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Posted by ASUS Philippines on Tuesday, December 22, 2015
An 18th birthday film for dear Pia.
Hashtag: Click play and repeat.
Written and directed by yours truly.
Styling by RabbitHole Creatives
Makeup by Madge Landrito Lejano
Hair by Brian Borda
Artwork: Katsy Garcia
Everybody hates traffic. Everybody curses at traffic. Nobody likes it.
But today it put a smile on my face.
I was at my 43rd minute along Edsa starting from Magallanes. It was almost 8 and I was dying to get home to catch dinner with the family. I was getting impatient and hungry.
After getting out of the Ayala tunnel and just before hitting the Gil Puyat flyover I decided to wave to a vendor and buy junk food.
I asked how much the Kropeck was. He had three bags in his hand and I had twenty pesos in mine. He said ten pesos each so I said I’ll get two.
He gave me two packs, then without hesitation gave me the third.
“Eto sir, pamasko ko na sa inyo.”
He broke into a big warm smile and I let out a big one too.
I pointed to his empty big plastic bag, sign of a good night’s sale – “Salamat! uwi na! Pahinga na!”
The elderly man said – “Yes sir!” Ubos na, ButI na lang traffic.”
I rolled up my window, started munching on my Kropeck. Still with a smile on my face.
I had to dig up this picture to preface my blogpost about Nikki’s wedding. This pic was taken on the day Iya and Drew got married, January of 2014. I got so kilig when we took the selfie. Shaina and Nikki had nothing but great words for the video we created and were half joking about booking me and my team when their time come. Nikki was “kinda” single then.
Only, Nikki wasn’t joking.
Fast forward to almost exactly a year later – January of 2015 , she gets engaged.
I don’ treat these kinds of messages lightly. These are not feathers to be put on a cap. But rather, motivation to do better, to make sure we are worth more than we are paid, that we exceed expectations, that we surpass the hype. It’s a delicious moment. But frightening as well. Of course, we never back down.
In earlier posts in social media, I touched upon the songwriting process with Johnoy Danao. I actually asked Johnoy a year earlier to write music for Bianca Gonzales’ wedding. But it never came into fruition. The harmonies of Ransom Collective proved more suitable for the island vibe of her wedding to JC. I suppose it wasn’t the “Right Time” yet. Yes, pun intended.
So we finally got around to doing this collaboration when I emailed Johnoy again around August. I described the love story, and I described the feel. But my musical talents are severely lacking so it was all JD from there. I got the lyrics around September 18 and an acoustic demo on September 21(!). That’s some prolific genius right there.
We met just one more time to discuss the arrangement. I only had a few suggestions but we had full trust with our arranger Ronald.
I had the music shortly thereafter, it was glorious and it was perfect. I couldn’t tell anyone because I wanted it to be a surprise. Doubly tough because restraint is not one of my finer qualities.
So I had the song. The next thing necessary of course was the footage.
It was a gamble of course. What if the the footage didn’t match the music? It was a risk I was willing to take.
The payoff was huge. The things I look most for a wedding – the authenticity of emotions, the truth in the moment, the beauty in the fleeting, the intricacy of the relationships – these were all present. These were all I needed. And mind you, these are the things I look for in all weddings we shoot.
And so we end up with a feel good film. But not the kind you forget a few hours after. It’s the kind of story which touches the soul, that begs you to press play again, the kind which gives hope and makes you pause to re-assess your own state, “I’m not in a rush, I can wait.”
Thank you Nikki and BJ for sharing your story with us.
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
Have you ever written something where you actually took longer to get yourself ready writing than the actual writing itself? You twirl your pen, webcrastinate, get more coffee, or just stare blankly at the screen. But the words don’t flow.
This is one of those instances.
Last May, I wrote about Rodney and Sarah’s wedding in San Antonio. I was re-reading it recently and realised how I failed to give proper context in words to the events surrounding the wedding. Maybe it was a conscious desire to remain ambiguous.
This time around, I cleared it with Sarah and asked if I could tell all. She said yes.
Sarah was in remission during her wedding. It was a great and hopeful time for all. The wedding was beautiful and things were looking up.
I follow them closely on social media and liked their pictures no end while on holiday in the United Kingdom.
This is the part where Hollywood movies end. The guy and girl get together and get married. They live a beautiful life. The credits roll, then the music plays and they live happily ever after. But this isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t even just a stupid wedding video where the petals flutter ever so slowly at the last shot. All warm, fuzzy and happy. It isn’t. It’s real life.
A month ago I received an sms from Sarah asking me nicely if I could edit their final video “na masaya”. Too many tears were shed in the wedding so she wanted to recall the event in a much lighter, happier tone.
She also wished she’d still be around to watch it. She was sick again and unsure if she’s be able to finish the treatments.
