Alfred Aloysius L. Adlawan has come back to Cinemalaya as a director after being part of the first batch of finalists. Check out what he had to say about that and his entry to the New Breed competition Ang Katiwala after the jump!
So what’s it like coming back to Cinemalaya after all this time?
Nakakapakod. I’m too old for this crap. (laughs) Your support system is different pag indie. I’m used to working with a studio, that has everything you need. Medyo nosebleed technically and nosebleed physically na rin. At the end of the day I have a film that has a message that I want to get across. Di naman consolation, but I know I did this film for a purpose, it compensates it, the pagod- seeing the film done and hearing positive feedback for it.
Was Ang Katiwala something you’ve been developing for a while?
This actually popped out of my head after I read that [Philippine Daily] Inguirer article about the house where Manuel Quezon used to stay, the last line was ‘only a caretaker resides in the house.’ Nagsimula doon. That was August of last year. I read the article in july and I saw the deadline for Cinemanila was coming up so I wrote it for that. I saw it as something for Cinemalaya because of the student audience, with this kind of material and it’s content. It’s kind of a tribute to Manuel Quezon.
It’s also been a while since we saw you direct a film. Was the film something you always planned to direct from the start?
Napagod kasi ako sa indie for a while, after doing Mayohan[as producer], Signos, Padyak, na sunod sunod lahat, yun, na –drain ako. Yung regular work ko sa film and TV nandun naman. Marami kami nagging creative consultants for gma, kala naming madali hindi pala. Kailanagan ko naman bawiin yung ka iindie ko.
I’m always curious with writer-directors because both are equally exhausting aspects of the filmmaking process. What’s the dynamic there? Would you rather do one over the other? Or do you enjoy the pain that comes with being both?
I will always be a writer first and foremost. I’ll be writing till my dying day. Nakaimbed na sa akin yung writing, kahit natutulog ko umaandar pa rin yung utak ko. Bago matulog naiisip ko how to Take care of sequences if I get stuck at a particular point sa script. Day in and day out characters, scenes and sequences. Natural sa akin naman yung pagsusulat. Sa directing medyo choosy ako. For the longest time GMA has been asking me if I want to direct for TV pero ayoko. Masyado siyang sang taxing [The hours]. Ayoko ng ganung lifestyle. Masyado akong stressed pag director ako, I wear many hats pag hindi siya studio set-up. In between takes may tinatawagan ako. Pinipili ko lang yung gusto kong i-direct. Writing will always come before directing; directing is something I do for the right project.
From the teaser and posters, it seems that there’s a quiet blanket of eeriness that pervades them. Are you using your experience with horror to add that to the film? Was that intentional or just me?
Oo. The first time yung linabas yung press release, people were asking horror ba ‘yan. Natatawa ako. Crunch time nung dumating sa marketing-‘I should market this the only way I know how horror.’ 80% of my output is horror. Sa akin namin swak naman siya and I wouldn’t call it eerie but rather enigmatic and mysterious. May slant lang na horror. May elements of it but really small elements.
The film seems to be more introspective; the brunt of the acting is shouldered by Dennis Trillio. Is the simplicity of that something you enjoy directing?
Hindi ko siya naisip na ganun but the material called for it. Katiwala calls for isolation and the irony of leaving your family. It seems like I have a predisposition for ensembles, but it- calls for that quietness and isolation. Ganun yung nagging treatment ko. I’m very flexible –I’m more of a storyteller; kung may duamting na kwento I’ll tell it the way it needs to be told.
You’ve handled an ensemble in Padyak; I’m curious as to how you handle large and small groups of talents.
Actually, in terms of logistics, even when you do ensemble you still have to schedule days into clusters. Sa Padyak, dalawang characters a day. Yung katiwala one a day. You deal with actors one at a time; nagiiba lang yung kausap mo everyday.
So how does it feel to have another Cinemalaya film under your belt?
Tapos na siya. Sabi ko nga after tomorrow I should move on with my life. Lahat ng film as director binantayan mo na. Preview with sound, preview for levels, etc. It’s time to get excited for other things. It’s time for me to turn it over to our producers, kasi alam naman natin yung buhay ng isang pelikula diba?
What’s next for you?
I wish I could take a vaction but I’m mounting my new soap for Gma. I’m revising the movie for Coco Martin and Marian Rivera for Regal films, as well as Direk Peque [Gallaga]’s film and my duties as creative consultant for GMA, and checking the output ng scipts for the Metro Manila Film Fest. Sa October I’ll be directing a mainstream film. Hopefully that’s after Cinemalaya. Ganun kadami yung after cinemalaya (laughs).
Thank’s so much for your time rekdi!