The independent movie scene cloaked itself as a medium of exposing the reality of life, but as far as my life have gone, I haven't seen a boy became gay because of a childhood curse (burn your self if you don't get it). The creative juices of the past indie films I've seen seem to be a little bit off the top to the point that I lost track of its true essence, but when I saw the teaser of The Animals, I instantly fell in love with its raw and highly rational storyline and it left me unmoved with a single thought: "The freaking movie happens."
Stained Glass Production and Lunar Saint's The Animals tells the story of three teens and how they unveiled their wild side at an open house party at a clubhouse. The film took the emphasis on each character's transition through showing their normal life including what they are at school, at home and with their families into what they become when they are partying with their friends as the story happens in a 24 hours setting.
The man behind the film, Gino M. Santos, who said yes for an interview (confetti!), admitted that he is somehow related to the story: "I used to organize these kinds of parties back in high school."
He had always been aware of the troubles alcohol does, and already did, to the teenagers especially without proper adult supervision.
"I've never really saw a film that talked about these things." Gino said and so his first entry for CINEMALAYA meant to address the said problem.
What I really love about The Animals is that it didn't stand up with the cliche that every problem in this world, or in this nation perhaps, roots from poverty. I mean, money is such a big deal, for sure, but it isn't the sole reason why the world acts abating sometimes.
"I just wanted to tell a different kind of story for a change, and show people that there's a story in a different social class too." Gino answered about The Animals' edge among the other CINEMALAYA entries.
It is inevitable to notice that Gino picked celebrities with strong following. However, he didn't chose them just to make a buzz (but as I said again, it is inevitable)- he had them for he was sure that they are the ones who will give justice to his characters. (every director wouldn't want to make a mess with his creation, right?)
Albie Casiño, a.k.a Christian of the top-rated revival of Mara Clara, was picked to play the character of Jake.
"Bagay na bagay siya sa role 'cause his character Jake, is your typical, popular, care-free guy in your high school batch." Gino explained. He also added that Albie was really "in it to win it" and he was intrigued by Albie's natural swag.
(Sana ganyan din kagwapo yung typical guy sa batch ko! xD)
Unlike Albie who really fought for the role, Patrick Sugui was already eyed by Gino when he was still on the Big Brother House for Pinoy Big Brother Teen Clash of 2010.
"When I saw him in PBB Teens, I thought he was perfect. When I met him while we were casting for The Animals, I proved myself right."
Dawn Balagot, model, whom you might recognize as the cutie girl from Parekoy and Rakista, and the bubbly girl on Oishi's newest commercial, played the female lead role. Gino and Dawn have known each other since Gino's sophomore year on high school so he gave Dawn a shot. When he interviewed her and came im for a reading, he realized that she could actually play the part.
"Happy! Excited but a little nervous. Coz I had some really challenging scenes lol." Dawn answered to the question on how she feel about her first indie movie. She also declared that she is not closing her doors for another film like this. (Okay, my casting is done for my future movie!)
Albie, Patrick and Dawn undergone an acting workshop with Gino where he first saw them interact with each other. He was, nevertheless, impressed by their talent.
I was wondering if the film went through any hindrances and so I decided to ask Gino about it, but in the back of my mind I was like (Should I? If he answer lack-of-fund-oh-goodness-we-got-no-money-for-this-and-that then I think I'm supporting another UGH.) But thank goodness he didn't answer that way!
"Shooting! Definitely shooting. Because 60% of my script is at night, we only had 9-10 hours to finish the sequences, and we were shooting during the peak of summer where the sun sets so late, and rises so early."
(How on Earth have I not thought about that?)
He also added that interacting with almost 250 people for 3 days was quite overwhelming for him, but he managed to overcame all of those.
"But at the end of the day, I charge these “hindrances” to experience, so they aren’t bad things at all. We’re all pleased with the outcome of the film so all is well."
When asked about his hopes of winning something out of the film he humbly answered: "No, not really. I'm just here to tell a story, but an award would be nice, of course."
The Animals will have its public screening on July 20-29 at CCP, Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma together with the other CINEMALAYA 2012 filmfest entries.
Also starring Issa Litton , Micah Cabral, Vangie Martelle, John Wayne Sace, Bryan Homecillo, Carlo Cruz, Andrew Felix.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF CINEMALAYA: CINEMALAYA
LIKE THE ANIMALS ON FACEBOOK: The Animals Movie
FOLLOW THE ANIMALS ON TWITTER: The Animals Movie
FOLLOW GINO SANTOS ON TWITTER: @ginomsantos