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STORIES about faith and finding love, exploring open relationships, and searching for the purpose of living, are the main themes of upcoming films starring Star Magic artists.
The three films are being done in collaboration with Mavx Productions (A Far Away Land and Doll House) as part of talent agency Star Magic’s 30th anniversary.
“Naniniwala ako sa kakayanan ng Mavx (I believe in the ability of Mavx) to produce a lot of quality programs. Kaya naman ’pag may pini-pitch sa ’min na concept, masigasig din kami magprisinta ng aming artista (So when they pitch a concept, we are enthusiastic about suggesting our artists) so we can have good content. Good content and good artists will make a good movie,” Star Magic head Laurenti “Lauren” Dyogi said at a media conference held on Jan. 7 at District 8 Manila in San Juan City which was also streamed online.
The three films, directed by RC Delos Reyes, are I Love Lizzy, Swing, and Unravel, all of which present different perspectives on love.
A CHOICEThefirst in the lineup to premiere is I Love Lizzy, starring Carlo Aquino and Barbie Imperial. The movie opens in cinemas on Jan. 18.
It follows Jeff (played by Mr. Aquino), a seminarian, who visits Albay for a vacation. While there, he meets Lizzy (played by Ms. Imperial), who serves as his tour guide. This leads to a romantic relationship with Lizzy which complicates his impending commitment to the priesthood.
“I enjoyed shooting in Albay kasi doon ako lumaki (I grew up there). Iyung mga places na napuntahan namin for the shoot, hindi pa ako nakakapunta doon kahit taga-doon ako (The places where we went to shoot, I hadn’t been there yet even if I am from that area),” Ms. Imperial said of the filming experience.
The two other films, whose release date have not yet been announced, were set and shot in Switzerland.
OPEN MARRIAGE AND MENTAL HEALTHReal-life couple RK Bagatsing and Jane Oineza star in The Swing. They play Kevin and Pam, a married couple struggling to have a child. After Kevin starts going out with different women, the couple, instead of separating, moves to Switzerland. They agree to have an open marriage setup. Then Pam has an affair with a Swiss man.
Mr. Bagatsing said that the story is new for the Filipino audience.
“It doesn’t mean that if it doesn’t work for (the characters), it doesn’t work for others. In other places, iyun iyung tugma sa kung ano iyung preference nila (it fits into their preferences),” Mr. Bagatsing said of the concept of open relationships.
The third film in the lineup is Unravel, starring Gerald Anderson and Kylie Padilla, who has agreed to collaborate with Star Magic for the film.
Unravel tackles the mental health issues of Lucy (played by Ms. Padilla) who meets Noah (Mr. Anderson) in Switzerland. Noah joins Lucy in a series of adventures prior to her plan to take her own life. They develop a deeper connection while together, which makes Lucy gain a different perspective.
“I was very careful with this project. I did not want it to be like we were romanticizing this subject. It was very sensitive,” Ms. Padilla said, adding that the story is very character driven.
“I really felt for my character Lucy… When you watch it, you’ll see that hopefully there is a more positive outlook in life,” she added. “After I read the whole script, naging positive iyung outlook ko (I developed a positive outlook) and it helped me out in a way that I didn’t think it would.
“I think it’s a good way to start a conversation because it happens. Suicide is a thing in our reality. I think this movie would be a good conversation starter,” she said.
THEATER OR STREAMINGWhile the three films were in production in 2022, the idea of theatrical distribution only came later.
“It’s still a risk with the turnout of cinema sales (globally and internationally). …because of the pandemic, lumakas ang streaming so malaking epekto iyun sa sales ng cinema (streaming strengthened because of the pandemic, so that had an impact on cinema sales),” Mr. Delos Reyes said.
“Para sa isang director, iba pa rin kasi iyung feeling kapag ang pelikula mo, makikita mo sa big screen (A director gets a different feeling when they see their film on the big screen),” Mr. Delos Reyes said.
The three films are among Star Magic’s 30th anniversary projects. Last year, the talent agency kicked off its anniversary celebration with a US concert tour featuring several of its contract artists. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman