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PHILIP LAPINID IV: Filmmaker to watch

PHILIP LAPINID IV

Philip  Lapinid IV is the calm to the chaos.

Probably it is in his upbringing: As a child he used to help his mom with work presentations, in the process teaching him how to focus while accomplishing things with ease.

Perhaps it has to do with past rocky relationships that he had to deal with while beating deadlines for his projects.

Or maybe it’s his passion to make a mark in the film industry, something he’s close to achieving after his film “Portal 40” bagged four major awards at this year’s Sinulog Short Film Festival: Best Actor, Best Short Film, Best Story and Best Director.

“You just have to wing it,” Philip tells the Play! pool, his signature impish smile and calm demeanor lighting up the cozy Books and Brews Cafe, when asked about how he has kept his focus. He also talks about his favorite “Blackmirror” episode, his ability to shut himself off and write in a  bustling cafe, and his hopes for a renaissance in the Visayan film industry.

Cautious, he allows seconds of silence after a question is being thrown at him before he voices out his thoughts. Indeed, he personifies the thinking person: keen, observant, so much in his mind to let it all out. In between sipping his tea, Phil candidly answers queries the way he knows best—by heart and mind. (NRG)

What have you been up to since “Portal 40″?  Naa ko’y usa ka script. Nahuman na siya, part two sa “Portal 40.” Bale trilogy man na akong buhaton. I call it the “The Future Trilogy.”

What’s the inspiration behind the film? Ang “Portal 40” inspired sa akong Lolo. Ang akong goal ato, first magbuhat og script.

Then, what if pasuwatan ko for “Black Mirror”? Favorite nako ang “Black Mirror.” Mao to nasuwat dayon nako ang “Portal 40.” After “Portal 40,” nakahuna-huna ko ako na sad ning i-trilogy. “Person 30” ang working title. The last kay “The end of 21,” the end of 21st century.

When did your love for film start? Sa una, sa elementary pa ko, naa ko sa office sa akong Mama. Tighimo sya og PowerPoint presentation and wala’y video editor.

Unya naning siya mobuhat, butangan niya’g waves, graphics. Didto nagsugod. Naka-ana ko: “Hala, pwede man diay ko maka create og mga images and stories sa computer. Nindot lagi tan-awon nga ingon ana ang mogawas sa computer.”

What about your love for photography? Sa photography kay tungod sa akong father. Gihatagan ko niya og underwater camera, kanang disposable. Akong gigamit-gamit bisa’g dili underwater. Didto ko naka start og love sa photography.

In terms of doing films, what’s your trademark?   Trademark nako I think kanang slow cinema. Murag mao na akong ganahan. Naa sa’y narrative but dili nako ingnon og diretso ang story. Ganahan ko ang audience mag huna-huna unsa ang story all about. Dili nako kaayo ipakita. Slow cinema—mga French cinema, European cinema. One take per scene.

Was “Portal 40” your first film? Actually it was my third short film. It was the second one nga nakasud as finalist sa Sinulog Short Film contest. The first was “Layover,” kanang maoy maoy pa siya.

What was it about? Ang story ato padung uli ang lalaki. Pag uli sa laki kay didto siya nakahibaw nga patay na siya for a year. Mao to nga “layover.” Naa pa siya sa limbo. Wala pa na solve ang iyang emotional baggage.

What was the overall feel of the film? It was sad. Ako siyang gi-dedicate para sa nagpa fall sa ako. Then sa pinaka last, na’ay voice over—ang promise sa girl which is intended for that person.

What urged you to submit that film for the Sinulog Short Film Festival? Kay kato jud nga time murag benchmark siya sa mga local filmmakers diri sa Cebu. Then dako sad siya’g prize money. It was intended for Sinulog jud. Aside sa topic sa sadness, naa sad siya’y about religion, faith.

How did you deal with your personal crisis while doing the film? Aside sa nag shoot mi para mapagawas nako ang akong mga gibati, nag bike ko, nagskin diving or freedive. Nag laag ko para maka get over.

