December 9, 2022

Hey look ma, I’m in the movies again!
Yes, such an itsy, weeny, bitsy role to play but this is a movie after eight years from Anac ti Pating in 2012. But hey! I am so glad to have worked with a powerful cast and crew who were all so professional about their roles in the 10-minute movie written and directed by Angelo Aurelio.
It should be worth viewing during the Montañosa Film Festival from February 20 to 28 together with nine other films produced by independent film makers in Baguio. It was a wrap with my scene last Wednesday for the short film, “Operation Pukis”, haircut for-a-cause.
The first day of business was the photo shoot of characters at the Eros Goze Studio along Marcos Highway. Undoubtedly, Eros has made a name in the portrait photography world from his works abroad. That day, he goaded the characters for the film out of everyone and himself. Double tasked to prepare the photos and the posters with Bylson Sy, Eros also plays the main character of the movie, Clarita Dacanay. The other roles played by Paolo San Juan, Jordan Habbiling, Ricky Ducas, Qasim Khalid, Ali Callum, and Homer Tudlong started to read the script aloud and practice some of the scenes together. The excitement to make a good film was already set and the director coaching them about expressions and emphasis.
The following day was the first scene with the real haircut for-a-cause at Rizal Park and all hands were on deck. Everyone helped make the posters, set up the chairs, escort the hairdressers, get the food, and find other needs, among other tasks. But Pam Cariño and Bootz Yabut did more behind the scenes to make the event come true. Everybody filling in for the needed equipment as part of their role or because they knew how to get it done. All hand busy outside of their parts in the movie.
It seemed too perfect. Eros was a trooper who didn’t mind fainting beside horse dung at Wright Park in the scene. Early calls for make-up, lighting consultant, coordinator for locations and studio owner were a few of his valuable contributions to the success of the film. Morphed into the 58-year-old drag showhouse operator from the Cordillera, he acted and participated in all the filming days. Between takes, he was at his desk editing the photos or suggesting improvements to the scenes.
Paolo, DJ and make-up artist arrived on the set with his own make-up done. He contributes his own suggestions for his role and costumes. He sourced his own high heels and get-ups too. Cool and composed but with high energy in the scenes. The fish net stockings must have been one of those childhood fixations that he brought to the set. His role was that of the last of Clarita’s employees to leave. The Cher look-alike enjoyed watching his facial expressions in the mirror.
Ricky, Jordan and Qasim were the trio in their dream roles, so it seemed. They took to their impersonation with fun and eagerness. False lashes, wigs, tights, heels, girlish clothes, and red face masks tickled them. Ricky was a revelation in his work as a psychologist and the five grounding techniques for anxiety. He said that the schedule and work in making a movie are stressors. If you know how to inhale and exhale, this makes a situation manageable when you feel a conflict coming on, according to him. Jordan and Qasim who come from work are mindful performers, too.
Isabel Dulay takes the role of landlady. She too was game to take the role, hair rollers and all. The transformation from natural self to character was amazing. The bubbly and lively persona turned stern and impatient in dealing with Clarita. Her spirit was infectious.
I saw Ali Callum when he played DJ and likewise saw his dedication as he was prodded in his facial expressions. He too spilled his own sparkle in the blinking lights.
Puldo Baldoza played two roles in the production. That of the macho dancer turned miner and as assistant director. I can only say that he was efficient in scheduling the performers daily and telling them what time they had to arrive for make up before the act. He took much of the burden off the director’s shoulders.
The indefatigable make-up artist was Aby Alicoy who put the faces on all the characters. He knew his business which is just a sideline. The range of powders, eyeshadows, brushes, lashes, liners, etc. are awesome. In these pandemic times, all these are washed and sterilized as protocols, too. The retouches are also given attention.
Dean Cuanso, director of photography, was cool under the lights and in cramped spaces. His team that included editor Kevin Masillem and musical scoring and production head Kabbilan Dumampag. The boom mike and the tripods will definitely create the best visuals and sound bites of the movie. They are the heart of it all in the next days before curtain call. It was fun working with all of these wonderful folks! I am blessed.
This is a wrap! This is not about the movie but the great forces that drive this story to be told. I played mother to the recovered Covid 19 patient, Clarita.
Moira Lang is creative consultant to this film, too. Please watch this independent picture next month as well as the nine other films that have made it to the festival. This festival promises to showcase the beautiful places in our city in the short flicks.