One of the most anticipated films in the 2011 Cinema One Originals is Antoinette Jadaone’s debut film, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay. It stars the beloved icon of horror films, Lilia Cuntapay, in her first major screen role. The movie pays tribute to her long years in the industry and gives the viewers a look at her personal life as well as her prolific (and sad) movie career.
Hit the jump for the full interview with Direk Antoinette!
A cum laude graduate from the University of the Philippines and a prizewinning filmmaker of short films (Plano, Saling Pusa, Pink Ranger, and Tumbang Preso), Jadaone has a background in both television and movies, having worked as script continuity supervisor and production assistant in some of Joyce Bernal’s successful films. In her first shot at full-length filmmaking, Jadaone shares her experiences and expectations about the film.
NOTE: Interview was conducted when the film had not yet been completed.
How’s the film? How many percent is done?
We’re just waiting for the final audio mix. I’d say, 90% done. Pero kung hindi nila ako pinigilan, baka hanggang ngayon nasa 50% pa rin, bilang rurok ako ng pagka-fickle.
When did you start writing the script?
The first forgettable draft, I finished it last December 2010 pa. It was intended for Cinemalaya this year and it was selected as one of the semi-finalists. Pero aminado naman akong ang pangit nung nagawa kong script, photo finish, wala masyadong research, makagawa na lang, bahala na si Batman mentality. Of course, the script did not make it as a finalist.
Then I pitched the concept to Cinema One Originals, and that’s when I changed the story’s treatment altogether. From narrative, naging documentary, and it was backed up by more research, more interviews, more time, more revisions, more revisions pa… hanggang nagsawa na ako sa kakapabasa ng script ko sa iba para sa comments, at finally, natapos ko nang malugod sa puso.
Have you always been fascinated with Lilia Cuntapay?
Not exactly fascinated. Nakaka-curious lang kasi talaga siya na wala siyang screen name pero sikat siya. Yung kailangan mo muna siyang i-describe bago mo siya makilala. My friend texted me once, “Nasa studio si Lilia Cuntapay!” And my reply was: “Kebs, sino siya?” I think that was when it all started. (Hindi na ako sigurado kasi ang tagal na nun. Mga two years ago pa yata!)
How was it working with her?
To be honest, it was difficult during the first few shooting days. I think, siya rin, nahirapan. This is her first movie na siya ang bida, so I guess nanibago siya na kasama siya sa lahat ng sequences, wala siyang pahinga. Hindi katulad dati na mga 2-3 sequences lang siya, tapos pack-up na siya. Nanay Lilia’s already 76 (75 when we were shooting the film), so you know, madaling mapagod, medyo impatient na pag gabi… pero natuto na kaming amuin siya at pabalikin ang energy: gatas at Fudgee Barr. Overall, she taught me how to be patient.
What are the kinds of stories she told you about?
Madaldal siya. Siya yung tipong umuulit na yung kwento pero parang first time pa rin niya nasabi. She would always talk about actors and directors she has worked with, with inside info and tsismis. Her eyes usually light up when she shares her time with Osang, Boy Abunda, Chuck Norris, Aaron Norris, in her international movies. She’s very proud of the international films she’s been part of. Parang she lives in the past, her “glory years”, so she never gets tired of talking about that period in her life.
What do you want people to know about Lilia after seeing your film?
Nasa kanila na yun.
What are the things you learned from doing your first film?
Do you have the time and space, Chard?
Are there parts in the script that you weren’t able to do because of time and budget constraints?
How do you think Lilia will feel if she wins actress at the awards night? I really hope she does.
That would be cool. Abangan natin ang speech nya. Sana marami siyang natutunan kung pa’no gumawa ng speech galing sa pelikulang ‘to.
People on Tumblr are anticipating the release of your film. KC Concepcion, Erwan Heussaff and Alwyn Uytingco have said nice words on twitter about the trailer. Should we look forward to a blockbuster movie like Ang Babae sa Septic Tank?
Hindi ko na iniisip kasi nasusuka na ako sa nerbiyos. There’s a film to be finished, that’s all that matters now.
Catch the Gala Premiere of Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay on Friday, November 11, at Shangri-la Mall Cineplex. The 2011 Cinema One Original will run from November 9-15.
Editor’s Note: Although film critic Richard Bolisay doesn’t have time for facebook, he makes up for it with his own fan page. Blame his fans. Or better yet, read his blog at Lilok Pelikula for a healthy serving of film, with a slice of music and literature for dessert.