When you get messages like those. Everything stops.
She could have asked Rodney. Or a friend, or her parents. But instead she told me herself. That’s something to me.
We expedited the editing and delivered the videos in time. But it’s really not the videos I want to go into, it was the conversations we had throughout the entire process.
First of all, if you have a friend who has a life threatening illness and you don’t. You just don’t know what to say. I feel stupid sometimes and awkward most of the time.
Words are sometimes empty. I told her that it’s alright and no matter how brief our time here in this world, what’s important is that she’s touched so many people’s lives.
She counters – “I don’t want to touch people’s lives, I just want to normal and healthy.”
And I am endeared to her even more with her spunk and fight.
I remain quiet for a minute in the convo. And become honest in the exchange. No sugar coating for the first time.
“Well, andyan na yan, ano pa magagawa natin? Make the most out of it na lang.”
To which we agree on the quote – “We cannot change the cards we are dealt. Just how we play the hand.”
My mother is a cancer survivor. So let me get that out of the way.
That was in the late nineties. She went through it strong and determined. She has the scars (literally and figuratively) to prove it. Two decades after that episode in her life and she still has the strength and chutzpah to call out her sons for not eating properly and on time, spoiling her grandkids rotten and making sure she gets to haggle the best por kilo prices at the wet market. Tough cookie she is.
So when I got the opportunity to do an advocacy film for Marie France in partnership with I Can Serve Foundation, I jumped at the chance.
This film is a message of hope and strength for all women battling the big C. Dawn Zulueta says it best – You are not alone.
A note on the song. It was already a week of deliberating which song to use for the piece when we chanced upon this Marie Hines original. I was giddy of course because I am a fan of her body of work. Please support her and go buy her music. It was awesome that the licenses were cleared in time and that we had no less than Ms. Lea Salonga re-record it. Stars aligning – there couldn’t be a more apt description.
So now you’ve watched the film. You were moved. You feel something. What next then?
Head on to I Can Serve Foundation and find out how you can help.
Thank you to Marie France, all the gracious and giving ambassadors, Nikoy and Patty, our tough survivors on screen, Marie Hines for allowing us to use your beautiful song.
We wanted to convey a sense of importance to the memories we preserve as filmmakers, that after all is long and gone and perished, there are artifacts by which we can remember the past by.
These artifacts – Bluray Discs, Same Day Edits online – these are not designed to replace memories, they are designed to trigger them. How that one great glorious day looked like, sounded like, smelt like, felt like.
Weddings are ephemeral. That’s why we are here. We are keepers of personal his
Julie Anne San Jose’s US-produced single “Tidal Wave” gets a rad remix from American music producers Ømen and Kris Keyz, and given an #ImAPreviewGirl swag in this fashion editorial turned music video. #PreviewxJulieAnne
Produced by Preview Magazine
Direction, Editing, Color Grading by Jason Magbanua
Director of Photography: Zach Sycip
VFX by Dennis Castillo
Camera Operators: Michael Jamandre and Joen Escultura
Project Manager: Tin Villanueva
Production Assistant: Patrick Magbanua
BTS coverage: Janna Lejano
Dance and Choreography by ADDLIB Dance Crew
Male Model: Carlo Gonzales
Shot on location at Chaos and Pangaea, City of Dreams Manila
Julie Anne San Jose wearing Jerome Salaya Ang and Giuseppe Zanotti styled by Daryl Chang
ADDLIB Dance Crew and Carlo Gonzales styled by Andre Chang
Makeup by Omar Ermita for Shu Uemura
Hair by Mark Familara for Kiehl’s Stylist Series
I met Jason and Regina just a few days before their wedding. What immediately struck me was the black Star Trek shirt he was wearing, Spock, not Picard mind you. This guy was OG.
The talk about the wedding day quickly steered (with my excellent manoeuvring), to action figures (he bought a couple in Shoppesville), graphic novels (he teaches literature in Manhattan), monotheism and the inherent racism of Filipinos favoring white guys (which I hope he doesn’t get accustomed to).
The meeting was roughly 45 minutes but it gave me enough vision and direction on how to approach the wedding of two people who were madly in love with one another, where boring was not in their vocabulary, and who never took themselves too seriously.
When you use Europe’s Final Countdown as entrance song at the reception, you know it’s going to be special.
Last June 26th, The US Supreme Court voted in favor of a constitutional guarantee for equal rights of same-sex marriages.
“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
It was a historic day in the US and I understand we are in the Philippines. (the last member country of the UN to not have divorce).
That kind of recognition may never see the light of day in our country but the ruling had such a profound impact on me as I realized I was filming a gay wedding that very day I was hearing the news from the US.
“Love has won.” That was the rally cry from the western hemisphere. And yes, in the end , we are all better people when love wins.