By Boy Villasanta
Didn’t you know that the new film by Star Cinema starring Charo Santos and Bea Alonzo, one genre so-called project, “Eerie,” started in South Korea?
Yes, in Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival of BiFan in Bucheon City.
It was submitted to the 21st It Project of the BiFan in 2017 by its director—from concept to implementation— Mikail Red, one of the most promising young filmmakers in the country. Mikail is the man behind the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival entry “Rekorder,” a film on media piracy.
While “Eerie” was selected to the It Project category, it enjoyed a worldwide marketing pitch from the filmmaker. It was given a day in court where the filmmakers specifically the director and the producer met up with international investors, marketers, distributors, promoters and other bigwigs in world cinema business to sell their ideas. Interested parties from the four corners of world cinema signified their interest to bankroll on it. This time, Star Cinema just couldn’t ignore its potential.
It Project is a component of BiFan where outstanding film projects are especially given red carpet treatments by the host.
Mostly, genre films—defined by BiFan as specific, specialized formula the forerunners of them are horror, fantasy, thriller and other edge-cutting forms and contents. “Eerie” and its reps had obviously enjoyed the VIP treatment from BiFan—free hotel accommodation, air fare, arranged business meetings etc for the producer and the director.
Even if didn’t win any award during the closing ceremonies of the festival, it was readily shopped by a compatriot film outfit which was more than enough prize.
During the same film event, Red’s “Birdshot” was also screened in a special forum. After its showing, it was voted and approved by the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) to be the country’s official entry to the selection of the Best Foreign Language of the Oscars this year. Unfortunately, it didn’t merit a shortlist nomination but it got a considerable attention from many quarters including the international press.
It also added another feather in Mikail’s cup and galvanized “Eerie”’s foothold in its future production.
As early as the last quarter of 2017, Star Cinema had already heralded its full production with Red still at the helm.
“Eerie” seemed to be tailor-made for Charo, a veteran thespian whose debut film, “Itim” was of the genre mold directed by the maverick filmmaker Mike de Leon in the mid-70s. It was in “Itim” where Santos won her very first international acting award as Best Actress at the 1976 Asian Film Festival.
Casting Santos with Bea is sort of a coup. Alonzo might be noted and popular for her dramatic acting chops and rom-com ventures but being a good performer makes her a formidable co-star of a no-nonsense actress who gets better with age just like wine.
At this early, “Eerie” is already one of the most talked about films in the industry.
Technically, it has to acquire the most valuable assistance in any aspect of production like color grading. The film is now being color corrected by Marilen Magsaysay, one, if not the only, best colorist in the country. Don’t get it wrongly, though, because a film which is being color graded isn’t a bad film. It only enhances its visual appeal. And it is a universal requirement for post-prod to create a more convincing panorama.
The chilling effect of a horror film like “Eerie” can be more effective by color correction and Red couldn’t go wrong.