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April 11, 2012

The world is grey

This is the first of three posters that we are developing for our new film.


April 6, 2012

A house of cats

I live in a two-bedroom bungalow with twelve cats. Upon entering the door, a tall bookshelf stands on your left and on the right next to the front window is another book shelf the height of a console containing more books, DVDs and memorabilia. Further to the right is the television with a DVD player, and a magazine stand. A framed poster of Krzysztof Kiewslowski's Red hangs on the wall. There is no sofa. On occasions, like movie marathon evenings, a rug is laid on the floor with large throw pillows.  

A four-seater dining table occupies much of the dining space next to a small, grey refrigerator. Opposite the table a framed photo of my ancestor Datu Namli adorns the wall next to a certificate. Then there is the modest kitchen with well-stacked cabinets, a microwave oven, electric stove and other essentials. The toilet and bath is positioned at the rear of the house, with litter boxes lining up to the back door. 

I converted one bedroom into a home office. A calendar featuring hundreds of cats welcomes you to the room. An iMac sits on a white table together with external hard drives, a mug containing pens, markers, scissors and a ruler, a notebook, a stack of scratch paper and half ream of copier paper. Adjacent to the table, a printer sits on a sturdy box containing documents. A brown sofa bed takes up the opposite side of the room next to a cabinet and plastic boxes holding production equipment. The second bedroom is literally the "bedroom." 

The cats are strictly indoor cats. They freely roam the house, except for the office which I keep closed at all times. Now and then I allow a cat or two to observe me at work provided they do not saunter on the table, lie down on the keyboard, or pounce on the monitor. 

On mornings the house is covered with a thin film of cat hair. I bought a vacuum cleaner a while back so that things would be a lot easier but the cats hate the sound of it. They go nuts whenever I use it. So I am content with the old traditional method. Damp rug soaked in a vinegar, baking soda and water solution. That way I keep my cats' sanity intact. 

April 5, 2012

Partying in Bacolod

I like Bacolod for a lot of reasons. The food. The hospitality. The awesome view from the plane when it touches down (it reminded me of my trip to Iowa in 2008 for my writing residency). And of course, the parties. 

I was in Bacolod in mid February for the fourth edition of the Cinema Rehiyon Film Festival, a gathering of regions-based (regional if you may like) filmmakers and their supporters to showcase the past year's harvest of films from anywhere outside of Manila. For four days, we watched films and at night we discussed the films as we partied.

Among the highlights of the Festival was the official party which was held at the Art District in Lopues Mandalangan. One filmmaker quipped that it's the reason why filmmakers would always want to attend Cinema Rehiyon. "The Festival throws the best party," he said. "I think it gets equal preparation as the festival programming," I joked. The party is getting quite a reputation. And enjoyed it I did. 

The party is just getting started.

Filmmaker Mes de Guzman and film programmer Philip Cheah.

Davao's pride Arnel Mardoquio, Ed Lejano of Manila, and Cebu's Bambi Beltran and Victor Villanueva.

Busong's Auraeus Solito poses with a friend.

Film director Peque Gallaga in a light moment with actress Cherie Gil.

Southern Exposure. Ivan Zaldarriaga, Arnel Barbarona, Adjani Arumpac, myself and Christian Linaban.

Thanks to Lawrence Fajardo and Arnel Barbarona for the photos. 

April 3, 2012

We have a picture lock

After toiling for weeks in the editing room with my editor Arnel Barbarona, we have a picture lock. It is ten minutes shorter than we have projected. Editing on site during the shoot made our work easier. At the end of each day, we assembled the shots so that judgment calls could be made whether scenes worked or not, or if it was necessary to do a reshoot. This scenario is very efficient when shooting in a distant location where a reshoot posted logistical and financial difficulties. We shot the film in Cotabato City which was a seven-hour drive from my base station (it used to be only four hours away but heavy road construction made the travel grueling). 

Now, we're doing color correction (or, what's the appropriate term since the film is in black and white?) and synching sound. In about a week, we will start subtitling and sound design.

Here's the first look at my new film Qiyamah.