Life 101 - As an Actor in a Short Film, Simong Lawog (Thy Face), a Story about Faith
The Short Film- Thy Face (Simong Lawog)
A Role Suited For Me
At the start of year 2015, a unique message entered my Facebook inbox.
It came from my college theater director, Bernardo 'Buboy' Aguay,also an educator. He asked me if I'm interested in a worthwhile road show project about promoting the culture and arts of my country, Philippines. I agreed without thinking.
Yes, I'm always interested when it comes to arts. I used to be a drama talent at the local radio station. I also experienced shooting a local television drama anthology in the 90s while I'm a communications student at the local university.
We've met along with other talent/choreographer in the city and agreed about my role as an 'old man' and even practiced my lines. It was supposed to be for students of theater arts at the local state colleges.
The project just fizzled. I don't know the reason. I forgotten it momentarily, since I am occupied at our barangay for being a secretary.
When April, 2015 comes, I got another message at my Messenger. This time it will be a whole day workshop about a short film which will be in our local dialect, Bicol ( which will be sub-titled in English language).
My role is an old man again, Direk Buboy texted. Well, I can't choose my role. I believe that there's no small or big role for an eager artist, like me.
So, I went to the school venue, my high school alma mater in Naga City and was surprised to read the script.
I am going to be the leading man in that short film.
During the entire workshop, we familiarized with our dialogues, the blocking and the delivery we are about to utter as we portray our destined roles.
A week after the said practice, I received another message that my attack to the role was underrated. I asked the director If I still passed the workshop. He replied, wait for the next announcement of his production assistant.
Two months have passed, as I became busy with local commitments, I suddenly received the confirmation message that I was selected to play the role of a husband.
That sealed my doubt. Excitement followed as the 'Simong Lawog' Team hurdled the entire shooting dates in July 2015 in order to beat the deadline for final selection of the short films that will be included to the Third Peñafrancia Short Film Festival, coinciding the Peñafrancia fiesta in Naga City and the whole Bicol region.
Why 'Simong Lawog' (Thy Face)?
There's something about the face which we cannot forget. The recognition of one's identity is always attributed to physical features, especially the face.
Face is considered sacred because man is created in God's image. Therefore, we must take care of it since, it will always serve as our identity ( as in ID card, etc.).
Imagery is apparent in faith affiliation being practiced in the region, Catholicism, that is. So, the story line of the short film (strictly for a 30-minute duration only) is heavily based on the theme presented by the Archdiocese of Caceres in Naga City which is about: Living the Faith, Empowering the Poor.
And so, a lot of revision was made so that the story line will jive with year's theme about how faith can change the lives of our poor neighbors. The poor doesn't mean the materials things but preferably about how those who don't believe or just ignore the daily messages of the Lord in their lives.
Going back to the short film, Simong Lawog, the producer, cinematographer and the writer/director scouted for the appropriate location sites for different scenes.
The team had chosen Calabanga, Camarines Sur, Philippines to be our official location site. The occupation and livelihood of the locals were adopted, local residents were tapped as extras, especially the children.
The Shooting of Simong Lawog (Thy Face)
It was mostly during weekends that the whole cast and production team hurdled the rigors of putting all the scenes in films.
Most of the short films, nowadays are using digital cameras. If a particular scene shot doesn't satisfy the director, the cinematographer or the producer, it will be easily erased and revised by the technical team or camera crew.
My call time came during the second weekend of August. I don't have official office works for Saturdays and Sundays, so it easily jived with my schedule at the barangay where I work with as official documenter (secretary).
Good thing, our director is open for dialogue improvisation. the cast don't have to memorize the dialogues en tutu (by the book or script).
Every angle is scrutinized when making films. So, each scene will be repeated for nth time in order to get a better result when it is edited.
The rapport of the team and the community we got involved with were commendable. I appreciated my college friend for allowing me to stay for several nights during the duration of shooting days, in order for me to be ahead of the time at the shooting location.
As I said, the director was able to tap bystanders as extras with dialogues and stills.
Prominent characters (like the lay ministers and catechist, as their true selves) were able to execute and deliver the scenes according to the director's orientation.
Filming a story in just 30-minute duration is like running in a marathon as the team should beat the deadline in a week's time.
We sacrificed our time as most of the members of the production team are teachers or working at the academe.
All in all, the project given to us is both satisfying as an artist and as a believer in God.
The Main Protagonists of Simong Lawog (Thy Face)
Simong Lawog (Thy Face) Shooting Video
I made this video as tribute for the whole exciting adventure in shooting a Bicol short film.