What was the entire process of writing a script? Ang script for “Portal 40” nahimo siguro nako mga two weeks. If naa ko’y story  in mind, mag save ko og playlist for that story para ma feel nako ang scenes.

Do you isolate yourself while you’re writing a story? Dili ko mag isolate. Mo adto ko’g coffee shop or lugar nga na’ay daghang tawo. Pero di ko managad og mga tawo. Ma-motivate ko mo trabaho. Kung ako ra isa and alone ko, makatulog ko. Maong ganahan ko naay tawo sa akong palibot. Maong molaag ko.

What is your dream project? Akong dream project is a full length film. Okey ra di ma box-office (success) basta matan-aw sa akong friends and ma play siya sa pila ka cinemas sa Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Among the filmmakers, who do you look up to? Wong Kar-wai, the director of “Happy Together” and “Fallen Angels” kay grabe og mood iyang films and the emotion sa characters.

Locally, si Brillante Mendoza. Wala kaayo ko’y gisunod nga filmmaker pero sa una nauso man tong pag start sa indie film. So I think I will consider Brillante Mendoza (as an influence)—katong “Serbis” with Jaclyn Jose.  Third is Korean director nga si Kim Ki-duk. Ang movie niya nga naka inspire nako kay “3-Iron.”

Do you have one favorite film? “3-Iron.” Pagka kita nako ato, naka ingon ko nga mao ni akong gusto nga take sa cinema, the visual style. Nindot jud siya og story.

Are you ready to make a full-length film or join a national film festival? I think slightly ready. I think 80  percent akong motivation and 20 percent kanang technical. Like wala man ko’y formal training sa scriptwriting. So wala ko kahibaw asa ang boring nga part sa screenplay.

Are you working on another project?  Mag shoot ko September and October and akong i-submit for Cinemalaya.

What topics do you want to focus on? Mag focus lang sa ko on social issues, like child pornography, human trafficking and corruption. Para magbuhat ko og film naa sad ko’y makapatandog sad sa audience. Not just a film for entertainment but a film to inspire people.

Why social issues?  Naka ABS-CBN man gud ko before as a writer and producer and na immerse ko sa community and grabe ang injustices. Naka interview ko og mga  persons with disabilities, kanang mga na rape. Kato nga experience kay na immerse ko sa community and na expose sa social issues.

What is your take on Korean cinema going “mainstream?” Welcoming man ko sa mga international films as long as ganahan ko. Kay I think sa other countries welcoming sad sila sa atong local films. Nakabantay ko nga nindot og cinematography ang Korean films.

What can you say about the Metro Manila Film Festival? I think mas nindot pili-on ang half. Half of the films kay produced by mainstream and half kay independent films. Meet halfway. Sakto sad tong Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino. As a reviewer, ang akong style kay if bag-o nga film dili dayon ko mo tan-aw ana. Maka tan-aw ko three years after. Unless if ganahan kaayo ko or pugson ko og tan-aw pareha sa “Beauty and the Beast.” With “Patay na Si Hesus” akong gi tan-aw kay nice man siya nga comedy. And in support nilang Victor Villanueva and Fatrick Tabada.

As a director, are you open to an idea of going mainstream and making use of a popular love team to star in your movie? Open ko. Karon akong promise sa ‘kong self bisag usa lang ka movie nga mainstream—kanang love team or involves love. Manghilak ang audience. Actually naa ko’y story. About a  closeted nga gay nga  niari og Cebu para mo kat-on og photography sa usa ka sikat nga photographer.

Who are the actors that you want to work with? Ganahan ko maki’g trabaho ni RK Bagatsing, Chai Fornacier and Ronnie Alonte.

How would you assess the support for local filmmakers?  Katong sa Cinema Rehiyon, didto nako nakita nga grabe ilang support sa filmmakers. Ang Cinema Rehiyon naa may guests from Manila and other film festivals. Katong nagka storya mi sa local filmmakers niingon sila: “Make a film and submit it to us.” Submit mo for funding. Actually helpful sila sa local industry. Daghan man og fresh stories sa Visayas and Mindanao.

TAGS: filmmaker, PHILIP LAPINID IV, to, watch
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