YOU may be familiar with films and TV series like Magic Temple, Yamashita: The Tiger's Treasure, Feng Shui, Dyosa, Imortal, and Beauty and the Bestie.
These films and series became part of the history of Philippine entertainment. And a huge part of making these is a Dabawenyo who served as a visual effects supervisor: Dodge Ledesma.
This Dabawenyo talent has worked on the visual effects of at least 63 films and directed three short films.
A simple Google search will tell you how he played roles in making most of the country’s famous and successful films and series possible. The journey The Ateneo de Davao University BS in Mathematics graduate left Davao City for Manila in 1991.
He first trained and worked as a 3D computer graphics artist for TV commercials in four different Post Production Companies in a span of eight years. Later on, he joined Roadrunner Network to do Visual Effects Supervision for six years.
“After, I opened our own company named Digitaldodge in 2005 with my wife Liza Ledesma and did Visual Effects for TV shows and Feature Films catering to TV Networks and Film Production companies,” Ledesma shared.
In 2013, Ledesma opened another company named Octopod, this time with their daughter Lora Ledesma, who studied in Cinema Makeup School in Los Angeles to do Special Makeup and Prosthetics.
The company also does Animatronics, Miniatures Sets, Costumes and Special Props. Shift of direction after working mostly on the visual effects, Ledesma decided to try another aspect in filmmaking: creating content.
“This year, we will be minimizing our load in the service industry to give way to our dream of doing our own content,” he said adding that he hopes to showcase his team’s capability in filmmaking as a whole, not just in digital visual effects and practical effects.
Ledesma will be working on a Sci-fi Action Fantasy Feature Film which he wrote and will direct.
“At first, when I started supervising the Visual Effects Shootings of the films I worked in, I realized upon seeing the rigorous working conditions of the filmmakers, that filmmaking is a lifestyle that I can’t adapt to,” he shared.
However, as he dwelled deeper into the other aspects of filmmaking, like editing, cinematography, production design, music, writing, acting, etc., Ledesma shared that slowly, he felt that it is something that he enjoyed doing.
“Although it’s very taxing, both physically and mentally, the act of creation somehow scratches an itch that I always had since childhood as an artist. It’s almost addictive,” he said.
The main challenge, he said, is how to pace himself so that he can still maintain a healthy family and social life. Entering the new aspect in filmmaking, Ledesma is expecting a rough but worthy-to-pass road.
“I expect a lot of difficulties and pain. My mind and body will probably be drained due to the multiple factors that will simultaneously bombard me from different directions. But I have learned to appreciate the grind. I crave for the collaboration with the creative and technical people. I’m looking forward to the tremendous task that awaits me,” he said.
On supporting local films Films, especially those locally-made, should be appreciated and supported by the people.
“A few years ago, I saw a film that was shot in the Cebuano language. I was amazed how it moved me. I realized that watching a film in your local language somehow touches you deeper,” he said.
He added that if enough Filipinos come up with commercially viable films, “Filipinos will eventually appreciate and support local films because the experience is more personal than watching foreign films.”
On his vision for PH film industry “I envision that filmmakers will eventually sprout from all areas in the country, bringing in fresh and diverse ideas based on their local culture.
The film industry will eventually declutter from Manila and that other regions will naturally improve their craft and compete head to head with the mainstream production companies,” the 50-year old filmmaker said.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on September 23, 2017.
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