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In Nomine Matris premieres in Spain

In Nomine Matris - Official PosterIN NOMINE MATRIS is the Closing Film at the VII Ciclo de Cine y Flamenco in Sevilla, Spain

Filipino independent movie IN NOMINE MATRIS (In the Name of the Mother) by writer and director Will Fredo has been selected to be the closing film at this year’s VII Ciclo de Cine y Flamenco in Sevilla, Spain. The yearly celebration of Flamenco films at the heart and origins of the dance, Andalusia, Spain, will premiere the movie at its capital in Sevilla this July 4th as the festival’s closing film. Instituto Andaluz Del Flamenco, Ministry of Culture and Sports of the Government of Andalusia with the support of UNESCO and Centro de Iniciativas Culturales de la Universidad de Sevilla (CICUS) organize the festival.

As critic and columnist Mario Bautista declares, “In Nomine Matris is the first local [Filipino] movie to feature flamenco as part of the story. It could very well be our official introduction to this classical Spanish dance with its elaborate footwork, arm, hand and body movements, sometimes with castanets or a fan.” The movie, produced by HUBO Productions, is the first Filipino film to be presented in the Festival. In Nomine Matris stars 38th Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave Best Actress Liza Diño (also a contender for the Best Actress plum of the forthcoming Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino URIAN Awards) together with Biboy Ramirez, Al Gatmaitan, Tami Monsod, and Clara Ramona (URIAN Best Supporting Actress nominee).

“Kinakabahan ako actually. To show the people of Andalusia (Spain) our movie is a big deal. The place is the heart of Flamenco, they can be really critical about the art form. But for the film festival to invite and appreciate what we tried to do in In Nomine Matris is very humbling,” expresses Fredo.  “It’s about time we highlight the thriving topnotch Flamenco artists we have here in the Philippines,” he added. As articulated by Tito Genova Valiente, Chairman of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, “In Nomine Matris remains one of the most thematically daring and, ultimately, most visually compelling of films produced in this republic. Dance in this film is not merely an expression of a mood; dance in this film pushes the tale to a finish.”

Based on real life events, this heart-stomping and intense drama, In Nomine Matris (In the Name of the Mother) dares to capture the passion of women and their dance. At the same time the narrative pays homage to the Philippines’ Spanish heritage and culture.

In the heart of Metro Manila, Mara (Diño), a young dance protégé, seeks to land the principal part of a dance company that is helming a show named In Nomine Matris. On her quest to land the coveted break, a series of events turned her sense of meaning upside down and is faced with a life-changing decision. She turns to her mentor Mercedes (Ramona) and her mother Ava (Monsod) as she searches for answers in the beautifully loud and endlessly moving world she lives in.

The movie also features Jam Pérez, Maradee De Guzman, Bong Cabrera, Leo Rialp, and Joan Palisoc. Flamenco master Clara Ramona dance-choreographs and world jazz musician Bob Aves scores the film, fusing original Filipiniana and Flamenco movement and music.

In Nomine Matris closes VII Ciclo de Cine y Flamenco

In Nomine Matris closes VII Ciclo de Cine y Flamenco

In Nomine Matris Director’s Notes

Director Will Fredo

Director Will Fredo

“What made this film worth making?” I asked myself.  It’s been a journey, and the journey was good.

Mining the dramatic Spanish-Filipino narrative, the idea of fusing Filipino dances with Flamenco, the possibility of collaborating with Bob Aves, Philippines’ foremost world-jazz musician, and showcasing the hustle and bustle of contemporary Manila are the elements that first and foremost got me really excited in developing this film. You see, I watched a lot of telenovelas with my mother growing up. And a lot of such influences somehow got channeled into this movie. But my goal from such dramatic elements was to show a level that would be relatable to a lot of people.

The script was inspired by my friend’s real-life personal story. I further interviewed a lot of Flamenco dancers, and saw an abundance of passion to the art form. I see it as a devoted lifestyle, not just a dance form. I wanted to capture that and I wanted to utilize a dramatic narrative technique that is embedded in the Spanish influence on Filipino culture. But I realized, I cannot claim that we’re doing a flamenco movie, for the story is beyond the dance form. I see this movie as a homage to the dance form, to our Spanish influence, and an appreciation to our unexplored heritage.

