Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Tirso Cruz III had a lead role in two Cinemalaya 2011 films “Maskara” by Laurice Guillen and “Bisperas” by Jeffrey Jeturian in the Director’s Showcase category. “Maskara” is out of competition but was the opening film of the fest.
“Bisperas” reaped a total of 5 Balanghay trophies in the Director’s showcase category: Best Film, Best Actress (Racquel Villavicencio), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Clarete), Best Cinematography (Roberto Yñiquez) and Best production design (Rodrigo Ricio). The Best Film award comes with a cash prize of P300,000 while the Best Cinematography award comes with a SONY SLT E5 video camera.
Atty. Josabeth Alonso during her acceptance speech admitted that the Best Film award was a surprise believing that the competition in the Director’s showcase category was extremely tight with a lot of quality films. Along with “Bisperas” in the Directors showcase category are: Busong (Palawan Fate) by Auraeus Solito; Isda (Fable of the Fish) by Adolfo Alix Jr. and Patikul by Joel C. Lamangan. The finalists of the Directors showcase each received a P500,000 seed grant from the Cinemalaya Foundation. The Directors Showcase is open to full length feature works by Filipino directors who have directed at least three full-length commercial feature films.
“Bisperas” is set on Christmas Eve. The Aguinaldo family’s residence is burglarized. Family members are made to identify stolen items and uncover lingering sentiments they have hidden from each other. Tirso said that the story is something that people can easily relate to, “I dare say that the people who are going to watch will be able to identify with it. If not a situation in their own lives for sure, they’ll have friends or other people who’ve shared this experience with them. It hits very close to home.”
For him the effort as lead actor is the same as any other role, “Being true to the directions of our captain Jeffrey Jeturian is crucial, plus listening well and trying to study the script well.” He is all praises for his director, “He basically has his story pat down. It’s like the back of his hand kahit na tutulog siya kaya niya idirek storya niya. Ganun siya ka in depth sa pagaaral ng kanyang trabaho.”
Director’s Showcase Best Actress Racquel Villavicencio won for her performance in “Bisperas.” But she is also in “Niño” by Loy Areceñas in the New Breed Category. Tirso said, “She plays my wife. We’ve been married a long long time. Certain things like that happen in life. After a while when you’re married some times you get edgy with each other. The smallest things trigger off quarrels. We’re both at edge here and we’re both trying to be civil about it in front of our family.”
Both of them have starred in “I Heart You Pare” with Ding Dong Dantes and Regine Velasquez. Tirso has learned to appreciate the subtleties in Racquel’s performance, “She has this controlled emotion of what a mother has to be like even though there are times when she’d like to explode. She tries to keep herself composed. You’d sense, through her body language through the way she looks that the family isn’t what it seems. There are problems underneath; clearly you’d see it right away. Each member has their own problems.”
Tirso is gladdened by the success of the fest, “Its public knowledge that most of the movies of Cinemalaya have been invited to different film festivals abroad. They have been getting raves. They have been getting respect which has been long overdue. The movie industries of the world turn their heads and realize ‘Hey these guys know what they’re doing. These guys are good these guys know their craft.’”
Now on its seventh year, Cinemalaya is a project of the Cinemalaya Foundation,CulturalCenterof the Philippines (CCP), Film Development Council of thePhilippinesand Econolink Investments, Inc. It is an all-digital film festival that aims to discover, encourage and honor cinematic works of Filipino filmmakers that boldly articulate and freely interpret the Filipino experience with fresh insight and artistic integrity.