[COLUMN] Director, producer glad for stars who joined project

Director Carlo Francis Manatad’s first full-length feature, “Whether the Weather is Fine (Kun Maupay Man It Panahon),” won the Cinema E Gioventu Prize at the recent 74th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland. Photo above shows the film’s main cast with the director (from left): Francinne “Rans” Rifol, Charo Santos-Concio, director Carlo Manatad and Daniel Padilla.Inquirer.net file photo

A FILIPINO film recently won an award at the recent 74th Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

“Whether the Weather is Fine (Kun Maupay Man It Panahon),” directed by Carlo Francisco Manatad was given the Cinema E Gioventu Prize in the Concorso Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of the Present Competition), which is a section dedicated to emerging directions from all over the world, according to an article in Inquirer.net.

Manatad revealed that the win was a surprise for all of them.

“Nobody from our team knew we were getting anything Somebody just called us so we ran (onstage) to get it,” he was quoted as saying.

The director added that he informed the main cast of the film – Charo Santos-Concio, Daniel Padilla and Francinne “Rans” Rifol – of the honor just mere seconds after he received the award.

Of getting the three stars attached to the film, which tells the story of how a mother and her son struggle to survive supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that devastated Tacloban in 2013, Manatad and the film’s producer Armi Rae Cacanindin revealed that they were extremely happy the universe conspired to get them the stars they wanted portray the main roles in the movie.

With Charo, Cacanindin could not believe how quickly things progressed.

“We were just talking one night about how we would like Ma’am Charo to be part of the film but that it felt like nothing but wishful thinking because she’s too big a star to reach. One of us sent a message to one of Ma’am Charo’s contacts, who immediately got back to us to say that she is letting us pitch the story to her. That’s what we did,” she revealed.

In Daniel’s case, Manatad gave the actor a deadline to think about their offer.

“Daniel later told me that he liked the story but couldn’t say ‘yes’ to it soon enough because he felt he wasn’t fit to do it, that it was too heavy for him, and that he doesn’t have enough experience to carry him through. He also told me that he first wanted to understand the character so he could portray it well. With that, he gained my respect,” Manatad revealed.

“Giving a really popular actor a deadline to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ was really a gamble. I decided to have a go at it because we have nothing to lose, anyway. We have actually gone through a lot of revisions in the last seven years we’ve had preproduction work on this one,” the director added.

That gamble seems to have proved successful as Cacanindin divulged that Padilla not only invested himself in his role but was also helpful in getting things done as she recalled a scene they were shooting at the Tacloban Astrodome where they had 800 extras. It was difficult completing that scene as some of the folks would look at the camera or laugh at each other.

“Daniel got the mic and stood in front of everyone. He pleaded to them in Waray. He asked, ‘Why are you all laughing? What’s so funny about what’s happening? This happened to you, didn’t it? We are here to tell your story, so let’s help each other.’ I had goosebumps all over after that incident. Daniel didn’t just think of how to be his character, he was concerned with the entire project, too,” Armi recalled.

As for Rifol, the film’s producer said that the actress, who attended an acting workshop with Padilla under Angeli Bayani, was ready from the get-go even if this was her first movie.

“Rans would always feel nervous every time she would have a scene with them and so I would always try to motivate her, but whenever she got on cam, palaban pala! I think it made sense also that she was trying to prove, not only to the actors she was working with but also to the crew, that she deserved to be there,” Armi stated.

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Actor-director John Prats is now helming “It’s Showtime” for ABS-CBN where he started out almost three decades ago as part of the Ang TV program.Photo from Instagram/@johnprats

John Prats, who is currently directing “It’s Showtime” for ABS-CBN, is glad that he has been able come full circle and give back to the network that gave him his break in showbiz, according to an article in the Philippine Star.

Prats, who was a member of the Ang TV program in the 1990s, started the directing gig in 2017 with a concert of Moira de la Torre. This was followed by the anniversary concert of K Brosas and a major concert of Erik Santos. He subsequently joined Cornerstone Entertainment, a company which he credits for taking a risk on him and believing in his capabilities.

Of his venture into concert directing, Prats, who helmed corporate event for his dad’s firm which mounted different events, said that it has become an eye-opener for him.

“I just had the vision, pero wala akong alam sa concerts. Hanggang sa nakikialam na ako sa ilaw, sa editing, sa visuals. Sa lahat ng concerts na nagawa ko, everything was a learning experience for me. Doon nagsimula ang journey ko,” John revealed in the article.

In 2020, he was surprised to get called on by ABS-CBN TV Productions head Cory Vidanes to helm the network’s Christmas special where he had to work with so many stars.

“I really don’t know how to direct. Kung ano lang ang maganda sa mata ko. For that Christmas special, I directed more than a hundred stars. The special ran for four hours. Ganun kalaki. I will never forget that moment and all the people who worked with me and gave me the opportunity,” John was quoted as saying.

Ang motto ko, kapag may pinagawa sa akin, I will just jump and do it kasi wala akong choice. The challenge was to have a Christmas special sa ASAP stage. Hindi ko alam paano ko nagawa,” he added.

As for Showtime, Prats talked to everyone involved in the set when he got involved with the show. He revealed that he gives staff the freedom to make suggestions, adding that the environment on the set is light and good.

John’s efforts seem to working. Prats’ first inter-active segment on the show, Madlang Pi-Poll, was able to get 45,000 viewers to join. The director said he wants to give the show a different energy.

“Expect more changes in the coming months. We’re working on it. We just want to give that noontime hour where every viewer should be entertained, from Reyna ng Tahanan to Tawag ng Tanghalan,” John said.

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