Orvil Bantayan: From music to film-A A +A
Sunday, May 6, 2012
I HAVE known Orvil as the vocalist of the local indie rock band Spasm, a prolific songwriter for the tight-knit band known for their original compositions.
Among their songs include Julianne, Nasaan (in which I directed its music video), Stagefright and Leaving Innocence.
However, in 2010 band drummer Jam Claro was stricken with cancer and Spasm had to take a brief hiatus. The inactivity afforded Orvil with an opportunity to try out his latest passion, which is filmmaking.
Orvil says his introduction to filmmaking started way back in 2007 when he worked as a marketing staff for Muzika del Sur Music Awards. The event is organized by Muzika del Sur, a cable TV show which featured Mindanao musical artists.
The show's producers, the Alchemy of Vision and Light, were heavily involved in filmmaking. Orvil got a chance to hobnob and work with production people in the company and even joined in several video shoots. He later became the video editor for the show.
"It's fun, the monetary side is not bad. Here is a work which though tiring is also so much fun," says Orvil.
Thirty-three-year-old Orvil, the son of the late labor leader Oscar Bantayan and younger brother to Omar, former secretary-general of the Kilusan Mayo Uno, Southern Mindanao Region, decided to pursue his dreams of being a filmmaker.
For starters, he pitched in to work for indie film productions such as the Hospital Boat (2009), where his wife, Mutya ng Dabaw 2004 Joan Mae Soco, was one of the lead actresses.
In 2010, he read a call for entries for the Quisimbing Escandor Film Festival for Health, a film competition which delves on movies about maternal health. Seeing that his first short story script about an illegal midwife fitted the contest, he decided to do the film.
Mananabang his first short film was produced and entered into the Quisimbing Escandor Film Festival as a finalist. However, it didn't win any awards as the film went up against works made by established filmmakers.
"The problem with Mananabang, I did almost everything super multi-tasking. Dami nasacrifice, kasi film should be a collaborative art. sinolo ko lahat," Orvil recounts his frustration.
In 2006, while reading Macario Tiu's Palanca award-winning Bisayan short story about a Bagobo balyan (healer), Orvil told himself that he would be making it into film.
After seeking permission from Mac Tiu, who gave his consent, Orvil worked on the screenplay, which he retitled as Tambara (altar) and submitted it to Cinemalaya and CinemaOne film competitions.
"It was short listed in CinemaOne but in the end was not accepted," Orvil recalls.
Orvil then submitted his script to the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) National Film Festival competition. The film was finally accepted as a finalist and was given a grant of P600,000.
Bearing the lessons of his earlier short film, Orvil assembled a posse of competent crew and actors. One of the leads was Cebuano Greg Tecson, who played a key role in the 2009 Cinema One best picture winner Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria.
"Mas may acting na ang camera ko ngayon, maraming one shot na eksena pero kahit one shot maraming change ng camera angles, mas pinalaro ko na ung camera, and yung mga mali ko sa Mananabang, iniwasan ko na doing Tambara (There is more acting in my camera now, there are a lot of one shot scenes, with multiple camera angles, I played around with the camera. The mistakes in Mananabang I avoided it in doing Tambara)," Orvil said.
According to the synopsis, Tambara the film, revolves around Lando, an elementary teacher who doesn't believe in myths and asserts his modern sensibilities, and Datu Pikong, a tribal shaman who uses an imaginary cellphone to reach Apo Sandawa when someone wants to get healed from an ailment.
The film was shot in Barangay Tamayong and Guianga in Davao City's Calinan District. He chose the film because of its beautiful rustic locale and also is still within the reach of electricity, which Orvil says is very important since it saves them from renting a generator.
Orvil describes the production as fun. He says the shoot went on very smoothly. Right now the film is on post-production phase, Orvil is trying to raise another P200-thousand to completely finished the film. Which will be shown during the National Film Festival in June 29 to July 3 here in Davao City.
Orvil says that doing Tambara didn't completely shunted him away from his music. The band is planning to regroup again soon. "I still miss the guys and the stage," he says.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 07, 2012.