After writing the first draft, I was motivated to tap on the growing popularity of Clara Ramona’s Flamenco Dance Company in Manila.  Her dancers are already experienced in Flamenco dance. Clara Ramona, herself, is a passionate dancer and a fiery choreographer.  Perhaps one should see her perform live in order to understand what I am talking about. She is that good. And surprisingly, for a first time actor, her attack on Mercedes Lagdameo character, the unseemly cold Flamenco maestra in the movie, is something critics should take notice.

It is widely known that the Philippines was under the Spanish rule, and its influence abound. In spite of this, however, Flamenco remain a relatively new dance to the general populace.  In a way, it is still in its infancy, thus when the core crew was auditioning for more dancers we had to tap those who come from different dance backgrounds—modern, jazz, even hip-hop. We had them undergo a grueling three-month training designed by Clara Ramona. The best thing about Filipinos is that they are a quick study. They seem to be born to dance, born entertainers.

The music is a challenge. I approached Bob Aves early on in the project and bounced off with him about the idea of fusing Filipiniana with Flamenco rhythms. Fortuitously, he was developing Kundiman music for the enigmatic singer Grace Nono, so he was receptive to the innovation. He was intrigued by the idea of using Flamenco’s 12-beat “compas” in Filipino music.  The result is a glorious pieces of music. The dancers themselves were in awe, and could not believe they were dancing to some new music.

When it came to deciding as to who will play the main character, the award-winning actress Liza Diño was a natural choice. She’s a flamenco dancer herself. I have previously worked with her in the film Compound, where she was cited for her acting in an international film festival and earned her Harvest of Honor Award bestowed by the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts. I was excited to work with her and was not a bit disappointed by the performance she turned in. In fleshing out the main character, the inexperienced vulnerable yet driven Mara Advento Bonifacio, Diño’s characterization and performance can only be described as tour de force. Hopefully, it will engage the general audience and critics alike.

Aside from Diño, the rest of the principal casts were a bevy of talent and easy to fall in love with. Biboy Ramirez is a dramatic soap opera actor in the Philippines. Playing someone that is a bit of unsure of himself and lacks confidence about what he feels is outside of the screen characters he had been associated with.  His acting here cannot be ignored, it is beautifully understated. Al Gatmaitan is a trained classical singer schooled in Italy, and is relatively new to Philippine independent cinema. He gives off a nice opposition to what Biboy is giving in the movie.  They are quite a pair of young actors.

Rounding off the mother in the movie is Tami Monsod, a respected theatre thespian. She tackled the role of Mara Advento Bonifacio’s mother with such depth and subtlety, resulting in an unmatched performance caliber. Her take on the disabled and “laos na” (has-been) dancer is chilling at the minimum.

Mixing different mediums of performances is something I consciously wanted to do, there’s dancing, some singing, and even open-mic poetry. The much heralded open-mic poetry scene in the movie is my way of summarizing my personal take on the movie. I am surprised how audiences react to it — they laugh at the beginning and get tense at the end.  “Kuti-kuta”, a collaborative piece with poet Roldan Din, 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.

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 of 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.

IN NOMINE MATRIS SPOTTED

In Nomine Matris at Fitness First

In Nomine Matris at Fitness First

In Nomine Matris at Fitness First
In Nomine Matris at Fitness First

An Actor’s Journey: Excerpts from In Nomine Matris

Liza Diño [photo by Ruben Domingo]

Liza Diño [photo by Ruben Domingo]

Actress LIZA DIÑO in the raw, as Mara Bonifacio Advento, the protagonist in the movie In Nomine Matris (In the Name of the Mother). She plays a young dance protégé in search for perfection, her real passion, and her true love.

Inspired by Bjork and Marina Abramovic work, transposing excerpts and creating a simplistic collage of lines from the movie In Nomine Matris as a performance piece, director Will Fredo together with long time collaborator Roldan Din, harnesses the rawness of Liza Diño by subjecting the actress in constrained body movements. At the same time, this piece showcases in a playful form the Spanish style monologue coming from the movie’s dramatic narrative. Accompanied by a heartfelt acoustic Flamenco-Filipiniana inspired musical score from Bob Aves, this performance piece will draw you closer to your own personal passion and desires.

“Sometimes, watching the journey of an actress go through cycles of emotion in constrained situations is simply breath taking,” Fredo explains.

 

 

CREDITS:
Produced by HUBO Productions
Creative Directors: Roldan Din & Will Fredo
Cinematography: Kim Guanzon & Marden Blake
Music: Bob Aves (taken from the movie In Nomine Matris)
Make-Up: Laa Hernando-Guanzon
Production Assistants: Ferdz Din & Zaldy Ilagan
Post Engineer: Will Fredo

 

This piece is not in the movie. This is simply a creative play used by the artists.

Ganap na Babae (Garden of Eve) Breaking Hearts and Record

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


“Wow! Talo pa ang Twilight sa haba ng pila sa Active Vista sa SM CDO! Congrats Xavier University!” ~ Leni Velasco posted, Executive Director of DAKILA

“So, apparently, Active Vista is breaking records in SM Cagayan de Oro. SRO screening now and huge crowd still lined up to enter the cinema. Wohooo!” ~ Leni Velasco posted, Executive Director of DAKILA

“Kayo ang Totoong Paraan. The BEST FEATURE FESTIVAL of relevant films. Mahal namin kayo! :)” ~ Emmanuel Dela Cruz posted, Film Director

“Nakakataba ng puso! Directors Sarah Roxas and Ellen Ramos were missed but we’re glad Rica Arevalo went to do the film discussion! Her news brought us joy, ramdam namin ang saya sa Cagayan De Oro. Congratulations to Dakila, Active Vista Film Festival, Xavier University, and to everyone involved in this effort! Sa uulitin!” ~ Will Fredo, Ganap Na Babae Executive Producer

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO


GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

GANAP NA BABAE in SM CINEMA CDO

Fusing Worlds: A Glimpse at Art Collaboration

Clara Ramona as Mercedes Lagdameo

Clara Ramona as Mercedes Lagdameo

CLARA RAMONA, a world-renowned Flamenco master, shares her artistry in the movie In Nomine Matris. In this rare footage of deleted scenes from the movie, her character Mercedes Lagdameo pours out her soul, her passion, her frustration as an aging dancer, an embattled teacher, and above of all, as a loving mother.

Filipino music scholars agree that kundiman is uniquely Filipino musical form that taps deep into one’s heart and bring untold emotions.  Felipe M. de León Jr. once wrote that kundiman is a “unique musical form expressing intense longing, caring, devotion and oneness with a beloved…its music is soulful and lofty…”

Soleá is one of the foundational styles of flamenco that always incorporates the elements of romantic tragedy, desolation, and death. It affords the dancer both profound emotion and blazing footwork in the unique 12-beat cycle of flamenco music.

What WILL FREDO envisioned for the scene is to narrate the travails of being a mother from a Filipino perspective but express it in a form that is at once foreign and familiar. From this direction what BOB AVES has done is absorb the 12-beat cycle of soleá 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 dance required.  This has not been done before, and the result is simply astounding.


The Movie  |  The Music  |  The Cast

In Nomine Matris Dance Company

MERCEDES LAGDAMEO FLAMENCO-FILIPINIANA DANCE COMPANY
Behind the Scenes

 

BEHIND THE SCENE - MERCEDES LAGDAMEO FLAMENCO-FILIPINIANA DANCE COMPANY

BEHIND THE SCENE – MERCEDES LAGDAMEO FLAMENCO-FILIPINIANA DANCE COMPANY

 

The Reel Dance Company and their Real Persona

The Reel Dance Company and their Real Persona

 

