From Indie to mainstream

April 09, 2019

DIRECTOR Ice Idanan joins the ranks of female Filipino directors who started with indie films then branched out into mainstream filmmaking, led by Antoinette Jadaone (“That Thing Called Tadhana”, “Alone/Together”) and Sigrid Andrea Bernardo (“Huling Chacha ni Anita”, “Kita Kita”).

Born Aiza Jane Idanan on January 2, 1987, Ice took up filmmaking at the U.P. Film Institute and her thesis film, “Limang Libo”, became the National Winner in the Kodak Film School Competition in 2009 and the grand prize winner in the Quisumbing-Escandor Filmfest for Maternal Health. She was later accepted as a fellow in the Asian Film Academy of the Pusan International Filmfest in 2010.

She then worked as a cinematographer and got a Cinema One Filmfest nomination for best cinematography for “Woman in the Ruins” in 2013. “I found joy in being behind the camera, framing and composing shots. No one would believe I could be a good cinematographer kasi may pagka-sexist ang industry na kapag camera, panlalaki 'yan. So I had to work hard to prove myself.”

In 2016, she joined the Cine Filipino Filmfest and her entry, “Sakaling Hindi Makarating”, was accepted. It’s about a lonely woman, played by Alessandra de Rossi, who receives postcards coming from different places. She then takes a road tip to look for its sender and discovers the beauty of her country and also finds herself. It won for Ice the best director and the best cinematography awards in the festival and also the best actor award for the male lead, Pepe Herrera, plus best sound, musical score and editing.

She now directs her first mainstream movie for Regal Entertainment, “Stranded”, which opens today in theaters nationwide starring Jessy Mendiola as Julia and Arjo Atayde as Spencer, two strangers who get stranded inside a huge warehouse one stormy night and how the encounter changes their lives. How did she get the assignment?

“Director Joey Reyes was with the screening committee of Cine Filipino and he recommended me to Ms. Roselle Monteverde of Regal to direct this project, which was written by Easy Ferrer and Jeps Gallon, both friends of mine,” says Ice. “I’m now very thankful to them for giving me this chance to go mainstream.  I’m lucky they chose Jessy and Arjo as the leads as they’re both very talented people. The film is hard to do as the great part of the story centers just on the two of them while they’re stranded and talk about real life issues that viewers will surely find very relatable.”

So how different is indie filmmaking to mainstream filmmaking? “As an indie filmmaker, you just think of your own vision, how to make it true. ‘Sakaling Hindi Makarating’ is a baby project of mine. I’ve had it for five years before it was finally produced and I myself called all the shots. But with mainstream filmmaking, you can’t just think of yourself alone. You have to put the audience first into consideration, what will please them. So I made sure first that I will have good visuals, para maganda ang nakikita nila on screen. ‘Stranded’ happens mostly indoors. Our main set is a huge warehouse and I made sure we explored all of it in various scenes, with very smart blocking. And since this is a romcom, I have to make sure we have our share of the expected ‘kilig’ moments.”