HUBO Productions

Raw Artistry Exposed

IN NOMINE MATRIS shines at the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival

IN NOMINE MATRIS (In the Name of the Mother), a film by HUBO Productions, premiered during the longest running film festival in the Philippines, the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). The film screened from December 18 – 22 as part of the New Wave section of the festival that showcased five films from independent filmmakers. Additional dates were added for the New Wave section until the 24th given the demand and popularity of the initiative.

In Nomine Matris premiere night, principal cast

In Nomine Matris premiere night, principal cast

Supported by the Embassy of Spain in the Philippines, Instituto Cervantes/SPCC, and Trinity Hearts Media, IN NOMINE MATRIS is written and directed by Will Fredo. The movie revolves around Mara, portrayed by beauty queen/actress Liza Diño, a young dance protégé who seeks to land the principal part of a dance company that is about to embark on a tour. On her quest to land the coveted break, a series of events turned her sense of meaning upside down.  She is then faced with a life changing decision. She turns to her mentor Mercedes (Clara Ramona) and her mother Ava (Tami Monsod) as she searches for answers in the beautifully loud and endlessly moving world she lives in.  Within this premise, director Fredo fuses the sensitivities of the Spanish culture into the Philippine modern setting through a highly tense mix of drama, dance, singing, and poetry. Aside from the director and the producers of the movie, all three principal actresses were in attendance, basking in delight for all of them saw the entire film for the very first time together with the full-house theater.

In Nomine Matris premiere night, interview with Lhar Santiago of GMA

In Nomine Matris premiere night, interview with Lhar Santiago of GMA

What Fredo envisioned is to narrate the travails of being a mother from a Filipino perspective but express it in a form that is once foreign and familiar. From this direction, he tapped into world jazz musician Bob Aves.  The music score is something to behold.  Aves absorbed the 12-beat cycle of flamenco music into the lyrical triple time of kundiman. In this way the expressiveness that is distinctively Filipino is overlayed on the aggressiveness and passion that the dances required.  This has not been done before, and the result is simply astounding.  Incorporate this music with Flamenco maestra Clara Ramona’s dance choreographies, the movie is something worth seeing.

When asked during the film discussion after the premiere screening, Director Fredo further explains the different elements in the movie, “Mixing different media of performances is something I consciously wanted to do, there’s dancing, some singing, and even open-mic poetry.  “Kuti-kuta”, the poem that Jam Perez recites in the middle part of the movie is my take on what we feel as artists— that gnawing itch.  The poem could mean a bunch of things but for me, as a filmmaker, it’s that ever-burning itch to do, to make, to create, to feel. What would you do for your passion?”

“Perhaps it is that itch that prompted me to make this film. It is that itch which determines that choices we make in life. But in hindsight, I recognize the strong female, specifically mother, figures that bring out the best in me as a Filipino. From the story of a female friend who was on the brink of motherhood but tragically lost her baby, from the stories and memory of my mother, the choices she made as a mother, from the tales of all the mothers I have met, from the culture that I grew up in that is undeniably matriarchal. What I make of me as a Filipino, and perhaps every Filipino, is in the name of the mother,” Fredo shares.

In Nomine Matris premiere night, cast and crew

In Nomine Matris premiere night, cast and crew

The premiere night was celebrated with the IN NOMINE MATRIS stars and crew strutting their gowns and suits.  Together with them are some of the who’s who in the Philippines. Former Senator Agapito “Butz” Aquino, Justice Santiago Javier Ranada, TV personality Winnie Monsod, celebrity businessman Atticus King, and New York Broadway singer/professor Miguel Braganza were amongst the audience.

Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave, Liza Diño and Will Fredo Winners

Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave, Liza Diño and Will Fredo Winners

Dramatic actor Biboy Ramirez and Italy-trained opera singer Al Gatmaitan, who both played Mara’s lovers in the movie, were definitely eye-candies for the ladies during the sold-out premiere event.  First time comedienne theater/TV actress Joan Palisoc, Flamenco dancer/open-mic poet Jam Pérez, award-winning actor Bong Cabrera, and the movie dancers complete the cast who attended the premiere.

The highly jampacked theater at Glorietta 4 cinema greeted the cast and crew at the door with open arms and high praises.  Executive Producer Greg Macaraeg enthused, “It is seldom we see an audience cheer and clap in between scenes, especially after each dance or performance. It feels like you’re watching a live show, but it’s on screen.”  Medwin Garcia, one of the producers, further shares, “I hear the audience getting involved, invested with the characters. Nakakatuwa panuorin [Feels good to watch]!”

The mood became emotional as the director and principal cast shared their experiences about the film during the Question and Answer portion after the screening of the movie.  Clara Ramona spoke a heartfelt revelation of the difficulty of being a Flamenco dancer, especially for someone of a Filipino descent.  In turn, Monsod and Diño shared their experiences as mothers and how this movie closely touches their lives.

IN NOMINE MATRIS is the New Wave Category box office topnotcher of the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival. The original and first Flamenco-Filipiniana film, written and directed by Fredo, eventually bagged two trophies during the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival Awards Night held on December 27 at the Meralco Theater: New Wave Category Most Gender Sensitive Film and Best Actress for Diño.

IN NOMINE MATRIS cast and crew at the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival Award Night

IN NOMINE MATRIS cast and crew at the 38th Metro Manila Film Festival Award Night

HUBO Productions is an independent multi-media production company that is known for its core film ventures. The film group is headed by Will Fredo, Gregory Macaraeg, Ida Tiongson, Joan T. Manalang, Medwin Garcia, and George K. Sommerrock. HUBO has ventured its artistic reach in music, theatre, dance, and visual arts. HUBO encourages artistry through practical means, and dedicates its art to stimulate the mind however unconventional and unfamiliar.