Had so much fun this afternoon. I honestly haven't watched this film because I was busy during last year's QCinema International Film Festival but I'm so glad they are showing this on October 20 - 26 at SM Cine Lokal.
We talked to two of the actors in this indie film and they graciously answered our questions. The bubbly Shandii Bacolod had us on her loft to talk about the film. She's a Producer, Director of several films but she induldged herself in this project because this role and script was done with her in mind, so after her busy schedules promoting a different movie, they went ahead with this project with JC De Vera and Jordan Herrera (who was there too by the way!).
Shandii shared how this came about and said "The real life story is really in Mandaluyong, but it was nice to see they had relationships inside the prison. I talked to murderers, there were things that shocked us because there were people that the Director knew personally. Things are different inside, we also thanked the people there by giving them hygeine kits. There are kissing scenes, long and passionate, we have to abide by their curfew and only shoot within their limits, even the night scenes. It was so fun sometimes and I helped sometimes in blocking actors. JC is very happy, this movie wasn't really done with a script and we had to compromise because we need to improvise on the concept especially the first few days. The actors that were under Brilliante Mendoza had it easy, but JC tried to learn from actors while in the shoot. He was humble, cautious and curious about the characters in order to tell their story. We laughed a few times because I had to do Visayan scenes, Aaron Rivera and Jordan Herrera is so good in this film. I might have done theater before but this is different, our ensemble was so good."
She adds "Gays have a lot of issues in the prisons. The STD's, even AIDS and how he did come out inside the prison and how the family got shocked. The sex and intimacy without real privacy, it was shocking for some, when I went there the firs time I got a little rattled because we had real prisoners locked up during some scenes. JC even went the mile and had himself paddled for real. When he won in the awards night we really supported him. We were rooting for him!"
We then talked to Jordan Herrera right after he arrived from the airport and he was very gracious, very down to earth, a total dream boy for women (although he's happily married with kids), he shared his experiences in shooting this film and told us how difficult it was to actually do it. Imagine a real life prison, in a remote area where you can smell the stench of real life prisoners who have been convicted of various crimes including drugs and murder. They had to spend the whole day taking videos of those scenes and interact with them every once in a while. They had to often sleep and take refuge in the same location for a couple of days and for normal people that would really be unbearable. They stayed otherwise and mustered finishing the project when it seemed impossible. JC and Jordan witnessed the same relationships they had in the movie inside that same prison so they said it was actually easy to connect with each other, admitting awkward at times but since they knew how different it was to deliver that story, they did it. Jordan and JC eventually won awards and we even witnessed how they Shandii gave the best supporting actor trophy to him that evening. That made all the sacrifices they did in this movie FULFILLING according to Jordan and he wouldn't mind doing another one if he gets offered a sequel.
I watched the movie and I must say, it's as REAL as it can get. It was nice to actually witness a love story unfold in the confines of that prison, and by any standards, I would agree that a LOT of people should watch it!
Make sure you don't miss this commercial run and the previews they plan to do in the future, because it's cute, very touching, to see grown men go through this too.
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