Behind the Scene - Director Will Fredo with the Dance Company

Behind the Scene – Director Will Fredo with the Dance Company

 

Behind the Scene - Mercedes Lagdameo Flamenco-Filipiniana Dance Company

Behind the Scene – Mercedes Lagdameo Flamenco-Filipiniana Dance Company


The Movie  |  The Music  |  The Principal  |  The Ensemble

In Nomine Matris Ensemble Cast

MARADEE ARIELL T. DE GUZMAN (Valerie Espiritu) was a business entrepreneur and dabbled in commercial modelling appearing in various magazines, print and TV advertisements. De Guzman graduated  with a BS in Management Engineering from the Ateneo de Manila University. While in the university she involved herself in artistic pursuits like stage musicals, chorale singing, and dancing affording herself to develop as a performer. Her love for dance was rekindled by the fiery art of Flamenco and elegant style of Clasico Español; and is now flourishing under the training of world-renowned Clara Ramona. As a member of Clara Ramona & Co., she has gone on tour around the world including the U.S., Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. She teaches flamenco part-time at the Clara Ramona Centro de Danza Flamenca. Maradee is currently based in Kathmandu, Nepal where she is the spreading the passion of Flamenco by teaching workshops and classes. She is the first to introduce Flamenco Dance to Nepal.

Maradee de Guzman as Valerie Espiritu

Maradee de Guzman as Valerie Espiritu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JAM PÉREZ (Nikki Atienza) started dancing flamenco at age 11 under the tutelage of Guillermo Gomez, and later trained as a dance scholar of Sofia Zobel-Elizalde. She further trained from and mentored by Clara Ramona, Tatiana Balashova and Emma Estrada. Pérez graduated with a BA in European Languages from University of the Philippines, Diliman, and is currently undertaking law studies at the Ateneo de Manila University.  She has tried her hand in modelling and beauty pageant before pursuing acting. Her first audition landed her a part in In Nomine Matris, and in the same year clinched a role in Ganap na Babae. She continues to acting in independent films, and recently seen in PISILof UP Baguio’s Si(n)ing Sine Awards. Shortly after her foray in films, Pérez developed an interest in spoken word poetry and has been performing in several poetry events.

Jam Pérez as Nikki Atienza

Jam Pérez as Nikki Atienza

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BONG CABRERA (Justin Trinidad) is an actor whose appearance in the film Sa Ilalim ng Tulay earned him the Best Actor award from the Cinema One Originals 2011 Film Festival and subsequently earned a nomination in the same category in the Gawad Urian 2012. He was a senior member of the Actors’ Company of Tanghalang Pilipino of CCP from 2004 until 2010 when he was awarded the Asian Cultural Council Fellow. The fellowship brought him to New York where he attended workshops from various theatre companies and studied various acting techniques. Among his exposures were with Suzuki, Viewpoints (SITI Company), Meisner Technique (The Acting Studio, Inc.), Alexander and Voice Technique (NYC Open Center), Contact Improv classes (Movement Research), and ensemble trainings from Universes and Pig Iron Theatre Company. Internationally, Cabrera performed in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Nagoya.  He was also among the local actors tapped to appear in the Hollywood film “Bourne Legacy” that was partly shot in Manila. He has also participated in a documentary for National Geographic which had a global airing.

Bong Cabrera as Justin Trinidad

Bong Cabrera as Justin Trinidad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEO RIALP (Manuel Advento) directs, acts and set designs for stage, television and film. His stage performances as JUDGE BRACH in Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, REVEREND BAINES in Henry David Huang’s Golden Child, SHYLOCK in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and GEORGE DILLINGHAM in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love have earned him citations from theater critics. In movies he has acted in In the Name of Love and Crazy for You (both for Star Cinema), in Sa Pagdapo ng Mariposa (HUBO Productions) and many others. In television he was last seen in Channel 5’s telenovela, Sa Ngalan ng Ina. He is the sitting President of the Philippine Association of Theater Designers and Technicians (PATDAT). As a painter and printmaker he has participated in group exhibits and one-man shows in Brazil, Jordan, the United States and the Philippines.

Leo Rialp as Manuel Advento

Leo Rialp as Manuel Advento

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOAN PALISOC (Jillbert Sanchez) is an actress and has notably appeared in stage productions like Fuente OvejunaKanserKatipunan and Birhen ng Caysasay. She eventually began appearing in television productions before venturing into films where she debuted as Luisa in Will Fredo’s Compound. Her acting skills were honed under CCP’s Tanghalang Pilipino,  Repertory Philippines and New York’s  Stella Adler Studio.  She has been traditionally cast in serious and dramatic roles before landing a comic role in In Nomine Matris. Palisoc graduated with BA in Hotel and Restaurant Management from University of Sto. Tomas. Outside of acting, Palisoc is a fashion stylist, event organizer and a teacher. She loves travelling and mountain climbing in her spare time.

Joan Palisoc as Jillbert Sanchez

Joan Palisoc as Jillbert Sanchez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Movie  |  The Music  |  The Principal  |  The Company

GANAP NA BABAE: ACTIVE VISTA FILM FESTIVAL in CAGAYAN DE ORGO

Active Vista Human Rights Film Festival 2012

in cooperation with

HUBO Productions, Inc.

presents

GANAP NA BABAE (Garde of Eve)

November 24, 2012  |  10:30AM  |  SM CAGAYAN DE ORO CINEMA 2

GANAP NA BABAE in ACTIVE VISTA FILM FESTIVAL 2012

GANAP NA BABAE in ACTIVE VISTA FILM FESTIVAL 2012
[ click poster for larger image ]

In Nomine Matris Principal Cast

LIZA DIÑO (Mara Bonifacio Advento) is a film, tv and stage actress who has appeared in numerous films for both independent and commercial acting studios. Notably, she has appeared in commercial films like Two Timer, Pinay Pie, Xerex, and A Love Story. She landed one of the lead roles in the independent film Compound by HUBO Productions which ignited her lingering interest in indie projects. Her role in Compound earned her the lone acting recognition in the 2011 International Film Festival Manahattan NYC and eventually led to her receiving a Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts’ Ani Ng Dangal (Harvest of Honor) Award in 2012.  Diño graduated with BA Speech Communication from the Univeristy of the Philippines, Diliman (UP). While at UP, she started venturing into stage acting and appeared in productions mounted by Dulaang UP like Passion of the Christ, Shakespeare’s Winter Tale, and Divinas Palabras. As a student, she joined the 2001 Mutya ng Pilipinas and was crowned as Mutya ng Pilipinas-Tourism and officially represented the country in the Miss Tourism International 2001. After which, she started appearing in television projects primarily as a member of GMA 7 Artist Center.  In 2005, a trip to Spain piqued her interest in flamenco, and made her decide to train under Clara Ramona. Together with Ramona, she has performed all over Asia and the US. She migrated to the US in 2008, where she currently divides her time between acting projects and as a line cook for Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills.

Liza Diño as Mara Bonifacio Advento

Liza Diño as Mara Bonifacio Advento

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIBOY RAMIREZ (Daniel Lagdameo) started as a commercial model doing television ads. He got noticed when he did work for Goldilocks bakeshop in 1998. An entertainment magazine columnist discovered him and eventually managed his showbusiness career. In 1999, German “Kuya Germs” Moreno gave him a regular stint in a variety show Bestfriends. From there Ramirez pursued acting by appearing in various television shows. In 2000, Ramirez became part of the original stable of actors of the pioneering teen drama show Clickin GMA Network.  Aside from acting in television and commercial advertising, Ramirez is involved in independent films both as a producer and as an actor, and has also appeared in stage productions. Outside of acting, Ramirez is into professional photography and events directing. Biboy just recently wrapped up the TV series “Enchanted Garden” for TV 5 and is now working as a regular at GMA Studio’s latest soap “Cielo de Angelina”.

Biboy Ramirez as Daniel Lagdameo

Biboy Ramirez as Daniel Lagdameo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AL GATMAITAN (Enrique Lagdameo Herrera) has distinguished himself in classical music and theater, having been involved with performing groups such as the Philippine Opera Company, PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association), Dulaang UP, UP Playwrights, Stages, Maskara, Trumpets, and Tanghalang Pilipino. His initial music training was at the UP College of Music, after which he proceeded to Italy for vocal and acting training as well as language studies. His coach was Italian soprano Maria Francavilla from the Conservatory of Torrefranca ‘Vibo Valentia’, while his language studies led to a diploma in ‘Teaching Italian Language Abroad’ from the Dante Alighieri University for Foreigners in Reggio Calabria. He also obtained a Certificate of Training in Acting and Performing from Spazio Teatro. He capped his stay in Italy with a second place distinction at the Filipino European Pop Song Festival in Reggio Calabria.

Al Gatmaitan as Enrique Lagdameo Herrera

Al Gatmaitan as Enrique Lagdameo Herrera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCING

TAMI MONSOD (Ava Bonifacio) is a theatre actress whose credits include Angels in AmericaOur Country’s Good, All’s Well that Ends WellHow I Learned to DriveSacrilegeThe Vagina Monologues, and Equus. As a professional stage actress, Tami has worked primarily with New Voice Company under Monique Wilson but has also freelanced with other groups such as Repertory Philippines. Aside from acting, she has also been teaching theatre specializing in  writing and directing plays developed from student research and improvisation. This includes Remembering RezimaVery, Very Dangerous, The Book of Antigone, and, most recently, Indulto, a play about a woman bullfighter. In Nomine Matrismarks her return to acting after giving birth in 2005 and is her film debut. Tami began introductory lessons in flamenco during summer vacations in Spain.  She continued in Manila under Emma Estrada and, finally, under Clara Ramona who suggested that she audition for the role of Ava Bonifacio.

Tami Monsod as Ava Bonifacio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AND

CLARA RAMONA (Mercedes Lagdameo) is an esteemed Spanish Filipina-American flamenco artist who has professionally gained recognition in the exclusive and cutthroat world of the complex art form. Despite being a “foreign” artist, for over 15 years she established herself in Madrid, the mecca of flamenco, founding her own dance company, Ballet Español de Clara Ramona, through which she has staged productions of critical acclaim the world over and gaining international recognition for her innovative choreographies. She has also collaborated with flamenco artists of stature such as La Tati, Tomas de Madrid, Miguel Angel and Antonio Alonso for over twenty years. Clara trained as professional ballet dancer and obtained a BFA at the Boston Conservatory of Music and Dance. She pursued further studies in Spanish classical dance and flamenco with masters such as Manolo Vargas and Antonio de Cordoba in Mexico and with Ciro, La Tati, Jose Granero, and Tomas de Madridamong others in Spain. Clara paved the way for flamenco’s blossoming in Asia, conducting workshops in Australia, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Japan. She is currently based in Hong Kong but spends much time travelling to Manila, Beijing, and other parts of Asia.

Clara Ramona as Mercedes Lagdameo

Clara Ramona as Mercedes Lagdameo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Movie  |  The Music  |  The Ensemble  |  The Company

When Doves Cry

Mike Portes (center) with Director Sarah Roxas (left) and Actress Mercedes Cabral

Mike Portes (center) with Director Sarah Roxas (left) and Actress Mercedes Cabral

“I took the risk, I know many will take offense but I had no other way to tell the truth that many had been so deluded to believe,” declares Mike Portes when asked about the Minsan May Isang Puta. It’s a short piece that uses a first-person narrative technique that speaks directly to its reader. The voice is even pedestrian that in its familiar tone the reader is simply drawn to it. The voice simply asks that you listen as if an old friend or relative is about to tell a story. It is a story that found thousands of listening ears since it first appeared in 2004.