COPYRIGHT OF SIMONG LAWOG (THY FACE), (An Official Entry to the 2015 Peñafrancia Short Film Festival) belongs to:
1. Bernardo 'Buboy' Aguay (Writer-Director)
2. Tonyrik Ayen Productions,Inc.(Cinematography)
3. Edgepoint Productions,Inc. (Producer-Edgar & Joannah Ramores)
SARUNG BANGGI (ONE NIGHT)
1.Potenciano B. Gregorio Sr. (1897) of Sto. Domingo, Albay - Composer
Frequently recorded version (like Nora Aunor and other Bicolano artists)
Sarung banggi sa higdaan (One Night in bed)
Nakadangog ako hinuni nin sarung gamgam;(I heard a bird's chirp)
Sa luba ko katorogan( I thought it's just a dream)
Bako kundi simong boses iyo palan..(But it's your voice instead)
Dagos ako bangon si sakuyang mata binuklat,(I was awaken and opened my eyes)
Kadtong kadikloman ako nangalagkalag,(Amid the darkness I searched)
Si sakong pagheling pasiring sa itaas,(I searched above)
Naheling ko simong lawog maliwanag.(And I saw your face so bright.)
USED AS BACKGROUND HERE:
SARUNG BANGGI (ONE NIGHT) by Nora Aunor
Copyright: ALPHA MUSIC CORPORATION (Philippines)
SIMONG LAWOG (The Shooting) with SARUNG BANGGI by Nora Aunor (As Background Music) Ireno Alcala
The Importance of Simong Lawog (Thy Face)
Those who have seen the whole movie concluded that the short film will surely inspire people in far flung places to keep the faith.
With what is happening nowadays, so many negative thoughts are being injected through media that take away most families away from God.
Many cling for material things.
The struggle of a simple family in the story will hold you back to where such belief started.
The sincerity of the film to convey faith to the people in real scenes or familiar dialogues will convince you that the film maker truly believes of what he had achieved while making the script and putting it into film.
Personally, the character I acted in the film as a family man is a true mirror of what is happening among the family men in the countryside or far flung barrios in the Philippines.
Men often neglect their obligation in church due to their jobs as rice farmers, fishermen, vegetable growers.
Women, mostly mothers help their husbands in making things end meet.
Children go to school where their faith are empowered by active church members, such as the catechists.
Lay ministers administer communion to the elders.
The scenes that comprise Simong Lawog (Thy Face) are filmed to empower families in the far flung barangays and remind them on the importance of faith in God.
Have you seen short films from our region (Bicol, Philippines)?
Do you watch foreign short films with English sub-titles?
Other Prominent Characters in Simong Lawog(Thy Face)
Director Bernardo Aguay's Achievement in Bicol Short Film
1st Penafrancia Short Film Festival Entry
Sakay (Sa Barotong Papel) or A Ride (To a Paper Boat)
The House of Simong Lawog(Thy Face)
This hubber is indebted to...
- The Baliuag Nuevo Barangay Council for allowing me to moonlight as an indie film actor this year.
- Director Bernardo Buboy Aguay for trusting my acting capabilities.
- Sir Tonyric Ayen for being considerate at all times as the cinematographer.
- Edgar and Joannah Burac-Ramores, the power couple for producing this short film
- The viewing public for appreciating our work as they voted for us during the two-premiere days (Aug.15-16, 2015) at Emily Theater in Naga City.
The Road Shows started last Aug.20 and ends on Sept.10,2015.
The 3rd Peñafrancia Short Film Festival
The Archdiocese of Caceres, through the Caceres Commission on Communications, presented the three finalists of the 3rd Peñafrancia Short Film Festival last August 3, 2015. Below are the Synopsis of the entries.
SIMONG LAWOG, (Director: Boboy Aguay)
A story of three lives - BELEN wants to succeed in life in the barrio but his son who wants to be a teacher became paralyzed due to accident; RAMON a poor boatman who always brings his passenger, a lay minister to give communion to a blind man - Gurang Ente. GURANG ENTE - the blind man alone at home. Where do they find hope? Belen, Ramon, Gurang Ente and all the poor - to whom shall they turn to?
LABOY NIAMO (Director: Arjanmar Rebeta)
"Laboy Niamo" (Our Mud) is a short film based on the prayer "Lord's Prayer." Within this short film, there are mini stories that reflect on the last petitions on the said prayer: Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. These are stories about poor (material, psychological and spiritual). These are stories about blessings, forgiveness and guidance. These are about living "mud" being empowered by the grace of God with the help of Ina.
KATIKOT (Director: Kim Kryshan Anciano)
Right after Theo met a car accident which led him to his death, his soul cannot continue its journey.
While his soul wanders around the area where his accident happened, he saw a beggar who asked for bread and water inside the church. He wonders how the beggar can see him in his soul state. He found out that the beggar's name was Niño who presented himself to be a beggar to give Theo his final test.
The schedule of the road showing of the Short Films will be on August 15-16 at Emily Theater (Ticket@P100). There will be road shows in the parishes and schoools from August 12-September 10, 2015. The Awards Night and Gala Dinner will be on September 6, at the Avenue Hotel The Tent.
Simong LawogFinal Teaser by Tonyric Ayen
Results Night for the 3rd Peñafrancia Short Film Festival (Sept.6,2015)
1st BEST PICTURE (Php100,000.00)
2nd BEST PICTURE (Php75,000.00)
3rd BEST PICTURE (Php 50,000.00)
LABOY NIAMO (Our Mud)
SIMONG LAWOG (Thy Face)
KATIKOT (A Little)
Best Actor (Gurang Enteng or Elder Enteng)
Best Child Actors
Best Actress (Belen)