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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 19, 2018

Director Dan Villegas Makes A Movie About The Afterlife, 'Hintayan Sa Langit', Starring Eddie Garcia And Gina Pareno Who He Never Thought He'd Get The Chance To Work With

DIRECTOR DAN VILLEGAS directs his second movie based on a one-act play, “Hintayan ng Langit”, which originally played at the CCP’s Virgin Labfest. His first one was “Changing Partners”, shown last year. “Actually, mas nauna kong napanood itong ‘Hintayan ng Langit’ written by Gege Severo in 2015, but naunang gawin yung ‘Changing Partners’ for Cinema One. Then sumunod itong ‘Hintayan ng Langit’ na entry sa QCinema Filmfest last October, where it won the Audience Award and where Eddie Garcia won the best actor award.”

He was defeated in QCinema by “Oda sa Wala”, written and directed by Dwein Baltazar who’s the scriptwriter of his last mainstream hit, “Exes Baggage”. How did he feel about it? “I haven’t seen ‘Oda’, but napanood ko yung previous movie niyang ‘Gusto Kita with All My Hypothalamus’ sa Cine Filipino and I liked it. I’m very happy for Dwein, one of our best young filmmakers around.”

So how did he expand the one act play that’s “Hintayan ng Langit” to a full length film? “The play only has two characters and was just set in one room, so we had to add more characters played by other actors like Mary Joy Apostol, Joel Saracho, Jomari Angeles and Kat Galang. We also added more locations. The lead characters are Tita Gina as Lisang and Tito Eddie as Manolo. They are in this place called ‘Kalagitnaan’, the hintayan sa langit where the souls of people who have died wait to be transferred to heaven. Lisang died two years earlier, but she hasn’t been given the go signal to go to heaven because she’s masungit, quarrelsome. Manolo is Lisang’s ex-boyfriend and when he arrives, they are made to share one room and, while together, they get to relive fond memories and uncover past secrets to one another. Will they get a second chance on love while they’re in the ‘Hintayan sa Langit’? That’s what’s the movie is all about.”

We ask Direk Dan and his stars if they believe in heaven and a place called purgatory which is the ‘Hintayan ng Langit’, and they all reply that they all believe in the existence of ‘langit, purgatoryo at impiyerno.’ “Actually, nasa atin na kung ang buhay natin ngayon e gagawin nating langit o impiyerno,” adds Eddie. “It’s all up to you and the kind of life you are going to lead on this earth.”

“Hintayan sa Langit” is Dan’s 12th film as a director. He said that as a student at the Ateneo dreaming of making films someday, he never thought he’d get the chance of directing veteran icons like Eddie and Gina someday.

“I really never thought na makakatrabaho ko these two legends,” he adds. “It’s my first time to work with them in a movie. When we were casting pa lang, si Tita Gina na talaga ang choice namin from the get go. And we’re happy that when we pitched the project to Tito Eddie, he liked it and he’s in between projects so sabi niya, mag-shoot na tayo. We shot the movie for 11 days and they’re both such a joy to work with. I’m now glad na right after OCinema, nakakuha kami agad ng playdate for wide release and we hope more people would watch it when it opens in theaters nationwide this Wednesday.”