Why a short film? I don’t have much money to spare for my art, but I want my filmmaking to get off the ground. It’s been a decade long dream for me to be my own scriptwriter, my own director, my own producer.
Why five minutes? I actually planned for a 13-minuter, but with the footage I got, I’m now convinced it should, at least, be 30 minutes long. I got bored and tired editing, watching the same scenes again and again. As a diversion, I made a shorter version. Five minutes! Can I tell the complete story in 5 minutes?
Why Dumangas? I want my first film shot in my hometown. As a way of paying my debts of gratitude. After that, I can shoot my future films anywhere in the world. But Dumangasanons’ support of my first film is overwhelming, so I won’t mind making more films about Dumangas. I have a captured audience. Hahaha.
Why “Dabadaba”? I want my first film to be called “Dumangas,” but this story is not most representative of my hometown, so I called it “Dumangas 2010.” However, that title is now reserved for the 30-minute version. For the 5-minute version, I played with the fire in the “confession” scenes, nagadabadaba, like burning desires! I swear, the longer version’s main element is water. That’s the farthest you can go from blazing fire! Hahaha.
Why YouTube? Because I’m ignorant. I don’t know where to go. I think I only wanted to share the film on my Facebook account. By accident, I stumbled upon YouTube, or are they partners? (I’m still ignorant. Hahaha.) What a fortunate and happy mistake it was. If viewers and YouTube keep me happy, I might release the 30-minuter as a 3-part series on YouTube.
Who are the actors? Jay Dolotina is an aspiring model in Manila, originally from Bohol. Liezel Demagajes and Rigor Decolongon are locals from Dumangas. Randy Graydon is my lawfully wedded American. So yes, I didn’t spend a million on casting. Only Jay turned out a little more expensive considering his travel, accommodations, and time off from his day job.
Is the story true to life? All I can say is, after the August 2010 Hong Kong hostage crisis, I considered the title tinaic, meaning “This Is Not An Isolated Case.” Wasn’t the noted Japanese harpist Tadao Hayashi killed in the Philippines around August 2001? While I was filming, a Briton was killed in Negros Occidental.
Worried about negative impact to tourism? No. It’s only a movie. Besides, we don’t kill tourists in Dumangas, we love them! In fact, Graydon’s house in Dumangas was inspired by the US Peace Corps volunteers we homestayed in the late ‘70s. The original script called for a hotel in the city. Funny, but some viewers only saw the benefit of my movie to eco-tourism for Dumangas, and the rural Philippines.
Let me just finish the 30 minute version first. And let me bask in my glory of putting out a first film for a little bit. You can be sure that I will never run out of ideas. Especially since the warm reception to my film is so inspiring. Madamu gid nga salamat sa tanan nga nagtan-aw. Watch it again! Hahaha.
© Panay News Sunday: October 31, 2010