Piolo Pascual, the producer, lauds Southeast Asian filmmakers

October 16, 2017 - 10:28 AM
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Actor and producer Piolo Pascual speaks during the opening ceremony of the TINGIN Asean Film Festival on October 11 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-La Mall. (Photo by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

Three films co-produced by Piolo Pascual’s Spring Films were released this year: “Northern Lights: A Journey to Love,” a romance-drama where he co-stars with Yen Santos; “Kita Kita,” a rom-com about an unlikely romance; and the recently shown “Last Night,” whose script, written by Bela Padilla, which resurrected his on-screen tandem with Toni Gonzaga.

While his accomplishments as an actor cannot be matched by his production credits, he has certainly earned respect as a film producer. He has also learned that filmmaking is more complicated when delivering your own lines is the least of your concerns.

In a speech he delivered during the opening of the TINGIN Asean Film Festival on Wednesday, Piolo spoke about the challenges of filmmaking.

“As a co-producer I know too well how difficult it is to make films. From the conceptualization of the story, to the first day of the shoot, the editing, the musical scoring; obviously I couldn’t ask for a more difficult job. As people in production know, filmmaking is not for the weak of heart,” he said.

He also acknowledged the importance of film festivals, and what it does for budding filmmakers.

“Festivals such as TINGIN Asean Film Fest recognize and dignify the hard work poured by filmmakers, crew, and actors into the making of the film. They give a platform for the artistic vision of artists who build the work to make a sense of the world.

“What makes TINGIN important is that it is dedicated to Southeast Asian cinemas. The cinemas of our Asian neighbors who we still have much to learn about, or to learn from. ASEAN cinemas are so vibrant and can stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s best.

“Don’t you guys agree?” he asked, to which the audience replied in the affirmative.

K. Rajagopal, director of ‘A Yellow Bird’, and writer-producer Moira Lang. (Photos by Jill Tan Radovan/InterAksyon)

“The culture and wisdom of our Asean neighbors are just waiting to be tapped and film obviously is an effective medium to bridge cultural divides and enrich our world views and therefore, our own lives,” he added.

Piolo was invited by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as one of the tastemakers for the said festival. His chosen film was “A Yellow Bird,” which tells the story of Siva, an Indian man who endures oppression as an ex-con and a member of a cultural minority in Singapore. The film is K. Rajagopal’s full feature directorial debut.

Piolo praised both the director and film by saying, “Rajagopal gives an intense and honest portrait of how it is to live in the fringes of a global city. ‘A Yellow Bird‘ is a courageous Indian movie as much as it is a loving Singaporean movie.”

The other Filipino tastemaker for the TINGIN film fest was writer and producer Moira Lang, whose “Patay na si Hesus” made waves in recent film festivals. She chose “Golden Slumbers,” a documentary on the origin and destruction of Cambodian cinema directed by Cambodian-French filmmaker Davy Chou.

In parts Filipino and English, Moira shared why she chose the film.

“It resonates so much with our Filipino experience. We’ve been through a lot, too, like the political upheavals in the last four decades. And also, the problems we have with film preservation. We’ve lost a lot of films which will never be found.”

“The way Davy Chou made his documentary…The subject itself is sad, elegiac; it’s an elegy, it’s a tribute to Cambodian cinema. But at the same time I saw it as a glimmer of hope because young filmmakers like Davy and his friends in Cambodia are trying to pay tribute to lost cinema. They are trying to recapture…still making their own films, but still connect to the past,” she said in an interview with Interaksyon.

The TINGIN Asean Film Festival ran from October 11 to 15 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-La Mall.