DIRECTOR Mikhail Red made waves when his film, “Birdshot”, got a lot of acclaim, won awards here and abroad and was bought for exhibition on Netflix. His next film, “NeoManila”, starring Eula Valdez was released by TBA Studios but hardly attracted viewers as it was not promoted at all.
And now, his first horror movie, “Eerie”, is a co-production between Star Cinema and a Singaporean company. It stars Charo Santos, Bea Alonzo and Jake Cuenca and it’s scheduled to be released simultaneously on March 27 in the Philippines and various other Asian countries. He’s now doing two new movies, “Dead Kids” for Globe Studios starring Sue Ramirez and other teen stars, plus the zombie movie, “Block Z”, for Blacksheep Productions starring the Liza Soberano-Enrique Gil love team.
Mikhail has definitely surpassed the accomplishments of his dad, Raymond Red, another indie filmmaker who never got to do mainstream projects the way Mikhail is doing now. Some folks claim that cinema is moribund because of other platforms like live streaming and cable TV. What’s his take on this?
“Personally, I take it more as a challenge for us young filmmakers so we can come up with film projects that will disrupt the system, ’di ba?” he says at the presscon of “Eerie”. “Like in the case of ‘Eerie’, it’s a co-production and we try to export films to find a larger audience. We have to widen our market. ‘Eerie’ is the first film in a six-picture deal with an international company, Cre8 Productions.
"So we filmmakers are forced to adapt, be more inventive, come up with different genres. And it’s nice for Star Cinema to partner with international companies, with their roster of actors who can also go international. This forces us to be on our toes to create more interesting stories for the medium. So for me, we are now really living in very exciting times kasi hindi magiging stale ang cinema at hindi paulit-ulit na lang ang mga ginagawang pelikula.”
He just wants to remind producers not to rush their film projects. “Itong ‘Eerie’, we started pre-production work on it in 2017, started shooting in early 2018, then we had our world premiere in the Singapore Filmfest late last year. And now, we’re releasing it internationally. Ganun talaga. Dapat hindi minamadali. Hindi pinipilit tapusin kasi may playdate na. You should have enough time to shoot, develop the script, do pre-prod, to polish the post-prod like color, sound, music. Otherwise, the quality of the movie will suffer.”
Wasn’t he intimidated directing Charo and Bea in “Eerie”? “Actually, I’m more excited than intimidated. I’m excited to work with Star Cinema as it’s the biggest local film company that we have now. So this is a milestone for me. It’s a dream come true to work with Bea and Miss Charo and it turned out they’re both open to collaboration, so I will never forget the experience of working with them. Mas matagal na sila sa industry kaysa sa’kin, so lahat ng scenes nila, puro take one, laging perfect. When I got to know them in the course of the shoot, sobrang fun sila to work with at ang gaan ng atmosphere sa set.”
Charo butts in at this point and says: “He surely knows his craft. He has a shotlist of the scenes we’ll do and he knows the film language, so we simply trusted him.”