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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 23, 2013

New Director Hannah Espia Says Jasmine Curtis Smith Has The Makings Of A Good Actress

NEW DIRECTOR HANNAH Espia says she immediately knew that Jasmine Curtis Smith will be ideal for the role of Yael in her debut flick, “Transit”, a Cinemalaya entry. “The moment she came in sa open auditions, I told our producer, Paul Soriano, that she’s the girl we’re looking for,” she says. “She lined up like everyone else. First day ng audition, 200 ang dumating. Next day, 400, and she stood out kasi yung features pa lang niya, perfect na for the part of a Fil-Israeli girl in the story.”

“Transit” is about Filipino OFWs in Israel. The conflict starts when the Israeli government planned to deport children of foreign workers. The scenes begin and end in an airport during a father and son’s transit flight from Tel Aviv to Manila. Ping Medina plays the male lead Moises, a Filipino single dad working as a caregiver in Herzliya, Israel. He has a 5-year old son, played by Mark Justine Alvarez of GMA-7’s “One Day Isang Araw”.

Janet (Irma Adlawan) is his neighbour, with Jasmine as her daughter. Worried about being separated from their children, Moises and Janet then hide their children from the immigration police by making them stay inside their house all the time. Also in the cast is Mercedes Cabral as the newest OFW in Israel, the “bagong salta”.

“The story is based on the true experiences of our kababayans in Israel,” says Direk Hannah. “Last year, I won the Cinemalaya audience choice award in the short film category for ‘Rueda’, my thesis film in college. I feel so blessed kasi nang i-enter ko itong ‘Transit’, it qualified and this is now my first full length film. Magastos gawin kasi nga on location abroad ang shoot, but marami kaming natipid. My mom is in the travel business and she helped us. Sa Tel Aviv, the Pinoy community gave us free board and lodging and even fed us for free. My scorer is my dad (Mon Espia, vocalist-guitarist of the band Labuyo). Maraming tumulong.”

The 26-year old Hannah majored in filmmaking at UP. “Transit” will have its gala premiere at the CCP Main Theatre on July 28, Sunday, 9 PM. And how would she rate Jasmine’s performance? Does she deliver?

“She definitely did. Mahirap ang role niya. All her lines are in Hebrew. But she nailed it, pati yung tamang emotions kahit hindi niya lubusang naiintindihan ang lahat ng words sa dialogue niya. She has the makings of a very good actress.”