Kita Kita, co-produced by Spring Films and Viva Films, was shown from July 19 to August 15 in the Philippines. The indie film went on to gross Php320 million, besting the 2015 historical biopic Heneral Luna (which earned Php257 million) and becoming the highest-grossing Pinoy indie film of all time. Spring Films was co-founded by actor Piolo Pascual and director Joyce Bernal (photo below), together with talent manager Erickson Raymundo.
In an interview with YES!, Kita Kita writer-director Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo (flanked by Alessandra de Rossi and Empoy, right photo) lets us in on some behind-thescenes facts about the movie.
• It was originally a love-triangle story.
“That was the choice of Lucky Blanco, the producer from Spring Films,” Direk Sigrid says. “Meron siyang tatlong actors noon. So Alessandra, Empoy, and another actor. They had an existing script, and they’d been pitching it na ata for a year. And then, no’ng nabanggit niya sa ’kin, kasi naghahanap siya ng director for that, nagustuhan ko ’yong Alessandra-Empoy, challenging kasi siya. Kakaiba ’yong pairing nila and the other actor. Actually, dapat love triangle. Iba talaga ’yong kuwento na ’yon.
“When they gave me the script, no’ng binasa ko, talagang hindi ko style. So sabi ko, ‘Meron akong naisip na concept para dito lang kina Alessandra at Empoy. Pinili ko silang dalawa, ’yong mas okey na magconcentrate. Take it or leave it. Either di n’yo magustuhan, okey lang, di na ako ’yong magdirek sa inyo, but here’s my pitch.’
“So sinabi ko, nagustuhan ni Lucky. ’Pinakilala niya ako kina Joyce Bernal, and pinitch ko sa kanila, ‘Ito ’yong kuwento.’ Nagustuhan nila. Nag-take-chance sila. They waited for my script. And they read it, and they produced it. Ibang-iba siya. It’s totally different, even the title. It’s really different from the first one.”
• What eventually became the film’s title was the result of a shooting problem.
Time constraints forced Direk Sigrid to set the story in Sapporo, Japan, where she had never been. So she turned to Google for her research, something she says she doesn’t want to do again for her future scripts.
“Talagang ni-research ko pati pamasahe, how to get there, the geography. No’ng nagpunta kami do’n, naiyak ako, kasi, ay, tama ’yong research ko!
“The foot spa, wala ’yon sa script. Hindi na-approve ’yong location namin. So they gave me a location—’ yong ashiyu [the Japanese word for foot spa]—and I made the script the night before that. Actually, lasing ako no’n. Sabi ko, ‘Bakit hindi naapprove ’yong location, bukas na ’yong shoot? Kailangan ko mag-revise! Ano ba ’tong ashiyu?’ I see you. Kita kita. Sabi ko, ‘A, puwede ’yon.’ Kaya ko ’nilagay sa script ’yon. Gano’n lang. ’Yong mga location na hindi na-approve at di masyado na-plan, do’n ko na ni-revise sa Japan.”
• The memorable lines of Empoy’s character in the film were a combination of Direk’s writing and Empoy’s ad-libs.
“Nasa script pa rin talaga. Pero ’yong mga major ad-libs talaga, sa boat— ’yong mga ‘salbabida ni Dagul, relo ni Bonel Balingit’—nako, puro ’yan kay Empoy. Mga patawa niya ’yon. Hindi lahat really from the script. But it’s the way he says it. For example, ’yong ‘Similarities, I think click tayo.’ Ilang take kami do’n sa similarities. Hindi niya masabi sa English. Pagdating ng ika-third, ‘I think click tayo, we have similar… rities.’ Okey na sa ’kin ’yon, kasi it’s funny.”•