Since her feature film debut in Jim Libiran’s “Ninja Party” in 2015, Elora Españo has become one of the most sought-after actors in the independent film circuit.
No role is too big or too small for the theater-trained actress and over the last two years, Elora has been consistent in delivering memorable performances in films like “Tandem,” “Gayuma,” “Tuos,” “Purgatoryo,” “Siphayo,” “Seklusyon” and “Birdshot.”
Last year, the dusky beauty received a lot of kudos for her lead performance in the Cinemalaya feature “Baconaua.” According to director Joseph Israel Laban, Elora was even a hit with audiences in the Busan International Film Festival and the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival where the film was screened.
Elora also caught the eye of television producers who cast her in shows like “Karelasyon,” “Ipaglaban Mo” and “Wagas” as well as advertisers as she eventually found herself doing digital ads as well.
Because of her increasing visibility, it was no surprise that fast food giant Jollibee cast her in this year’s series of #KwentongJollibee short videos for Valentine’s Day.
“I immediately grabbed the opportunity to work with Kwentong Jollibee, even though I hadn’t read the script for the video they wanted me in,” Elora told InterAksyon in a recent interview.
Inspired by true stories, the love-themed #KwentongJollibee videos were such a big hit last year in social media, particularly with millennials, that there was a strong clamor for a fresh batch. The new videos, which premiered over the weekend, are Joel Ruiz’s “Homecoming,” Theodore Boborol’s “Signs” and Ianco dela Cruz’s “Status” where Elora was cast in the lead role.
Dela Cruz, who directed last year’s viral “Vow” video for #KwentongJollibee, said Elora had been recommended by Jollibee’s chief marketing officer Francis Flores who thought the actress bore a striking resemblance to the real Kat, the hard-luck girl who kept looking for love “in all the wrong places” but eventually realized that even though she was unlucky at romance, love was always there in her life.
“I was hooked when the Jollibee people told me what the story is about. As I always say, every role that I do is close to my heart but I would consider this as one of the most memorable since it’s very much relatable. I myself have had my heart broken multiple times. It may not always be about lovelife but sometimes also regarding work. But my loved ones are always there to pick me up,” Elora admitted.
Madonna Tarrayo — president and group chief operating officer of Unitel/Straight Shooters Media which produced the #KwentongJollibee videos in collaboration with Jollibee and its advertising agency McCann Erickson — was also moved by “Status” when she first saw it.
“I can totally relate with the story and its characters. I think we’ve all gone through heartaches, boyfriends, dates they come and go…but family, stays,” Tarrayo pointed out.
Dela Cruz noted that Elora proved to be a real gem right from the get go. From the screen tests to the workshops to the actual shoot.
“With most talents, I would usually need to tell them every move or every expression. But with Elora, we would just explain the scene and the objective and she would give us a variety of levels and iterations for each performance that practically each take was a good take,” the director shared.
“She really took the character to heart that most of the quirky nuances, quiet pauses and small gestures you see in the film are actually her own ad libs and improvisations. The whole Kwentong Jollibee team was blown away by her performance. She is a true performer and we believe her talents will take her to greater heights.”
With over 4.7 million views since it premiered on Facebook last February 2, it looks like “Status” is Elora’s first certified “blockbuster” for 2018 and her first major hit since “Seklusyon” two years ago.
Asked what’s next for her for the rest of the year, Elora simply smiled and said, “More stories to share.”
Watch Elora Españo in #KwentongJollibee’s “Status” here: