Dingdong Dantes and Matti’s monster

Php80-M horror film 'Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles' finally premieres in Manila after two years in the making

DINGDONG DANTES AT THE 'Tiktik' celebrity premiere. Photo by Patricia Evangelista

MANILA, Philippines – Dingdong Dantes may be listed as a producer, but the GMA7 actor admits he had very little to do with the film’s narrative direction.

“Everything you see on the screen now was exactly what was on the script I read. When we were shooting, I didn’t have to change anything. I just submitted myself to Erik’s direction, and that was it.”

The film, also starring Dantes and Lovi Poe and produced by Reality Entertainment, Agostodos, Mothership, Post Manila and GMA Films, premiered to a celebrity audience October 16 at Greenbelt 3. Marketed as the country’s first green-screen film, the ambitious Php80-M horror film directed by filmmaker Erik Matti Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is Matti’s Ilonggo take on the aswang film.

Matti is a native of Bacolod, where the local monster is called “tiktik.”

The Tiktik is a bird that inhabits a person and then it transforms you into a blood-hungry blood-sucking humanoid. The title is something of a joke among members of the crew, as “tiktik” in some parts of the country means dirt on male genitals — a discovery Matti made late in the production.

Dantes may not make directorial calls, but he says he is very much involved in the film’s marketing decisions. The film was “a risk,” but was necessary as a “first step” in Philippine filmmaking. He calls the movie “a shared vision” with Matti.

“He’s a brilliant man,” Dantes says of his director. “Most of his likes are also mine. We want to present something very modern, very now, but at the same time we want to give value to our Philippine folklore.”

Most films, Matti says, will begin with a play date that the production will set as a goal, to be followed irrelevant of whether the film is completed to the director’s satisfaction. He admits there are few producers who would have taken on the project, and is grateful to the “like-minded” group behind Tiktik that allowed the film its two years in development.

“Most of the time,” says Matti, “When we do a computer-generated film with visual effects, sometimes the characters take a backseat.” He says Tiktik is the exception.

Although there has been doubt as to whether Tiktik can recoup its enormous budget, Matti’s production house Reality Entertainment already reports Php10.8-M in ticket sales on Tiktik’s first day in theaters.

Dantes may not be certain when asked about the film’s money-making capacity — the actor hesitates before answering “of course” — but he claims that profit is not the priority. The film has made a mark, and the entire team has performed a hundred percent.

The point, he says, is the satisfaction.

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles opened October 17 in local theaters. – Rappler.com


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