The Flotsam Story…(Part 2 of 10)

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So there we were decided on shooting a film, we were going to do it with 2 DSLR’s and just friends. The impetus was that we knew what we wanted and it was to capture what made me and other people come back to Flotsam coupled with the dream of making our own Richard Curtis film. Not to copy from Richard Curtis but to be independent and personal guided only by your experiences and just simply following your gut.

Joncy believed in the auteur school of filmmaking and he would always tell me this but here we were doing a film together and he laid it down every so often, we follow the auteur school where-in the director is king, we follow your lead.  As the director, I have to say, you cannot have a better situation coming in a film project than this.

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But it was really a chicken or the egg thing—they (Mia Sebastian, Carla Suiza and Joncy Sumulong) had built Flotsam and Jetsam hostel of which I was a fan of, following and writing about…here I am trying to put that whole feeling and concept of the place into a movie, so although I was the director, they were still the experts to the whole Flotsam experience so, it was quite symbiotic as I was actually following their lead as well.

Next thing we worked on was the premise and the characters.  I knew I didn’t want to do a surf film or a film about surfing. Maybe because I never considered myself as a surfer so even if I wanted to do a surf film, I wouldn’t know how.  I always knew that surfing would be the sport I’d be doing for a long time but I also knew that I was not a fanatic of anything but to get out of Manila and a stress-filled life, which is why surfing appealed to me so much. Of-course, I’m no hypocrite, surfing’s greatest offering was… girls in bikinis!

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So Flotsam was not going to be about surfing.  It would be about women in bikinis. I’m kidding. Ha!

Flotsam would be about love stories that happen in a surftown.

Before we even thought of making this film, I always knew that if I did a short film in Flotsam, the main character would be Flotsam.  I just saw the artistic hostel as a very strong force akin to the bar in Cheers and the restaurant in Mystic Pizza.  And as simple as this first character played out, so did the rest—who else would be in the movie Flotsam but the regulars at Flotsam?

There are a few characters in the film we loosely based on real people in Flotsam or from the surf-town.  I use the word “loosely” because they were inspirations only for as soon as we casted each character, it was a collaboration already between actors and the screenplay in coming up with the most interesting character onscreen. We made the actors/actresses own their roles.  And they did.  Ahhh, the cast. We had the best cast… but I’ll save that for another blog…

Back to the story.   Joncy was hell-bent on doing the film that he got Earl Noche to come in and make it happen.  Earl who works in Sales and Operations, is a very unique individual. Like Joncy, he’s the type of guy who when committed to something, would make things happen. A doer. And he committed to this.

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For weeks, Earl and Joncy would go around and find the funds to make this film. I always knew what Joncy wanted because he was a film fanatic but Earl, I still couldn’t get what he was about. So one day, I decided to just go and ask Earl why he was doing this and he simply put it: “I’ve sold everything…name it, I’ve sold it… but I’ve never sold a film.”

Where I wake up and think of stories to make into film, he gets a high out of selling.  Joncy and I would sometimes just look at Earl, sigh and say “iba talaga si Earl.” And it’s true. The guy is unique.

We also got a professional producer to come in to handle the production and brought in another marketing Goddess named Cheska to help us make this happen. And Cheska was another character, the only female in the group so far, all bubbly and girly, a real chick is what she was.

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So there was the core of Flotsam movie production being formed slowly. First it was just Joncy and I. Then Earl came in. Then our producers. Mind you, it was an all alpha-male group of first-class hecklers. And then the no-pushover chick, Cheska. Eventually, we would have Darlene Malimas join the mix. And the whole film was going to be the first baby of Banana Pancake Trail Productions.

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The short version of this story will always be: we drove back from La Union and created a child.

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