Briones: Me, my sharks (Part 1)

Publio Briones

GUERILLA filmmaking “refers to a form of independent filmmaking characterized by low budgets, skeleton crew and simple props using whatever is possible.”

At least, that’s how Wikipedia describes it.

Of course, the whole concept takes on a whole new meaning when transplanted in a third world context say, like the Philippines, particularly Cebu, where the industry is still in its infancy.

And yet Cebu is home to many world-class talents. But the sad reality is this, the war is out there in the National Capital Region. Not here.

And so, Cebu’s brilliant artists have no choice but to move there if they want a piece of the action. Those who choose to remain here are forced to take a day job. One that pays the bills.

Things, though, are beginning to change.

Already, some local universities are offering film courses. There even used to be two film schools in the province. These institutions are producing a new breed of Cebuano filmmakers. Those who are not afraid to straddle the world of art and technology. And I, a confirmed Luddite, find myself attracted to them like a remora is attracted to a shark. I’ve done it before. Attached myself to a local filmmaker, that is. But eventually and inevitably, they all leave. They have to if they want to practice their craft or if they want to grow.

I mean, where else will they go? How many full-length Cebuano movies are produced every year here in Cebu? And why am I asking so many questions?

Oh yes.

I’ve found a new shark. Or to be more exact, I’ve reunited with one of my former sharks.

Over the Sinulog weekend, my friend Ruel Dahis Antipuesto and I took to the streets before I went to work to shoot some scenes. Ruel didn’t have a script but he had several vignettes in mind.

Oh, by the way, he told me there was no budget. No problem, I said, as long as it didn’t affect my work. He said it wouldn’t. Ruel warned me he would take me out of my comfort zone as an actor.

Oh. Did I mention that I’m also an actor? (Psst! Click this link https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1828347. If you want to know more, you can PM me.)

I’ve been typecast as a villain since I played Lito Caliso, a former corrupt politician, in Jerrold Tarog’s first film, “Confessional,” which, by the way, was co-directed and shot by Ruel over a decade ago here in Cebu.

So let me see, since then, I’ve been a homicidal tribal chief, a homicidal drug lord, a homicidal cult leader, a homicidal twin, Victor Villanueva...

Yeah, I played Victor, who is a Cebuano director now based in Manila, in a short advocacy film he directed.

(To be continued)