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Part 5 R E D

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Red is not about the color as it is the past tense of the word read.  That is the only reason I stuck with the title even if so many other foreign films have used this title.  Red is about words.  Red is about how people read context of stories told to them and how they act according to what was told to them. That is my fascination with this story and why Red is written as such.

There are a lot of talking and words on this film.  Ha! Good luck viewers.

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Is it based on a true story?  Yes and no.  A lot of the events in the film are based on real events that I’ve known growing up—some happened to my friends, some to people I know, some to myself.   They’re not all connected as in the film Red, that part is fiction.  But the characters are written based on real people I know.  Some of the names of people I’ve kept just as tribute to my friends, people who’s names I just found interesting enough to be on film.

How much of Red is real and how much is fiction?  Gossip is real.  If you find someone who’s never been a victim of gossip, they are the luckiest people on this planet.

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I’m certain you’re all saying to yourself, “oh no, another art film”. Well, we set out to do just the opposite.  This is not an art film, (no offense to art films).   We actually set the bar at entertaining people with this film.  And I sure hope we achieve it.

Part 4 R E D


M e r c e d e s  C a b r a l  (Mai)


The character of Mai was tricky because it is such a small role (in terms of exposure) yet it has a really big impact in the main character and the movie.   It’s a love story but you almost never see them together.  It’s a very limiting but demanding role—sort of…create the biggest impact in just a few scenes. That was the role of Mai.  And Mercedes Cabral was a very easy choice to make.  They say that if you introduce someone in a lengthy fashion, it means they are nobody important.  Mercedes is someone who’s body of work spells it out for you.  I think we’re lucky to have her on board, period.    And she is such a trooper!

Oh, and one more thing—everyone talks about the power of Nora Aunor’s eyes.  I’ve never seen it in person.  But I’ve seen Mercedes’.  And I think I know what everyone means.

(part 2) The story of RED. My most personal film.

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Red is the first film I’m doing that I wrote myself.  But after writing it for 5 years, we brought it a professional writer, Dwight Gaston.  Red was written in English and was to be shot in Ilonggo.  But by the time Dwight came in, it was clear that I had wanted Echo to play Red, Mercedes Cabral to play Mai, Mylene Dizon as Bianca and JM Rodriguez to play Art. Those were cast members I was certain of.   So Dwight already wrote it in Tagalog.  When I approached Dwight, I gave him blanket freedom to do with it as he pleased… if he wanted to take out scenes I wrote, he could.  He had total freedom.

Of-course, in fairness to Dwight, so many other rewrites were made to the 192-sequence script. Most of it was to scale it down because it was just too long, too expensive. And then we scaled down some more during the shoot.  A very painful but sadly a very necessary process in indie filmmaking.

My last narrative film was in back in 2008 (Namets).  I’ve worked as a Cinematographer for a number of films since then. And they were great experiences. I learned from every film I was a part of.  And so I missed directing a narrative film. It is fun and exciting to create scenes born out of words written down on a piece of paper. Collaborating with people is the best part. You come in with an idea and some descriptions of how you will execute that idea and your team just makes it better and more complete. There’s always magic there and I find that to be such a trip.

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