We didn’t see it coming. That’s for sure. When they said that there would be a big reveal in the teaser trailer for “Culion”, nobody expected to see John Lloyd Cruz’s face at the end of the clip. It definitely caused a stir. Even the media people during the launch went on a frenzy the moment they saw JLC on the screen.
The trailer automatically went viral with the news that the famous John Lloyd Cruz is back! Everyone got excited. But who wouldn’t? JLC hasn’t been around for a while after deciding to step out of the limelight to attend to personal matters. He hasn’t been accepting projects since 2017. Apparently, for the fans that’s a very long time! So you can just imagine the excitement they felt when they saw his heartrending face on the verge of tears being flashed up on screen. All hell broke loose.
But the Culion teaser trailer itself is a masterpiece with scenes that got netizens commenting about the quality and magnitude of the film. Aside from JLC’s appearance in the teaser trailer, there are other things worth capturing too, like the list below:
The Dancing Damsel in Distress
There’s nothing extraordinary about dancing. But dancing in a trance-like state like how actress Meryll Soriano does it in the trailer will definitely pique one’s interest. That empty and distant look in her eyes is so heartbreaking. Why is she dancing in such a sad way? Obviously, we won’t know the answer to that until we’ve seen the movie.
An Indie Film
As the voice of actress Iza Calzado comes up to narrate the trailer, the name iOptions Ventures Corp. flashes up on the screen. It’s the company behind this ambitious project, but perhaps none has heard of it being related to any film before. It’s because until recently, iOptions Ventures Corporation was not actually a film production company, but a consulting firm. It might come off as a shocker that the movie is not produced by a mainstream production house since it looks very expensive, but the film is in fact an indie.
To put it simply, “Culion” is a high-budget independent film. But for the executive producers, it’s not about the money. In fact, more than gaining any profit out of it, the real purpose of the film is to deliver a very important message. It hopes to be an eye-opener to us all and help put an end to a stigma that has been around for a long time.
“Ito ang listahan ng mga hindi darating… Mga bisita.”
This implies the living condition of the people in Culion a long time ago. Those afflicted with Hansen’s Disease were sent to the island to be separated from the rest of the world for good. Due to the common misconception of their disease at that time, the patients were avoided even by their own family. They spent the rest of their lives on the island, constantly yearning for their family and loved ones to visit them. But they never did. The film tries to capture that agony and longing, and bring them to the big screen. If the teaser trailer gave you the feels. Be ready for the real thing.
It’s a Period Film with CGI
One challenge of producing a movie that is set in an era that isn’t parallel to the current timeline is the location. What doesn’t exist in the real world needs to be created. As simple as that. Or maybe not. The entire movie was shot on the actual island of Culion. But since the story is set in 1940s, many things need to be tweaked because obviously the place has changed so much over time.
That’s why if you take a closer look at the frame which shows a group of townspeople talking and somewhat engaging in market activities, you’ll notice that it was taken at the lower plaza in Culion. But if you’re familiar with the place, you’ll know at once that it doesn’t look quite the same as the actual plaza. Something’s missing.
The circle surrounding the statue of Gen. Leonard Wood disappeared curiously. Magic? No. After effects? Definitely. As a period film, “Culion” had to undergo an intensive post-production stage. So many things that did not belong to the 1940 Culion were scattered all throughout the frames. They were bound to ruin the credibility of the film if not removed. But all thanks to the very talented visual effects masters, Alekz Zapanta, Albert Brisenio and Julius Briones, the remedy was found.
The three visual effects artists had to thoroughly review every frame from the picture lock and meticulously take out every piece of unwanted object such as wires, speakers, dolly track, boom mic, circuit breaker, switch. You name it! How did they do it? Well, it’s a story for another day. But they didn’t just remove some objects. They also added a few to the frame. The talented trio had to conjure nonexistent objects into the picture lock. Yes, “Culion” too had its own share of Computer Generated Images or CGI. Didn’t I mention how ambitious this film is?
The Legends Behind
I will say it again, “Culion” is an ambitious film. If the end credits didn’t make your jaw drop, I don’t know what else will. The people behind this massive project are all masters in the filmmaking industry.
The producer is none other than the brilliant Shandii Bacolod who might as well be brighter than the moon itself for her overflowing grace and acumen.
It’s directed by the controversial yet renowned director Alvin Yapan who is reunited with Bacolod in this another MMFF undertaking.
The screenplay is written by none other than the master writer himself, Ricky Lee. If you had watched “Himala”, “Muro Ami”, and “Jose Rizal”, you would know what to expect from the script of “Culion”. The lines from this movie will surely be recounted even years later.
And finally, don’t even get me started with the Cinematography. The teaser trailer can speak for itself. But I will tell you, the man behind this obra is none other than…wait for it…Neil Daza! The one and only master cinematographer who has proven his prowess so many times.
So, there you have it, folks. The film is indeed cladded with many reasons for us to watch it. Created by legendary masters and brought to life by a powerful cast that would take on the cinemas by storm, we seriously couldn’t ask for more. The hype is real. So if you haven’t already, go and click on the link below to check out Culion’s teaser trailer.
Not only is it a high-budget period film, but it will also show us the face of Culion island that we we’ve never seen before. And the powerful message it brings is perhaps just what our society needs today.