Jun Reyes: The history buff
MANILA, Philippines - Jun Reyes speaks with a voice like a rumble of thunder, a controlled growl of energy coming from an unfathomably high sky to bring celestial wisdom to beings on earth.
But his wisdom comes not from a sonic shock wave in the sky but from more than 20 years of experience in making films.
Then again, some would say the two phenomena aren't all that different.
As an economics major in Ateneo de Manila University, he did not enjoy the thick books he had to read for his course. How could he when his very blood flowed with creative juices, his grandfather having been a painter who had once been classmates with Fernando Amorsolo, and his great-grandfather Severino Reyes (also known as Lola Basyang) immortalized in the pages of Philippine history as a storyteller?
So he shifted to Communication, then a department boasting 13 students, where he pursued his love affair with film.
For 20 years, he brewed his storm and from the cataclysm rose such works as Crying Ladies in which he was executive producer; a plentitude of commercials for top clients like Jollibee and Smart; and the documentary The Last Journey of Ninoy (1999).
Though his roster of accomplishments can already inspire a sigh of awe, he has no plans of abating the storm as proven by his most recent work, a short film called 1945. The film is part of a series of shorts commissioned by Sun Life Financial for their campaign on financial literacy for Filipinos. The films will be exclusively screened online starting July 25.
Like many of the Sun Life shorts, 1945 is inspired from an actual story of a Sun Life policy-holder. Set in war-torn Manila in 1945, it tells the tale of two lovers who face an uncertain future, guided only by a love that transcends time.
This is Jun Reyes' first film to be exclusively screened on the Internet. It is a refreshing collaboration of a seasoned film-maker imbued with the wisdom of long practice and a live-wire-hot new technology bursting with possibilities.
When asked about the Youtube phenomenon and the rise of the Internet, he enthuses, "I think the whole Internet option is fascinating in the sense that there is an avenue for you to practice the craft [of film-making]. The medium is democratized. It is so much more flexible. It's an opportunity to tell a story whether in 5 minutes or 10."
With a rumble of laughter, he recalls the days of bulky Super 8 cameras and arduous film-splicing. "Now, anyone with a DSLR and the right software can make a film. The medium is democratized." And according to Jun Reyes, another phenomenon contributing to this democratization is the indie film movement.
Indie films are helping revive the local film industry. "It’s trying to get second wind. For a while it just died. Now there's a resurgence in Cinemalaya." For Jun Reyes, the indie film is a way to discover new storytellers, "Who knows? The likes of Lino Brocka might rise from that batch."
They say lightning never hits the same spot twice, and so now, the only way for Jun Reyes is forward.
He already has his heart set on his dream project, a re-telling of his ancestor's classic work, Walang Sugat, using contemporary Filipino music. Think Moulin Rouge but with songs by Eraserheads. Like many of his works, his Sun short film included, this project is a fruit of his love for history.
Jun Reyes finishes the interview and like any storm, must move on, leaving us thoughtful in the after-shower of his ideas. - Rappler.com
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