Actually, yung buong hip-hop community, halos sa kanya nagsimula para magsama-sama lahat.
“Like, every song is an empowerment to every Filipino, at sigurado ako na maraming-marami pa rin ang nakaka-miss sa kanya.”
The actress notes that all the songs in the movie are Francis Magalona songs.
"Even the story, even Lando and Elsa. Yung kanta niyang “Lando” with Gloc-9, that’s the name of the character in the song. That’s why we’re named Elsa and Lando also in the movie.”
How did Elmo and Maxene Magalona, Francis M’s children, react to this tribute?
She replies, “Sobrang excited.
"They would tweet pa sometimes na, ‘Congratulations Yassi and Sef we’re so excited for Kaleidoscope World’
“And even Max, last year when I was with her in Party Pilipinas, she would ask, ‘Kamusta na yung shooting niyo?’
“And even Tita Pia [Magalona, Francis M’s widow]. I’d go, like, ’Tita, we’re done na finally after a year of trying to finish the film. And yes, it’s done na and it’s coming out in days, exciting talaga.’"
IT ALMOST DID NOT HAPPEN. Up to now, Yassi cannot believe that their movie will finally will be out in cinemas tomorrow, December 25, and as an MMFF entry, too.
She says, “Kasi last year pa po ‘to, e. It was really an indie movie, then na-stall siya nang matagal.
"We thought na it wouldn’t happen.
"We felt sad and we thought na maybe it’s not meant [to be]. But it was a blessing disguise na we couldn’t shoot [right away], kasi naman mapapasama pala siya sa MMFF.
“And that gave us the reason to finish it. Medyo ni-rush namin kasi madami pa kaming hindi nagawa.
“We had to re-shoot pa, pero sige, okay, kailangan natin ‘to tapusin.
“There’s a reason why it all happened, and with all the support that we got, we got to finish it naman."
What can she say about the general impression that Kaleidoscope World is the underdog movie in the MMFF?
She answers candidly, “I don’t feel sad at all! It’s actually one of the reasons pa for us to be proud about it.
“Na parang grabe, yung mga idol din namin may ipapalabas, like sila Bossing, people who we were with.
“I was with Bossing [Vic Sotto] last year, and working with him was, like, parang amazing for me.
"Hindi naman na we’re competing against them.
"It’s just something na, parang kung sila hindi nila maisip, lalo kami! Parang we can’t absorb na it’s really happening.”
CHRISTMAS PLANS. Yassi says that this Christmas will really be a busy one for her.
But she’s sure to make herself available to her family. “I’m spending Christmas eve and [Christmas] day with my family.
"Probably, we’re gonna check-in, eat a lot, and be fat the next day.”