MMFF 2016: Meet Rhed Bustamante, child star making waves for ‘Seklusyon’

Vernise Tantuco
MMFF 2016: Meet Rhed Bustamante, child star making waves for ‘Seklusyon’

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rapple

Rhed Bustamante terrifies many with her performance in 'Seklusyon' – though at 9 years old, she can't even watch the film yet

MANILA, Philippines – If you’ve seen Erik Matti’s Seklusyon, then you’ve already seen her work – Rhed Bustamante played Anghela, the mysterious little girl with the slight smile and black liquid pouring out of her mouth.

In real life though, Rhed is a sweet 9-year-old girl for whom direk Erik has nothing but praise. She just won the Special Jury Prize at the film’s awards night held on Thursday, December 29 at the Kia Theatre.

The girl is a professional, direk Erik said at a press conference for the movie on December 16, predicting her Metro Manila Film Festival 2016 Best Actress win.

Photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

“I really think – of course, there’s Nora Aunor and Eugene Domingo in the roster of films of the actresses, but Rhed is gonna give them a run for their money,” said Erik.

Seklusyon is a horror film that follows 4 deacons as they avoid temptation the week before they’re ordained. It’s also full of new faces: aside from Rhed, there’s #Hashtag dance group member Ronnie Alonte, ABS-CBN’s Dominic Roque, Phoebe Walker from Amazing Race Philippines season 2, along with showbiz newcomers John Vic de Guzman and JR Versales.


What makes Rhed so special? Here’s what we know about her so far.

Rhed was one of around 15 to 20 girls that Erik auditioned for the role of Anghela.

Screengrab from Facebook/mmffofficial

She was one of the last, said Erik, and came highly recommended by his assistant director, who had seen the auditions previously.

“Pinaka biggest talent ni Rhed talaga is kaya mo siyang timplahin. Pwede siyang mataas, pwede siyang mababa. Which, for a young girl like her, mahirap yun tantiyahin,” said Erik.

(Rhed’s biggest talent is really that you can mix and measure her acting. She can go high, she can go low. Which, for a young girl like her, that’s hard to estimate.)

Nine-year-old Rhed can’t watch Seklusyon.

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Seklusyon was rated by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board as an R-13 film.

Rhed says it’s okay, though. “Okay lang naman po, kasi parang kami naman gumawa, so alam ko na rin kung ano yung kwento, yung nangyayari,” Rhed told reporters on December 13.

(It’s okay, because we’re the ones who made the movie, so I know the story too, what happens.)

Rhed has had experience acting before.


We previously saw her in the series The Borrowed Wife (2014) as Joanna, the late Wenn V Deramas’ The Amazing Praybeyt Benjamin (2014), and in the series Flordeliza, among other films and TV shows.

She scared herself acting as Anghela.

Screengrab from Facebook/mmffofficial

Rhed has acted before, but never in a horror film. When asked how this experience differed from her previous her experience with other movies, Rhed said she tried so hard to act well that she almost scared herself.

“Super ganda po, yung naramdaman ko po dito yung as in po nakakatakot po parang natatakot din ako sa sarili ko,” she said. “Kasi nilalabas ko po yung acting, yung taos-puso kong ibinibigay yung acting para mapanood po ng tao maganda po.”

(It was so great, I really felt scared, like sometimes I would be afraid of myself. Because I really brought out my acting, I gave the acting my all so that it will be good when people watch it.)

Rhed on working with direk Matti

Photo by Martin San Diego/Rappler

Here’s what Rhed has to say about working with direk Erik:

“Siyempre po, magaling po siya kasi po pag joke time, joke time po, pag take po, take po talaga. Tsaka siya po yung tinutulungan po talaga niya yung actor niya kung saan po yung tamang daan po para umarte,” she said.

(Of course, he’s great, because when it’s time to joke around, he’ll joke around, but when it’s time to take a scene, it’s really time for a take. And he helps his actors get on the right path to act out the scene.)

You can watch Rhed’s performance in Seklusyon in theaters until January 3. –

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.