'Pera-perahang Lata' Nears Completion

After the success of her first two short films "Aninag" (New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2005, Louis Vuitton Hawaii International Film Festival 2006, New York Filipino Film Festival 2005, UNESCO Audio-Visual E-Platform, 3rd Place at Viva's PBO Digitales Film Competition 2006) and "Karsel" (Kodak Film Award 2003 and Best Production Thesis 2003 of the UP Film Institute, International Women's Film Festival 2006 and Nominee for the Gawad Urian Best Short Film 2003), writer-director Rianne Hill Soriano saw an opportunity to make a third film with "Pera-perahang Lata," a film that explores the journey of a young factory worker during the Christmas season.

She worked on the screenplay of "Pera-perahang Lata," initially for almost a month, then kept it in her "baul of concepts," made final revisions three years after, and pitched the project to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) last April 2007 after resigning from her day job and going back to freelance work as a production artist.

The cast is led by a talented newcomer for an independent film production, singer-actor Von Arroyo, making his film debut. The challenge of the casting process was to find a believable and realistic character around which the events of the story evolve. To play the main character 'Nilo,' Rianne looked for someone who could not just deliver well with his acting skills, but also carry the film with a certain look and way of thinking reflecting his moves, words, and expressions.

The setting is during the Christmas season where the needy, middle class, and rich people come together sharing gifts, giving and receiving alms, adorning their homes, offices and other establishments with Christmas decors, and attending the "Simbang Gabi." The film's look is a combination of: the dark and gritty; and the light and Yuletide. The realistic treatment mainly shows the dark alleys, tall buildings, and different kinds of people travailing public places. The film intends to bring a fresh perspective for a film with a common theme and story. The treatment upped the ante on the bits of drama, comedy, action, and suspense elements.

The film has many firsts: the writer-director's first time to have a look at the world through a man's eyes with male characters on major roles (her first film had a feminist theme and her second film, a children's film, mostly had female characters as well); her first time to shoot a film pegged on realism (her previous films were generally dark, surreal, expressionist, and had tinges of magic realism); and her first time to assemble such a larger sphere of key players both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

Rianne worked in a very free style way as she believes of bringing out the best of the film by having many brilliant and creative minds at work. With film being a collaborative medium, she lives up to the idea that all the people working in the filmmaking process are filmmakers – from the producer to the utilityman – as they all play significant roles in making things work effectively to finally come up with a film.

She was fortunate enough to bring back some members of her production team from her first and second films. This new film was shot primarily in Marikina City, and some scenes in Antipolo City and Pasig City as well, under the photographic aegis of cinematographer Wowie Hao and the knack for excellent visual design of production designer Joy Puntawe. Completing the major members of the production staff include: production manager Gavin Herrera, art director Armi Cacanindin, assistant director Karla Pambid, musical scorer/sound engineer Philip Arvin Jarilla, field sound recordist Mark Locsin, and casting by Gigi Pirote.

The film stars Von Arroyo, Charles Trinidad, Judith Soriao, Dante Balois, Jocel Vergel de Dios, Loida Petalio, Henrex Alduezo, Ces Aldaba, Karl Moro, Rommel Buenaventura, Ellen Estrada, and a number of other talented character actors and actresses in film, TV, and theater.

The film is funded by the NCCA. The production was blessed by the support of major production houses including Unitel Pictures for camera equipment, FILMEX for lighting equipment, Engine Room for online editing requirements, Optima for colorgrading requirements, and Hit Productions for sound production requirements. The city government of Marikina is also giving support for the film.

The film is set to premiere on the first quarter of 2008.
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