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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.

Nov 1, 2010


Tells Where Unrealistic Dreams Can Lead Us

Get to know the ambitious young lass Terya in Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria Kirchbaum which screens at the 2010 Cinema One Originals Film Festival from November 10 to 16 at the Shang Cineplex of the Shangri-la Mall in Edsa.

Directed by Remton Siega Zuasola and written by award-winning fictionist Maria Victoria Beltran (Babaylan), this is a light comedy which narrates where the "damgo" or dreams of a young island girl to have a better life will take her. Composed of an ensemble of mostly local actors and first timers led by Donna Gimeno, with Suzette Ranillo and Alex Uypanco, Zuasola himself shares how surprised he was with how instantly natural his cast was on screen that “they worked really well altogether specially in staying in character for the whole duration of a single take that lasts for an hour and a half on the average. I observed they went out of their comfort zone, that’s why their performances were brilliant.”

Eleuteria is a Cebuana who lives specifically in Olango Island, a well-known stopover for migratory birds from the Northern Hemisphere when the weather turns cold. Nicknamed Terya, she has this ambition to become affluent in life but this is hampered because of several reasons: she has an impoverished family. She has no finances of her own. She’s also poorly educated. Thus, is faced with minimal opportunities. Thinking about her family and especially her younger sister Delia, Terya becomes bent on surging into any opportunity to make a better life for them, not just for her. When her cousin Merle who married a German, came home for a long visit, Terya becomes instantly envious, inspired and thus perceived what she can also be. Now despite having a boyfriend in the island, but with the recommendation of her cousin, plus the meddling of her mother to fix things with the recruiter, Terya is forced to apply to become a mail-to-order bride. However already reluctant and a little uncertain of what can await her, Terya feels there is no backing out from it all

Zuasola has already made his mark in the independent film circuit when he helmed the documentary Sinug which won the Grand Prize Winner, Best Editing and Best Production Design in the Sinulog Documentary Competition in 2008. His next short Humamai won the 2nd Best Picture in the Sinulog Shot Filmfest in 2009 and became an Official Entry into the Culture Unplugged Film Festival in India in 2009. His lovely romantic comedy To Siomai Love, where his Eleuteria Kirchbaum Donna Gimeno also acted, garnered nomination for Best Short Film in Gawad Urian 2010 and won the Ishmael Bernal Award in the Cinemanila 2009.

Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria Kirchbaum centers on a young character who, while shows that anybody has the human right to aim for a better status in life and be amoral with their decisions and actuations in life, the story is also a precautionary tale for young impoverished Filipinas whose desire for a better life become gullible to the idea that a marriage to a foreigner will improve their lives. But while the story rings true about what marginalized Pinays experience when they surge into such uncertain opportunities, Zuasola stresses “may whimsy iyung story nito kasi si Eleuteria naman, meron siyang void na fini-fill sa buhay niya eh. Hindi siya pinapansin ng mga lalaki kase siyempre ‘plain Jane’ ang hitsura niya, maitim. Walang appeal. Pinsan niya lang kasi si Merle kaya siya ang prina-prioritize na mabigyan ng pen-pal na napaka-daling mangyari lalo na ngayon. The Internet even brought penpal-ing to a higher level with chatrooms, webcams and on-line dating services.” This ushers to why Zuasola feels the importance of telling Terya’s ‘damgo’ is actually a reality. “Eleuteria’s story represents many Filipinos who have undergone similar experiences in real life, having to leave their families and homeland to seek greener pastures. Bu their stories have different endings; some happy some sad, some inspirational some tragic. This movie is open-minded because it leaves viewers a chance to guess or to hope what awaits Terya on foreign shores. That’s why I’m grateful there’s Cinema One Originals because this film festival fosters growth among unknown, promising and young filmmakers who have unconventional but real stories to tell.”

Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria Kirchbaum is one of the seven films to be featured in Cinema One Originals 2010. You may catch it from November 10 to 16 at the Shang-ri La Plaza Mall. Continuing with the 16th year anniversary of Cinema One’s rule on the cable viewing landscape, the Cinema One Awards Night will be held on November 14 at the Dolphy Theater of the ABS-CBN.

The Cinema One Originals Film Festival 2010 is owned and produced by Creative Programs Inc which owns Cinema One cable channel, the premiere movie cable channel in the Philippines.

Donna Gimeno – Eleuteria/Terya
Suzette Ranillo – Nanay
Alex Uypuanco – Tatay

Director – Remton Siega Zuasola
Screenplay – Remton Siega Zuasola
Story – Ma. Victoria Beltran
Executive Producer – Ronald Arguelles
Consultant for Cinema One Originals – Sherad Anthony Sanchez
Assistant Director – Ivan Zaldarriaga
Line Producer – Jiji Borlasa
Director of Photography – Christian Linaban
Associate Producer – Beverly Tañedo
Production Manager – Ara Chawhudry
Production Design – Kaloy Uypuanco
Art Director – Victor Villanueva
Makeup Artist – Syrel Lopez

To view the rest of the Entries:
Cinema One Digital Film Festival 2010