Jade Castro: Prioritize the story
MANILA, Philippines - His light and easygoing aura lit the room as soon as he entered the RAPPLER conference room for our interview.
And when Zombadings 1 director Jade Castro began to speak about his greatest frustration, his passion for the craft became clear.
“Many stories remain unspoken. I find the system frustrating since the story always takes a back seat," he says thoughtfully.
He adds, "Studios prioritize the casting and other factors but not the story.”
Castro was a writer in a major film outfit before deciding to venture out on his own and become an independent producer and director.
His frustration to show his stories on the big screen pushed him and his (then) fellow writers Raymond Lee and Emmanuel dela Cruz to form a support group (UFO Pictures) in 2004. The support group realized its dream of showing their stories on screen when, coincidentally, the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival was born in 2005.
Castro was co-producer of the indie film Sarong Banggi, and was part of the creative team behind Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, two of the featured films in the festival's first year.
“I always considered myself a filmmaker even though I was a writer, even while I was in school... For me, anyone who does film or is involved in doing a film is a filmmaker, whether you're a writer, actor, (or) producer,” says Castro.
It was only after he directed his first indie film, Endo (2007), that he was recognized as a filmmaker. The film won Castro the 2007 Cinemalaya Special Jury Prize and the 2008 Gawad Urian for Best Screenplay.
Among Castro’s 4 films (two of which are independent) so far, he says that Zombadings 1: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington (2011) is his most challenging to date. He calls it a "mash-up."
“I needed to go out of my comfort zone in making Zombadings,” says Castro. “I had to balance things in terms of making the movie politically incorrect and, at the same, adding comedy and horror to the story.”
Despite working on a limited budget, Zombadings 1 won the hearts of moviegoers. It became a blockbuster hit, grossing Php32.2-M, according to IMDB.
Because of the movie's success, Castro — together with Origin8 Media, the film's producer — is now planning to create a sequel.
“We have no target date for the showing," he says. "That's what we can do that the major studios can't: take our time."
Aside from the sequel, Castro shares that the script for his next independent film project, Juana Change The Movie, is finished. Written by playwright Rody Vera, the film will tackle socio-political issues hounding today's society.
“It will deal with the behavior and attitudes of people,” says Castro, who has chosen not to elaborate on the details for now. He can definitely say, though, that the film will be "very relevant."
Juana Change The Movie will hopefully be shown before the Philippine National Elections in 2013.
To aspiring filmmakers, Castro has this to say, “If you want to be a filmmaker, be a filmmaker. It's actually easier for young people today to start making their own films. Take filmmaking seriously as early as you can.” - Rappler.com
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