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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.

Jul 28, 2013

Atty. Joji Alonso: The Real Queen Of Cinemalaya Filmfest

WHAT PROMPTED Quantum Films producer Joji Alonso to help bankroll three films that are now showing as Cinemalaya entries in the New Wave category: “Babagwa”, “The Diplomat Hotel” and “Debosyon”?

“I fell in love with the script of ‘Babagwa’ by Jason Laxamana,” she says. “I said uumpisahan ko lang and continue reading it later, pero hindi ko na nabitiwan until the end. Ang ganda kasi ng pagkakasulat. It has great potential to be accepted in film festivals abroad as it has a certain charm. It’s about lonely people who do scams in social media. It shows what might happen to you when you’re too trusting in Facebook.”

What about “The Diplomat Hotel”? “Writer-Director Chris Ad. Castillo wrote a very good script. I co-produce this with Kris Aquino. Ito naman has a potential to be shown in mainstream theatres kasi horror movie siya about the haunted Diplomat Hotel in Baguio. For the lead role of the TV journalist who’s doing a docu on the hotel, naisip ko agad si Gretchen Barretto. I talked to her myself agt ayaw niya noong una, but I told her she’s perfect for the role and magandang comeback niya to films via Cinemalaya kasi matagal na siyang walang movie. Payback din sa industry kasi she really wants to try doing an indie film. I told her she can do it really and she did, she really excels in the film”

And what about “Debosyon”? “They already shot the film on location in Bicol when Alemberg Ang asked for my help. Pinapanood sa akin. Namangka ako kasi ang ganda niya, but they need money for the post production that involves CGI. This one is an art film, mataas ang level. All the lines are in Bicol, using Bicolano poetry and a Bicolano song. The cinematography is so good, puedeng manalong best cinematography. It has only two characters, Mara Lopez and Paulo Avelino, and they are both very good.”

Atty. Joji also produces two other Cinemalaya entries: “Ekstra” starring Gov. Vilma Santos and “Instant Mommy” starring Eugene Domingo. So she can very well be considered as the bonafide Cinemalaya Queen. These two films will have their own presscons later as they will be released theatrically. “Ekstra” will be distributed by Star Cinema in mainstream theatres starting August 14. Atty. Joji herself will release “Instant Mommy” in theatres with the help of Joey Abacan of GMA Films.