The story is at once familiar yet enigmatic. In “re-telling the truth through the words of a loving mother and by using sex as an impulse zone” is perhaps what makes it fresh, intimate and endearing. Portes was already a mother of two when she worked on  Minsan May Isang Puta and would have added the realistic, not imagined or distantiated, tone of a mother’s lament in the story—a layer that was underscored in the 2007 version. It is a voice and a layer that resonates among many Filipinos, and reinvigorated the interest on the piece. Portes has always been passionate about writing, yet never neglecting her social and moral obligations. Portes wants the people who chance upon her work “to bring something with them each and every time.”

One of the uncalculated effects of writing a piece that takes up a familiar and much abused figure is how it would affect creativity in another person, in another medium. The story was already in circulation and received much following when Sarah Roxas chanced upon it through the internet.  The mother’s lament touched Sarah and felt the “pain and love for her children.” To her mind, “it would make a really good short film.”

One could say it was a fortuitous turn of events that brought Portes and Roxas together to turn Minsan May Isang Puta into a film. Portes was at a point where she was questioning the point of it all, while Roxas was determined to pick it up and try her hand on films. It was an opportunity to further seal the cultic, if not classic, status of the story.

 

The Dove Files

The Dove Files by Mike Portes with an entire chapter on the movie, GANAP NA BABAE (Garden of Eve)
[ Photo by Maria Jose – click picture for a larger image ]

Film is an interesting medium. The elements that go into writing—the voice, the character, the breathing, the lighting, the sound, the language—all those are present physically. All that is tacit in the text and the choices made by the writer that affect a reader come to a visual reality, approximating life, as it were. For Portes, the visual stimulation that a film affords might have just been the rebound that she needed at that point of her writing life. She saw it as “a blatant sign that my life was precious and that I should make full use of my gifts.”

The film adaptation may have ruffled some feminists (example Three Eves, Philippine Daily Inquirer article)  but that only testifies to how effective the material is. Portes contends “that woman was never created to be subservient to the double standards of society. The lessons in the film are meant for spiritual introspection since society proliferates with dogma [sic] that serve perverted purposes.” Birds, as it were, fly low for differing reasons.

Minsan May Isang Puta is included in Portes’ recently published book The Dove Files, which collects her “popular and new writings in Filipino, Taglish and  English” The book takes up both the traditional symbolism of the dove—patience, peace, love, emancipation, hope—and the Filipino euphemism for prostitutes.  The book includes pieces “that endeavor to understand and honor the past and the present in order to face the future in full frontal. No sugar coating.  No delusions.”

The Dove Files is available in the United States through amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/The-Dove-Files-Mike-Portes/dp/1477431853/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350596192&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Dove+Files).  It endeavors to pay forward to a most deserving scholar of Project Malasakit (know more: http://bit.ly/Pf36eN) and for the post ops recovery fund of Definitely Filipino’s baby Mark, who is due for a new liver (know more: http://on.fb.me/wXv8MD).

Ganap na Babae (Garden of Eve), a three-part feature movie about women by women directors, helmed by directors Rica Arevalo, Ellen Ramos, and Sarah Roxas will be screened in the US this fall. In San Francisco Bay area, the film is part of FACINE/19 and will be shown on October 27, 12pm at the War Memorial Center, 6655 Mission Street, Daly City. The screening is open and free to the public.

In New York, a fundraising screening at the International Film Festival Manhattan will be held on November 9, 5pm at the Quad Cinemas, 13th Street, New York City. Proceeds will benefit The HAPPYness Project. Advance and discounted tickets are available at http://igg.me/p/247324?a=1580736).

FIRST LOOK : THE CAREGIVER Official Trailer

CLICK HERE >> THE CAREGIVER ON VIMEO from HUBO Productions on Vimeo.

HUBO PRODUCTIONS: An independent company as featured in EAST LifeStyle: The Asian Journal Magazine

HUBO Productions' Mad Men Greg Macaraeg (Left) with Will Fredo

HUBO Productions’ Mad Men Greg Macaraeg (Left) with Will Fredo
Photography by Kim Guanzon, Make-up by Laa Hernando-Guanzon, Stylist/Creative Direction by Roldan Din

 

HUBO Productions featured in East LifeStyle: The Asian Journal
(click article for readability)