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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 6, 2016

Director Erik Matti, The Guy Who Initiated The Changes In The Metro-Manila Filmfest, On How He Feels About This Year Film Festival's Choice Of Entries

ERIK MATTI won as best director in last year’s Metro filmfest for “Honor Thy Father”. But he complained about his film being disqualified as best picture and this led to an investigation that revamped the way entries are screened. Is he happy now?

“Natuwa ako," he says. "Kasi before, script lang ang sina-submit and now, the finished film na at malaking bagay yun. Sa eight films na napili ngayon, you may or may not agree sa choices na walang mainstream movies pero sana, hindi sabihin agad na hindi kikita yan, puro indie. Everyone’s now saying it’s gonna fail. Sana naman, bago husgahan, bigyan muna ng chance to show this to our audience, panoorin muna. A different selection was made and siempre, sa umpisa, maninibago sila, but I hope people will respect it and really give it a chance.”

His entry now, “Seklusyon”, is the only horror entry in the Metro Manila Filmfest, so it has a good
chance of hitting it big at the box office since horror flicks are almost always blockbusters in the filmfest. “Seklusyon” is set in 1947 when candidates for priesthood, called deacons, are separated from society and put in a secluded place to make sure they will not be seduced by the devil to turn their back on their vocation and avoid their ordination as full fledged priests.

“We got the story idea from an editor whose brother na magiging pari na was told not to go out anymore before his ordination, para di siya ma-tempt ng devil. Two years namin itong dinevelop. I’ve done a horror film before, ‘Pasiyam’, and the ‘Aswang Chronicles’ horror-action, ‘Tiktik’ and ‘Kubot’, but for this one, I got a group of new actors na some of them, walang acting experience, so winorkshop ko muna, and set the story right after World War II na wala pang technology like we have now. This is the backdrop para the deacons are really confined in a very secluded place. We filmed it in an abandoned house na no water, no electricity in Campo Bello in Pililla, Rizal. It’s important that the house becomes a character in itself.”

An ensemble film, "Seklusyon" stars Rhed Bustamante as a child faith healer who turns out to be the devil’s disciple. Neil Ryan See is the priest investigating the case of Rhed. Ronnie Alonte, Dominic Roque, Johnvic de Guzman and JR Versales are the four young deacons who experience paranormal activities while in seclusion. Also in the cast are Lou Veloso as a former priest who’s the caretaker of the old house, Phoebe Walker as the nun who acts as the guardian of the faith healer, Elora Espano as Ronnie’s ex-girflriend, Sherry Lara as the mother superior, plus Jerry O’Hara and Teroy Guzman.

“I’m very pleased with everyone’s acting,” adds Direk Erik. “The leads here are Rhed, Neil Ryan and Ronnie. Rhed is really, really great, very instinctive at matitimpla mo ang acting, unlike other child actors. She should be nominated as best actress, not just as a child actress, kasi lead ang role niya.”
Direk Erik is really very busy these days as he is also doing an action film, “Buy Bust” with Brandon Vera and Anne Curtis, and the pioneering “On the Job, The Series” for HOOQ with a star-studded cast.