cin­e­malaya’s pu­song bato

Stones may break your bones and quite pos­si­bly your heart, too, ac­cord­ing to this year’s Cin­e­malaya best film

Scout - - CONTENTS - In­ter­view by MARTIN DIEGOR

AT SOME POINT in our lives, some­thing is bound to hit us hard in the head and make us fall at on our faces. It could be a rock, it could be love, it could be both. Such was the story of Cin­e­malaya ’s best lm, Pu­song Bato, di­rected by 23year old Mar­tika Ramirez Es­co­bar, a lm ma­jor from the Univer­sity of The Philip­pines.

One day, Mar­tika found her­self ran­domly think­ing, what if I fell in love with a rock? (Why so? She has no idea). She was so fas­ci­nated with the con­cept that she looked it up and found that at­trac­tion to inan­i­mate ob­jects is real. It’s called ob­jec­tophilia, a strong xa­tion out of love and com­mit­ment to items or struc­tures. Ac­cord­ing to stud­ies, ob­jec­tophiles com­monly be­lieve in an­i­mism, think­ing that even life­less things have souls, feel­ings, and in­tel­li­gence.

“I re­searched the whole thing for four years be­fore my the­sis se­mes­ter. I wanted to pur­sue that con­cept for my other class pro­duc­tions but ended up hav­ing doubts if I could pull it off. But for my the­sis lm, I just knew I had to do it. I had a feel­ing that I was ready,” she says. Well, the golden balan­gay pretty much proves she was. You re­ally love movies, don’t you? What got you started? I grew up in a cre­ative fam­ily. My grandma stud­ied ne arts in col­lege and my mom is a mass com­mu­ni­ca­tion grad­u­ate. They are the arts and crafts types who nur­tured an artis­tic at­mos­phere at home. In the ‘90s, handy­cams were some­how sta­ple house­hold items. So when I was a kid, my grand­fa­ther got one of those for our fam­ily. It was my mother who would of­ten use the cam­era to take videos of any­thing and ev­ery­thing.

As a kid, I re­mem­ber be­ing amazed by how this small de­vice cap­tured re­al­ity. Luck­ily, when I got a bit older, my mom al­lowed me to use our handy­cam. It quickly be­came my fa­vorite toy. With­out know­ing it, I al­ready had my own stack of video­tapes, all full of shots of our pets, house and fam­ily.

How did you know it’s what you wanted to do? I have al­ways been in­ter­ested in mov­ing pic­tures but it was only in high school when I de­cided to take it se­ri­ously. Dur­ing my “rocker” phase in high school, with match­ing black nail pol­ish and check­ered Vans, I got fond of watch­ing lo­cal mu­sic videos. It’s just sim­ply my two fa­vorite things in the world—mu­sic and movies. Then I learned that many of my fa­vorite mu­sic video di­rec­tors stud­ied lm­mak­ing in col­lege. I thought, “Wow, it’s a le­git course!” Then and there, I said, “I want to take up lm and be­come a mu­sic video di­rec­tor lm­maker.” Must be re­ally ex­cit­ing to be part of Cin­e­malaya. How was the ex­pe­ri­ence? It was ex­tra spe­cial! I have been a fol­lower of the fes­ti­val for al­most half a decade al­ready, so it is just over­whelm­ing to watch my lm in the same screen where I rst saw many of the works that had inspired me as a lm­maker.

It’s also cool be­cause I got to meet a lot of new peo­ple—fel­low lm­mak­ers, in­dus­try

pro­fes­sion­als, lm en­thu­si­asts and of course, peo­ple who got to see our work.

But the best part of Cin­e­malaya for me is our screen­ings. It’s the best feel­ing in the world to see and hear peo­ple re­act to im­ages that were once only ideas in my head. It felt sur­real, like a shared dream. What’s it like work­ing with ac­claimed ac­tress Mailes Kanapi? I re­mem­ber her telling me that she’s crazy. She re­ally is, and it is per­fect! Since we’re both ad­mit­tedly crazy, it be­came much eas­ier to work with each other. No doubt that she is an amaz­ing ac­tress. She’s a great col­lab­o­ra­tor too. There are a num­ber of de­ci­sions in our shoot made by both of us. What as­pect of pro­duc­ing Pu­song Bato did you find most chal­leng­ing? It has to be the writ­ing process. The urry of ideas, imag­ined scenes, char­ac­ters, and the­sis dead­lines just drove me crazy. It’s a nev­erend­ing strug­gle to gauge if the script is at its best ver­sion.

The rest of the process from pre- to post­pro­duc­tion went smoothly, thanks to my very lovely, pas­sion­ate, and ti­wang team. Where do you see Philip­pine Cin­ema in the next five years? It’s hard to tell, and I’m not the best per­son to ask but, from the eyes of a new­comer and a young lm­maker such as my­self, I can say that I can only see good things for Philip­pine Cin­ema.

It has dras­ti­cally changed through­out the years, thanks to our history, cul­ture, gov­ern­ment, etc. It re­ally is an ever-chang­ing in­dus­try. Right now, peo­ple still ask about the dif­fer­ence be­tween main­stream and in­die but I think that in ve years, that wouldn’t be much of an is­sue any­more. If it still is, it will be more about the

“Peo­ple still ask about the dif­fer­ence be­tween main­stream and in­die films, but I think that in five years, that wouldn’t be much of an is­sue any­more.”

pur­pose of the lm (busi­ness or art), rather than the style, form, or man­ner of sto­ry­telling that peo­ple will use to com­pare the two la­bels.

Gladly, re­cent years have proven that even the for­mula that we know and are so used to is al­ready start­ing to change. There are many game chang­ers in the in­dus­try and the Filipino au­di­ence now seems to be more open-minded. The boom of grant-giv­ing fes­ti­vals is also proof that there is hope for the brave and cre­ative lm­maker who wants to bring his her lm to life, even with­out the big stu­dios. The ex­is­tence of such fes­ti­vals is im­por­tant be­cause they are the ones who have the power to shape the Filipino au­di­ence into a more crit­i­cal one. Do you have a dream movie that you want to di­rect and pro­duce? Right now, I have two. One is a short lm, another meta- lm that would be the third in­stall­ment of this tril­ogy I’m mak­ing that in­volves lm gen­res. What I can tell you is that it’s a mod­ern

bomba lm. The other one, a po­ten­tially ful­l­length pro­ject, in­volves a mer­maid. I wouldn’t want to spoil any­thing yet. But I hope these projects hap­pen! If you were to fall in love with an ob­ject, what would it be?

A cam­era.

Above: Af­ter an earth­quake, Cinta Dela Cruz (Mailes Kanapi) wakes up with a strong fas­ci­na­tion for a rock she found ly­ing in front of her.

Clock­wise from left: A young Cinta (Anna De­roca) was once lo­cal cin­ema’s sweet­heart, here paired with mati­nee idol Edgardo Salvador (Acey Aguilar). The of­fi­cial poster of Pu­song Bato. A funny ex­change be­tween Cinta and a lo­cal pas­tor giv­ing her ad­vice...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.