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POKWANG provides a touch of comic relief

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ZANJOE Marudo leads the cast of the five-episode horror movie Cinco.




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MAINSTREAM CROSSOVER
2 young filmmakers in not-so-conventional Star Cinema flick

By Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:04:00 07/14/2010

Filed Under: Entertainment (general), Cinema

IT?S NO Lloydie-Bea flick, for sure.

Two young filmmakers have crossed over to Star Cinema ? with a celebrity-studded scream fest, no less.

Young turks Nick Olanka and Ato Bautista ? who have worked in independently produced films ? have joined ABS-CBN stalwarts Enrico Santos and Cathy Garcia-Molina, and a Kapamilya neophyte, Frasco Mortiz, in directing the five-episode horror flick ?Cinco,? under the network?s film arm.

The film opened Wednesday.

Olanka recalled that Star Cinema representatives caught his debut film ?Ang Huling Araw ng Linggo? at the Cinemalaya film fest in 2006.

A fresh graduate of UP (major in Film) at that time, Olanka was tapped to join Star Cinema?s Directors? Training Program under award-winning filmmaker Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

?The study plan lasted for a year and a half,? he recalled. He also had on-the-job training in several Star Cinema movies and ABS-CBN shows in the last three years.

?I worked as script continuity and creative consultant in films like ?Miss You Like Crazy? and ?In My Life,?? he recounted. ?I also directed four episodes of the TV drama ?Maalaala Mo Kaya.??

Culminating point

He described ?Cinco? as the culmination of his training in the Star Cinema way of making movies.

In ?Cinco,? Molina was on hand to guide the newcomers, Olanka said. ?She acted as our group mentor.?

The most challenging part was working with a star, Mariel Rodriguez (in the ?Mukha? episode), who was extremely busy. ?She was doing two shows then so we could only shoot for eight hours a day. We had to adjust.?

He also had to adapt with a large crew. ?In the indie films I worked in, like Adolf Alix?s Cinemalaya entry ?Kadin,? we were just 15 in the group. In ?Cinco,? I had to lead 100 people.?

Olanka addressed the issue that ?Cinco? can be a risky proposition since it consists of five episodes directed by five different directors.

?It is still structured like a full-length film. It?s not like a series of shorts. There?s a common thread weaving through the five episodes,? Olanka explained.

Bautista, for his part, has been working steadily with ABS-CBN since age 19 ? starting as trainee writer (on ?Kabalikat Loren Legarda?) a decade ago, and moving up to assistant director (?Pangako sa ?Yo?) and segment producer/director (?Victim Extreme? and ?Star Circle Quest Kids?).

No homecoming

He doesn?t consider ?Cinco? a homecoming because ?I never really left. I just spent the last five years directing and line-producing my own films.?

In 2005, he pegged his debut, the dark drama ?Sa Aking Pagkakagising Mula sa Kamulatan? which received good notices. In 2007, he followed it up with the Robin Padilla thriller ?Blackout? which made the rounds in film fests abroad. In 2008, he made ?Carnivore,? an entry in Cinemanila.

He noted that making his own kind of films primed him well: ?I was able to define my own style as filmmaker.?

His previous works somehow make him a perfect fit for the ?Mukha? episode of ?Cinco,? which stars Maja Salvador and Rayver Cruz. ?The material suited me because my brand of horror is psychological suspense,? said Bautista.

Toughest challenge for him was working with an all-new team. ?I usually work with my regular crew. I have a comfort zone on the set. In ?Cinco,? everything was new. I also had to balance the studio?s expectations with my own filmmaking style.?

Helping him on the set were stars Salvador and Cruz.

?They?re cool. It was a collaborative process. We?d discuss their characters as we went along and changed lines to make them more apt for their roles,? he said. Specifically, ?Maja helped me figure out the female psyche since it?s my first time to have a woman as lead character in a film.?

E-mail: bayanisandiego@hotmail.com



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