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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, 2016

Mang Kepweng Returns' Director GB Sampedro & Producers Lady & Yvez Ilao Optimistic They Will Make It As An Entry In The Coming Metro Manila Filmfest

DIRECTOR GB SAMPEDRO is helming not only the concert “Kanta Ko, Panahon N’yo” of Viva Live but also the Metro filmfest entry of a new movie company, Cineko Productions, led by power couple Yvez and Ladylyne Ilao. They’re among the first ones to complete their film and it’s already been submitted to the screening committee. “Sana naman, mag-qualify kami at makuha kaming official entry,” says producer Ladylyne.

So how did Direk GB get to helm the project?

“It’s the producers who chose it. At dahil naabutan ko naman yung movies ni Mang Kepweng starring the late Chiquito, natuwa akong napili nila ako for their movie,” he says. “Hindi ito remake, ha. The new Mang Kepweng played by Vhong Navarro is actually the son of the first Mang Kepweng, pero horror-comedy-fantasy pa rin ang pelikula.”

What’s the biggest challenge for him in directing “Mang Kepweng Returns”? “The big challenge is how to introduce Mang Kepweng to today’s millennial audiences na hindi siya kilala. Our biggest problem naman is the weather. Lagi kasing umuulan right from our first shooting day in August. E, mahirap ding pagsama-samahin ang mga artista namin kasi it’s a big cast. Pero awa ng Diyos, natapos naman namin in time for the deadline, pati yung special effects sa fantasy scenes.”

Aside from Vhong, also in the cast are new sexpot Kim Domingo as his love interest, James Blanco as Vhong’s brother, Sunshine Cruz as James’ wife, with Kim and Louise de los Reyes as the sisters of Sunshine, Juancho Trivino as Louise’s romantic interest, comedians Jobert Austria and Alex Calleja as the sidekicks of Vhong, Jaclyn Jose as Vhong’s mother, Pen Medina as the rival albularyo of Vhong with Valeen Montenegro and Jhong Hilario as his cohorts, standup comic Tuko as the ghost who haunts Vhong, Lotlot de Leon as the friend of the first Mang Kepweng, Jackie Rice as the princess in the fantasy portion, Matet de Leon as Vhong’s patient na may big twist sa character, Crazy Duo na winners sa comedy search ng ABS-CBN, Gerard Acao as a maligno and child stars Balang from GMA and Mini Vhong, Chunso and Zia from ABS-CBN.

What prompted producers Lady and Yvez to go into film production? “Yung mga kasosyo namin ang gusto talagang makagawa ng movie na kasali sa Metro filmfest kasi target audience namin, yung mga bata kapag Pasko. We made sure na magugustuhan ito hindi lang ng kid viewers but by their whole family. Tatawa sila, matatakot sila, mage-enjoy sila,” says Lady.

So do they now have any regrets? “None so far. Kasi magaling si Direk GB at cooperative naman, mababait lahat ng artista, so no hitches. Lahat maayos. Di namin ito tinipid as we want to make a good impression kaya hindi kami mapapahiya. So far, P20 million na ang gastos namin, wala pang promo. We’re partnering with Viva for its release.”

Lady is optimistic the movie will be a big hit as she has a lucky charm: the baby inside her womb. “First baby namin ito ng husband ko at sabi nila, kapag buntis daw, suwerte ito. So sana nga, totoo kasi marami pa kaming balak na isusunod na projects once maging hit ang ‘Mang Kepweng Returns’.”

We’ll pray you have an easy delivery, Lady, and that your first movie venture will hit it big at the box office.