jorel & anj

on what it’s like to make it to the Cannes Film Fes­ti­val

Scout - - CONTENTS - In­ter­view by MARA SAN­TIL­LAN MIANO

“IT MEANS ‘BUR­DEN’ IN FILIPINO,” Jorel Lis­ing, 24, ex­plains. Pasan, the 23-minute sci- thriller short lm he made with his the­sis group­mates Apa Ag­bayani and Jazmin eyes, made it to this year’s Cannes Film Fes­ti­val Court Me­trage Short Film Cor­ner, a plat­form ded­i­cated to as­pir­ing and es­tab­lished short lm pro­fes­sion­als who wish to present their work to pro­duc­ers and pro­duc­tion houses for wide­spread re­lease.

The syn­op­sis: “The cru­cial im­por­tance of mem­ory on mod­ern man’s psy­che and per­sonal history; seek­ing to ex­plore the bound­aries and con­se­quences of tech­nol­ogy on men­tal health. At its core, asan is a per­sonal tale of heart­break, the ex­cesses of am­bi­tion and the bonds of love.

Lis­ing, cur­rently a free­lance di­rec­tor for dig­i­tal ads, talks about his Cannes ex­pe­ri­ence and how he deals with the fact that lm­mak­ing, at the end of the day, is a busi­ness.

What was the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind Pasan?

My group­mates and I wanted to do a science ction lm. We were inspired by the un­der­stated sci- T se­ries Black Mir­ror, which looks into how too much tech­nol­ogy can be a prob­lem to mod­ern so­ci­ety. We wanted to do some­thing like that, but set lo­cally. The fo­cus is also mainly on re­la­tion­ships. I also in­cor­po­rated a lot of psy­cho­log­i­cal themes—my sis­ter is a psy­chi­a­trist.

How did you plan the pro­duc­tion?

eo­ple warned Apa, Jaz and I that group­ing with your friends for your col­lege the­sis will only re­sult in a ght, but be­fore we started the whole thing, Apa, Jaz and I agreed to keep it at a cer­tain level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism.

The bud­get is around 1 0,000, so since there are three of us, we shelled out 0,000 each. But we also got a few grants and some spon­sors. Food was mostly spon­sored, and that was a huge help in terms of cut­ting down pro­duc­tion cost. The shoot lo­ca­tions were also scouted with the help of friends and fam­ily. My dad used to own a com­mis­sary, and we shot there. The mar­ket­place scene where the doc­tors meet was shot in Home De­pot in Or­ti­gas.

Over­all prepa­ra­tion took around two months, but we made sure to plan ev­ery­thing ac­cord­ingly so we’d nish all the scenes in two days. If we stretched it any longer, we’d have to spend more money.

And the cast?

We had a cast­ing call and a bunch of ac­tors came over. We gave them the script, and briefed them about the tone of the lm. Ac­tor icco Manalo (son of co­me­dian Jose Manalo) and clas­si­cal theater ac­tress Elle elasco stood out. We also knew that two of our Ate­neo pro­fes­sors, Mike Coroza and Ariel Dic­cion, did theater and po­etry so we ap­proached them and they were will­ing to sup­port us.

What was it like di­rect­ing your pro­fes­sors?

It was weird You’re used to lis­ten­ing to them, but on set, you call the shots. I had to tell them what to do, etc. But it’s a give and take thing at the end of the day. As a di­rec­tor, I like to pre­pare as much as I can be­cause there will al­ways be fuck-ups. With Pasan, the tough­est was prob­a­bly time con­straint. We’d spend too long on one scene and would have to cut down shoot­ing time for other scenes.

What was your trip to Cannes like?

I learned about the busi­ness side of lm­mak­ing more than any­thing. It’s a three- oor lm mar­ket, ba­si­cally, full of peo­ple buy­ing and selling lm rights. I learned that you have to treat the movie at the end of the day as a prod­uct. Like any prod­uct, you need mar­ket­ing. You need to study your mar­ket, your au­di­ence. And that will af­fect how you write your lm. It puts lim­i­ta­tions to the cre­ative as­pect, the writ­ing, the treat­ment, and ev­ery­thing.

I went with Lyka Gon­za­lez and Yumi Catabi­jan, be­cause I shot their lm Agos: The

Manila Dream, a lm about ur­ban mi­gra­tion, and it made it to the Court Me­trage too.

What does it take to write a good film?

Imag­i­na­tion. Ab­sorb the things you like, and take the good things from it, and piece it to­gether to make some­thing orig­i­nal.

How do you feel about hav­ing to put lim­i­ta­tions on your­self as a film­maker

in or­der to mon­e­tize your work?

It’s a chal­lenge, but it’s also in­trin­sic to the job. You need to know your au­di­ence so that they can ap­pre­ci­ate the work you make. As a new­comer, you’re try­ing to get a foothold in the in­dus­try. obody trusts your vi­sion yet. I think you con­stantly have to prove that you can make a good prod­uct in spite of your lim­i­ta­tions.

Fi­nan­cial lim­i­ta­tions are more of a prob­lem, since you have to gure out how you can ac­tu­al­ize your vi­sion, with­out alien­at­ing your au­di­ence. Of course, there are other ways to solve prob­lems other than just money, but that’s the chal­lenge of it.

What was the re­cep­tion like for

Pasan?

Good. A lot of peo­ple tell me it re­minds them of Eter­nal Sun­shine of the Spot­less Mind, but we didn’t have that in mind while mak­ing the lm.

How did you grow af­ter this whole ex­pe­ri­ence?

It gives me more con dence to make more movies. It af rms me about my vi­sion—like, okay this is what I want to do, and this is how I want to do it. A lot of Filipinos shoot lms that do well both here and abroad, and I want to con­trib­ute to that, to make Filipino lm­mak­ers more con dent about what they do.

I’m plan­ning to join lo­cal lm com­pe­ti­tions, like Cin­e­malaya. I’m also brew­ing up this idea about a Mar­cos lm, writ­ten from the per­spec­tive of our gen­er­a­tion.

Photos: Scenes from Pasan

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