By Marinel Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines Director Joel Lamangan tapped real-life
activists for "Sigwa," a film
based on true accounts of students who fought the Marcos dictatorship
in the 1970s.
Dawn Zulueta, Zsazsa Padilla and Gina Alajar lead the cast of the
indie production, one of five finalists in the "Directors' Showcase"
category of the 6th Philippine Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival
"This project doesn't seem like an indie film at all," said
production manager Dennis Evangelista, who also worked with Lamangan
in "Dukot" and "Sagrada Familia." "We have about a hundred extras per
shooting day, and have a lot of big scenes to shoot."
Last week, Lamangan shot two "rally" scenesone with Zulueta at the
Quiapo Park in Manila, and Dizon, Pauleen Luna, Marvin Agustin, Lovi
Poe and Jay Aquitania on Bustillos Street.
The scenes shot on the first shooting day, held in three different
locations in Quezon City, were said to have cost P260,000.
The five Cinemalaya finalists are given only a seed production grant
of P500,000, plus P100,000 as post-production grant.
"Sigwa" is based on stories documented by an American reporter
(played by Zulueta) who covered student activism in Manila in the
'70s. The film features four other charactersEddie (Allen Dizon),
Oliver (Tirso Cruz III), Cita (Padilla) and Azon (Alajar)who were
former student activists. Forty years later, they reunite and
discover that their beliefs have changed.
Evangelista said that with the actors' busy schedules, arranging for
them to meet for shooting was also very difficult. "Luckily, they are
all very cooperative," he pointed out.
On the set of "Sigwa," Lamangan is visibly in his element.
Evangelista said. "He is happy to be working on his dream project. He
is actually the first director from among the five finalists to have
started shooting last week," she added. "After the festival, he plans
to have a series of special screenings for 'Sigwa' all over the country."
Lamangan will be competing with Gil Portes ("Two Funerals"), Joselito
Altarejos ("Pink Halo-Halo"), Mark Meily ("Isang Pirasong Pangarap")
and Mario O'Hara ("Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio"). The nine-day
Cinemalaya film fest begins on July 9.