Director Mike Tuviera on making ‘The Janitor,’ meeting a hitman with Dennis Trillo

Alexa Villano

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Director Mike Tuviera on making ‘The Janitor,’ meeting a hitman with Dennis Trillo
'The Janitor,' awarded multiple times in Cinemalaya 2014, is finally coming to cinemas nationwide. Read on for more about the action film starring Derek Ramsay, Dennis Trillo, Richard Gomez, and more
MIKE TUVIERA. The director is optimistic about his movie 'The Janitor'  to be shown in cinemas  on October 8. Photo courtesy of APT Entertainment

MANILA, Philippines – Fresh from its run in this year’s 10th Cinemalaya Film Festival, the movie The Janitor will finally be seen in cinemas as Star Cinema distributes the film nationwide. It will be shown on October 8.

When asked why the film is only now being shown in more cinemas, Director Mike Tuviera, who co-wrote the movie with Aloy Adlawan, said they really wanted to show the film first in Cinemalaya.

“When we were making the movie we were really thinking of just Cinemalaya and making a good film. When you make a mainstream movie, you always have to be aware kung tatangkilikin siya ng mga tao (if people will support and watch the movie), box office and all that,” he told reporters last September 30 in a press conference for the movie.


According to Direk Mike, they were fortunate that the reception of the film has been positive. He even shared that prior to making the film, he met with a real-life hit man for the movie. He was initially supposed to be alone in meeting the guy, but Dennis Trillo, who stars in the movie convinced him to let him come along.

Nagkaproblema na nung naging makulit si Dennis na gusto niyang pumunta… galing pa siya ng province pa for it.

 (We had a problem because Dennis really wanted to come…he came from the province just for it.)

Noong pumasok na kami (to meet the guy) buti kasama si Dennis kasi yung source namin nagdala din pala ng kasama,” he said. 

 (When we went inside to meet the guy, I was glad Dennis was with me, because our source also had someone with him.) 

Working with Dennis Trillo and the cast 

GOOD AND BAD. Dennis Trillo leads the cast of the movie 'The Janitor.' Photo courtesy of Star Cinema

In The Janitor, Dennis plays a cop tasked to look for the criminal who robbed a bank and killed innocent people. The movie also stars Derek Ramsay, Richard Gomez, Raymond Bagatsing and LJ Reyes.

For Direk Mike, he continues to learn from his actors despite working with them in past projects.  He spoke highly of Dennis, with whom he worked in his first movie Text, and many TV projects in GMA 7.

“Everytime I work with them I learn something new. With Dennis, whenever I do a scene with him, and siyempre gumagawa ka ng pelikula naka focus ka doon sa monitor, kahit close-up ko, feeling masaya na ako sa performance niya. Pag-edit ko na, may palagi akong natutunan sa kanya.  

(And when you are making the film, you are focus on the monitor, even up-close, I feel happy with his perfomance. When I edit it, I always still learn something from him.)

“Dennis layers his performance so much that you will not see it in one viewing.  I have seen the film 35 time already through editing, mixing and premieres, sa Cinemalaya, I constantly learn from him and I tell him ‘may ginagawa ka sa scene na iyon.’ (You did something in that scene.) He layers his performance so much,” he said.

GOOD COP. Dennis Trillo in a scene from the movie 'The Janitor.' Photo courtesy of APT Entertainment

“With Goma (Richard Gomez) naman, nakikita mo yung  (you will see his) social responsibility niya – his love for government and politics, it colors his performance.

With Derek, it is the first time he did a role like this – he was the kontrabida (antagonist) and all that. And when I saw it, he really is more interested in his craft, because people see him as a huge star, but he is more interested in his craft than being a star,” he said.

Direk Mike said that winning Best Director at this year’s Cinemalaya festival was a big honor for him. As the son of Eat Bulaga producer Tony Tuviera, the award is sweet, but he knows he has to prove himself even more. (READ: FULL LIST: Winners, Cinemalaya Awards Night 2014)

“I’m not after the awards, but I want people to value my efforts and more than anything else, I want everyone to enjoy my films,” he said.

With the success of the movie and another film On The Job last year, is this the sign of the return of action films in the movie industry? Direk Mike would like to think so.  

“For me I hope it’s the return of the Filipino action film. I am a fan of it.”


HIS DARK SIDE. Derek Ramsay plays the antagonist in the movie. Photo courtesy of APT Entertainment

It may seema coincidence that the movie will be shown in the time when members of the Philippine National Police are being caught in various controversies, ranging from the EDSA kidnapping to the issues against their head PNP chief Director Alan Purisima. (READ: IN PHOTOS: PNP chief’s Nueva Ecija ‘home’)

Direk Mike said that while he is saddened by the current situation in the PNP, he thinks there are still many police officers who are doing their best to bring pride to the profession – and he hopes that people will see it in the film.

“What I would hope people would see is that you cannot judge from a few bad apples. You cannott judge a whole institution from one, two, 3 bad people and I completely respect…I was looking at Twitter, I was following the hearing and I like that it’s in the discourse that you find a solution. It would not help if we just criticize the institution na walang ginagawa (without doing anything) to fix it.

“There are problems that need to be fixed. Do not pre-judge because there are bad people out and there are good people out there just because you had a bad experience. There are people who are trying to do what is right  and risking their lives for what is right. It would be unfair if you minimize it just because of a few bad apples,” he said.

“You should know the danger of blind obedience.  The number one message of the film is you always let your conscience guide you. Blind obedience is always danger for any side of the law you are on… that’s the problem when you just follow either orders or your impulses, and you do not question, you do not let your heart guide you, your conscience guide you, and that is a slippery slope that leaves you on a path that may not be the right path actually for you,” he said. –





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Alexa Villano

Alexa is one of Rappler's Lifestyle and Entertainment reporters, covering local entertainment news to a wide range of topics from beauty pageants to reality shows.