Saturday, July 30, 2011

Why Septic Tank is memorable to Eugene


MANILA, Philippines - Besides the fact that it won for her the Best Actress award at the recent 2011 Cinemalaya (Philippine Independent Film Festival),
Ang Babae sa Septic Tank, directed by Marlon Rivera, is memorable to Eugene Domingo because she almost lost her life while doing the movie.

In one scene, Eugene lost her balance as she jumped into a septic tank and bumped her head on one side of it. The scene looked so real, with director Marlon not at all suspecting that Eugene was nearing losing consciousness, that he and others on the set even applauded Eugene for a job well done.

“After the shoot,” recalled Eugene, “I was rushed to the emergency room of a hospital but I was too embarrassed to say that I fell into a septic tank.”

The fall was well worth it.

Aside from the Best Actress, Septic Tank won three other awards and Balanghai trophies under the filmfest’s New Breed Full-Length Category — Best Screenplay for Chris Martinez, Best Film and Best Director for Marlon Rivera.

Eugene and Chris’s friendship goes a long way back to their UP days. It was Chris who directed Eugene in her first starring picture, Kimmy Dora in which she played a dual role. The movie, with Piolo Pascual as co-producer, was a big success critically and commercially.

Her victory meant a lot to Eugene who conceded that she survived tough competition.

“There are so many great actors in the filmfest,” said Eugene, “at maraming salamat at pinagbigyan nila akong manalo. They are all good, like Fides Cuyugan and Shamaine Buencamino (who won Best Supporting Actress for NiƱo).”

After its run at the CCP during the Cinemalaya, Septic Tank will open in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, Aug. 3, released by Star Cinema. It is produced by Martinez-Rivera Productions and Quantum Films, with producers Martinez, Rivera, John Victor Tence and Atty. Joji Alonso.

Other members of the cast are JM de Guzman, Kean Cipriano and Cai Cortez, with the special participation of Cherry Pie Picache and Mercedes Cabral.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank chronicles a day in the life of three ambitious, passionate but misguided filmmakers as they set out to do a quick pre-production at Starbucks, a courtesy call to their lead star (played by Eugene) and an ocular inspection of their film’s major location, the Payatas dumpsite.

A movie-within-a- movie, Septic Tank is a gritty, no-frills and neo-realist film, a glossy musical, an over-the-top melodrama and a docu-drama using non-actors who romanticizes poverty.

“You will laugh till your belly aches,” assured lawyer Joji who has produced seven other indies. “That’s a guarantee.”

Added Eugene in jest, “Just don’t fall into a septic tank like me. You might not get out of it laughing like I did.”


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