MMFF 2016: ‘Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2’ tackles the making of a romcom

Vernise Tantuco

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MMFF 2016: ‘Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2’ tackles the making of a romcom
Eugene Domingo stars as Eugene Domingo once again in Marlon Rivera's 'Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough'

MANILA, Philippines – In 2011, director Marlon Rivera released his first full-length movie, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, a hilarious parody of filmmakers making a movie chock-full of “poverty porn” for the sake of winning awards.

Reality has since followed in the footsteps of fiction – Septic Tank has won many awards, Marlon is now known as a filmmaker on top of his old hat as an advertising executive, and Septic Tank‘s sequel is now an entry to the 2016 Metro Manila Film Festival.

In Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough, the same film crew and star – Eugene Domingo – are set on making a romantic drama for the ages. But Eugene has other plans in mind, and as her ideas clash with the director’s vision, the movie within the movie turns into a romantic comedy instead.

Before you head out to theaters to watch the Septic Tank sequel, here are a few things you should know about the film!

Marlon said they decided to make a sequel because the industry landscape has changed.

Screengrab from YouTube/Quantum Films

While the thing back in 2011 was “poverty porn” – exploiting scenes of poverty to gain sympathy – the trend now points to romcoms.

“Like Septic 1, ang pinupunan namin yung ano yung kalakaran (We are trying to complement the trend). So now the fascination is this [romcoms]. So even us who are not romcom directors are being asked to do romcom films, so maybe it’s time to shed light on this fascination,” Marlon told Rappler.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank wasn’t only Marlon’s first full-length film, it was the first time Kean Cipriano acted in a film, too.

Screengrab from YouTube/Quantum Films

Since then, Marlon and Kean have worked on many other films separately.

Marlon directed My Little Bossings (2013) and even co-directed a movie that was expected to make it to the 2016 MMFF but didn’t – Enteng Kabisote 10 and the Abangers.

Meanwhile, Kean, who is also known as Callalily’s lead vocalist, has played roles in movies like English Only, Please (2014) and starred in Love is Blind (2016).

All of the main cast is back for the sequel except for JM de Guzman.

Screengrab from YouTube/Quantum Films

JM de Guzman went through a lot towards the end of 2015. Along with breaking up with his then-girlfriend Jessy Mendiola and leaving the show All of Me, he also mentioned rehab, anxiety attacks, and depression in an apology to his fans about his behavior earlier on social media. 

JM seems to be doing well lately, performing in a production of Sweeney Todd.

However, Marlon couldn’t get him to reprise his role for Septic Tank 2, causing them to change the script – in the sequel, his character is taking up his masters degree in film in the US.

Jericho Rosales and Joel Torre were the production’s first choices for their roles.

Screengrab from YouTube/Quantum Films

Newcomers to the Septic Tank films, Jericho and Joel play Eugene’s love interests in the film.

Joel was chosen because the first few dramatizations in the film are Eugene with an older leading man, while Marlon said they wanted to cast a matinee idol for Jericho’s role.

The movie’s title is even a reference to an MMFF 2015 Dan Villegas film starring Jericho, #WalangForever.

Sticking to the script

Screengrab from YouTube/Quantum Films

If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve probably caught yourself already chuckling at the jokes and antics that the characters in the film get up to.

All of that is scriptwriter Chris Martinez’s doing, who Marlon says is very strict with the actors sticking to their lines.

“You have to stick to the script. May rhythm yung writing niya eh (his writing has a rhythm), there’s a rhythm to the punches. So if you miss the beats, if you improvise, you miss it,” he explained.

Ang Babae Sa Septic Tank is out on December 25, along with the 7 other MMFF films.

Which MMFF 2016 movie are you planning to watch? Let us know in the comments! –

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Mayuko Yamamoto


Vernise Tantuco

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