Right after dubbing scenes for her upcoming movie Kulam, Judy Ann Santos went straight to A Taste of L.A. Café at Roces Avenue, Quezon City for an intimate interview about the indie movie that she starred in and co-produced. Juday and Ploning director Dante Nico Garcia attended the interview yesterday, September 1, to talk about their period film shot in Cuyo, Palawan.
Ploning is officially the Philippine entry to the 2009 Oscar Awards' best foreign language film category. Panoramanila Pictures Co.'s movie beat Caregiver, Tribu, and Endo for the honor of representing the country in the Oscars derby.
Last year, the indie film Donsol was chosen as the Philippine entry, but it failed to make the cut. The last Filipino film that was able to enter the Top 18 entries of the Oscars was the Gil Portes movie Munting Tinig (international title: Small Voices) way back in 2002.
"Mahabang pagkanerbiyos pa ito," says Judy Ann with a smile. "Yung masabi lang na representative ng Pilipinas, sobra-sobrang kaligayahan na yun, e. Yung masabi na kasama ka sa 18 na finalists, bonggang-bongga na yun. Yung makasama ka sa lima [the Top 5 will be mentioned during the Academy Awards nominations], napakabuti kong tao na talaga!"
The list of foreign films that will enter the Oscars will be officially released on January 2009.
This is the first time that Judy Ann has tried being a producer. How was the experience?
"Nagka-calculate nga ako noon then sabi ko, saan ka [profit] nagpunta? Bakit wala ka pa sa piling ko? Parang naligaw ka...pero it's part of the sacrifice and risk. Parang isang paa ang ihuhulog mo sa bangin. Parang bahala ka na Lord kung saan ka pupulutin."
PLONING BEATS CAREGIVER. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Juday's reaction to the news that her film beat Sharon Cuneta's Caregiver for the honor of being the country's representative in the 81st edition of the Academy Awards.
"Siyempre, masaya. Hindi na ako na-tense kasi kahit sino naman sa amin ni Ate [Sharon Cuneta] ang makapasok, malaking bagay na yun, kasi we don't see each other na ibang tao na talaga. Kung sino man ang makapasok, the mere fact na isa kami sa pinagpilian, ibig sabihin, parehong maganda ang pelikula namin. Privilege actually nga sa amin yun, e."
Three members of the Film Academy of the Philippines voted for Ploning while two members of the special committee opted for Star Cinema's Caregiver.
Direk Dante explained that the next step for them is to raise awareness about the film. There are around 1,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and they must be able to convince at least 300 members to vote for Ploning, so that the film could be included in the Top 18 films.
ADOPTED CUYONONS. For the movie Ploning, Judy Ann and the rest of the cast members spent three weeks on the island of Cuyo last February. From August 25 to 30, Judy Ann and Beth Tamayo-Wong returned to Direk Dante's hometown to grace the screening of Ploning and to help improve the town's hospital. Little did they know that they would become adopted daughters of Cuyo.
"In-acknowledge ng Palawan government ang contribution ng Ploning sa culture and history," says Direk Dante. "Noong time kasi na nagsu-shoot kami ng Ploning, ini-invite na kami ng Office of the Mayor pero hindi kami makapunta kasi siksik yung schedule namin. Yun pala ang balak nila noon pa. Noong time na nagsu-shoot pa lang kami, plano nilang i-adopt na si Juday pero na-delay."
Juday and Beth received plaques of honor from the grateful town. Juday is very grateful about being adopted as well.
"Siyempre, masayang-masaya ako na finally may probinsiya ako na nakikita ko kasi si Daddy taga-Pampanga at si Mommy taga-Bacolod, pero hindi ko naman napupuntahan at hindi ako familiar sa surroundings.
"Masaya ang feeling na in-adopt ka dahil malaki ang
paniniwala nila sa ‘yo. Nakakataba ng puso na gusto kang ampunin ng mga taong
ito. Mahaba nga dapat ang speech ko pero naging apat na sentences na lang kasi
naiiyak na ako."
Ploning will be screened at Mogwai in Cubao on September 5, 10, 18 and 27, 2008. International screenings of Ploning are scheduled on September 18 to 20 at San Antonio, Texas; September 29-30 at Los Angeles, California; and October 3-4 at San Francisco, California.
Judy Ann will soon be seen in ABS-CBN's upcoming teleserye Humiling Ako sa Langit. It is expected to air in October and will also star Derek Ramsey, Will Devaughn, and Rafael Rosell.