AWARD-winning Cebuano actor Mark Anthony “Matt” Comendador Daclan checked an item off his bucket list when he played a transgender woman in a film. Daclan topbills the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) film titled, “Those Long Haired Nights” which was part of the 22nd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea held October 12 to 21.
Directed by Gerardo Calagui, the movie is about “three transgenders trying to find love, family and money in the red light district of Manila.”
The story is inspired by real-life events and people. Aside from Daclan, the other actors in the film are Rocky Salumbides, Anthony Falcon, and Mon Confiado. The film was well-received by the audience during the BIFF.
“It was a complete surprise for me that the Korean people are very conservative. They were very curious about the film and loved it so much,” Daclan said.
Most of the audience stayed for the question and answer during the screenings at BIFF, he said. “It was an overwhelming feeling for the whole team especially for me being a part of this film for the LGBT community,” Daclan added.
He said the movie aims to spread awareness about the LGBT community. “Transgenders are often marginalized by our society. They have limited access to employment and more often are discriminated. From a layman’s point of view, I must say they should have access to every opportunity and no one should be marginalized regardless of gender identity,” he explained.
Getting into character
Daclan said it was the film’s producer Bianca Balbuena who asked him to audition for the role.
“Without any hesitation I went there straight to have an audition and I’m glad I got the role. At first it was a bit sketchy but it turns out well in the end—from random line readings, character back story to look test,” Daclan said. A
s part of his preparations in portraying the role, Daclan had a one-on-one conversation with one of the real-life characters.
“Nagpa full-body wax treatmeant ko and even Brazillian wax gipatulan na nako,” Daclan laughed.
He also needed to lose 10 pounds to look physically feminine and tucked his most delicate body part between his legs throughout the shoot.
“Nag immersion mi nga naka cross-dress sa actual location just to experience the environment and see for ourselves how it’s like to be sex workers,” Daclan recalled.
Next project“Those Long Haired Nights” is not Daclan’s first film. He was also part of “Soap Opera” (2014) “Swap” (2015) and “Hiblang Abo” (2016).
Daclan won the Best Actor award for “Soap Opera” during 10th Cinema One Originals Film Festival in 2014.
He will be seen next as one of the soldiers in “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” topbilled by Paulo Avelino and directed by Jerrold Tarog, who also helmed “Heneral Luna.”
“Goyo” is scheduled for a 2018 release. Liza Diño-Seguerra, chair for the Film Develepment Council of the Philippines (FDCP), was also present during the opening of BIFF in South Korea.
In a Facebook post last October 12, she said: “With team ‘Those Long Haired Nights’ here at Busan International Film Festival (BIFF). Gininaw sa loob ng BIFF theater kaya nagkita-kita dito sa labas. We heart Busan! #PHgoestoBIFF2017. P.S Di ko na kinaya magheels. #maybaongsneakers.”
After BIFF, “Those Long Haired Nights” is set to join the 58th Thessaloniki International Film Festival to be held in Greece from November 2 to 12, 2017.