Two weeks ago, we shot our last scene for my friend Joel Ruiz’s short (?) film, with no title yet, but which we’ll call The End. I designed Joel’s short film Mansyon for the first Cinemalaya ever (yes, we’re that old), and that experience I really loved because I got to make everything in the movie green.
We started filming The End in January of this year, where coming from a wedding, I rode a bus with DP Ike to Baguio, to meet producer Toni, to go to Ilocos. Yes, we shot in Ilocos. My team– art director Popo and setman Manny– went a day ahead to prep.
I’m the production designer for this film, but as budget films go these days, that means we do: set, props, costumes, hair, makeup, and even some sfx. Imagine bringing all your props and costumes and whatever design thing from Manila all the way up north! (read: stress on a budget!)
But the north IS pretty, and the trip worth it. We shot a lot in the sand dunes. It was hot. And my team had to build a fire on top of that!
Because we had so much work, and I didn’t have an Android phone yet then, I wasn’t able to take a lot of BTS photos. Better I think, so the movie will be a surprise!
Headquarters was in this very beautiful and charming place called Sitio Remedios. It is a resort made up of a cluster of houses spaced around a church, like how old towns were built. The houses are all old– Spanish- ,American- era houses in Ilocos due to be demolished but was salvaged by the resort owner, neurosurgeon Dr. Joven Cuanang.
We stayed in Ilocos for 9 days– the longest I’ve ever shot for a short film. Joel wanted an immersion– and he got it. We all bonded really well, shouted at each other, drank with each other, swam with each other, ate dragonfruit together .
My funniest memory of the shoot was this: We had to shoot a sensitive scene, so everyone was outside the set. It was a long day, so I fell asleep. And woke up to– our lead actor Joem Bascon, naked, tapping my shoulder, asking me for a prop. Hahaha. Obviously, no BTS photo for that!