MARIFE Necesito, who landed an important role in âMammoth,â which stars Academy and Golden Globe Award nominee, Michelle Williams, and acclaimed actor Gael Ga rcia Bernal, shared with us the link to the trailer of her international film ( posted on the bottom of this blog). âMammothâ is the first English-language fil m of Swedish writer-director Lukas Moodysson. As we reported earlier, in âMammoth,â Marife plays Gloria, a mother of two sons who leaves the Philippines to work as the nanny of the daughter (Sophie Nyweid e) of a successful New York couple, played by Gael and Michelle. When Gaelâs bu sinessman character goes to Thailand, he realizes that he wants to change his l ife. This development sets off a dramatic chain of events that impact the chara cters of Marife, Michelle and Sophie. Marife informed us that she filmed her scenes in New York, Sweden and the Phili ppines, specifically in Subic and Bataan. The trailer of the film prominently f eatures Marife, including an emotional scene where she speaks in Tagalog to her two sons on the phone. The two sons are also shown on a beach in the Philippin es, as shot by Lukasâ cinematographer, Marcel Zyskind, whose credits include An gelina Jolieâs âA Mighty Heart.â Marife shared that she had to dub a few of her lines in a dubbing st udio in Makati. She also told us via e-mail that in anticipation of the filmâs release early next year, she is doing phone interviews with the Swedish press, as arranged by Memfis Film, one of the production companies involved in the mak ing of âMammoth.â The Filipina actress added that Lukas is still making final editing work on âMa mmoth.â Lukas is the highly praised filmmaker of films like âLilja 4-ever,â âSh ow Me Loveâ and âTogether.â Lukas, who made the final decision to pick Marife f or the part, was hailed by his esteemed compatriot, the late Ingmar Bergman, as a âyoung master.â Marife said she enjoyed working with Michelle, whose credits include Ang Leeâs âBrokeback Mountain,â and Gael, the Mexican thespian whoâs enjoying a sterling international career with such films as âBabel,â âThe Motorcycle Diariesâ and âAmores Perros.â Hereâs the link to the trailer.
Recently in Being Filipino Category
WE'REÂ glad to hear from The Jazz Society of the Philippines, USA that a Filipi no-American, Jon Irabagon, has just won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition. Jon, said to be the first Filipino to win this competition that is ranked no. 1 in the world in terms of prestige, won a $20,000 scholarship and a record cont ract with Concord Music Group, one of the leading jazz labels in the US. Raised in Chicago, Jon has been playing the saxophone since he was eight years old. He cinched his historic victory at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. We can ât wait to watch the new FilAm pride -- he will perform at the 4th Annual Filip ino-American Jazz Festival at the Catalina Bar & Grill, also in Hollywood, on December 27.
By Ruben Nepales OUR interviews over the years with Fil-Am actor Alec Mapa, whether by e-mail or in person, have always been laugh riots. At the pre-show reception of the rece nt Filipino American Libraryâs âJazzmopolitan: A Celebration of Musicâ at the A ratani Theatre in LAâs Little Tokyo, we were just shooting the breeze with the star of âUgly Betty,â many TV shows, films and stage productions when our colle ague, Peter Gonzaga, turned on his video camera and mike. The resulting video c lip is just a sample of the sassy wit of Alec, whom my wife Janet and I admired since we first saw him in his acclaimed monologue, âI Remember Mapa.â Watch Alec Mapa with Ruben & Janet Nepales in Entertainmen t Videos |Â Â View More Free Videos Online a t Veoh.com Alec came on time to the event which raised funds for the laudable Filipino Ame rican Library (FAL), which is located in the historic Filipinotown of LA. The a ctor, who is committed to various charities and foundations, was going to be aw arded FALâs Role Model Award. Well, many hours and several glasses of wine later, and after terrific performa nces by Becca Godinez, Mon David, Charmaine Clamor, Three of a Kind, Tateng Kat indig, Michael and Rene Paulo, Alec finally got to go onstage and accept his aw ard. Alecâs hair has gone askew and despite having the tough task of delivering an acceptance speech after those excellent musical numbers, he still managed t o entertain the crowd and keep the momentum. Toward the end, he invoked his fav orite anecdote about how his mother, now deceased, motivated him when he was ju st starting in show business and was not making headway. âWhatâs stopping you? â Alecâs mother asked him. That made him pause. Nothing has stopped Alec since then.
By Ruben Nepales ON my drive away from the Greek Theatre where my wife and I just watched our ka babayan Arnel Pineda and his Journey bandmates stage the first of two very succ essful shows in LA, I stopped by a gas station. As I pumped gas into our car, a young white woman approached me and asked if I just came from the concert. When I said yes, the woman said she watched the sho w too. Then she peppered me with questions, the gist of which boiled to one thi ng: she wondered if the many Filipinos who trooped to the Greek Theatre that Su nday evening knew the songs of Journey. Although the lady said she knew that Neal Schon first saw Arnel when the former came across a video clip of Arnel singing a Journey hit on YouTube (back when he was doing Journey tribute songs in the Philippines), she appeared baffled th at people in the Philippines know Journey. I told her that I was familiar with those Journey anthems in the 1980s. She asked me if I was born in the US or in the Philippines. I said I was born and raised in the Philippines and I was back home when I first heard those Journey tunes. (Editor's note: Here's one of the video clips on YouTube that perhaps got Journ ey's attention.)
At the rate weâve been getting text messages that Brillante "Dante" Mendoza won this or that award in an international film festival, heâs probably the Filipi no director with the most number of wins in these events held all over the worl d. Is anybody making a tally? We have become almost blasÃ© to hear that Dante has won in yet another film fes t. The prolific filmmakerâs latest triumph is at the 6th Vladivostok Internatio nal Film Festival of Asian Pacific Countries where he won the Best Director awa rd while his lead, Gina PareÃ±o, earned the Best Actress honors for "Serbis." D anteâs victories are raising awareness in the international film community of t he Philippinesâ vibrant indie movie scene. (Photo: One more addition to his growing trophy collection: a triumphant Brilla nte "Dante" Mendoza (center) in Vladivostok, Russia.)
It is almost too good to be t rue: a Filipina actress, Marife Necesito (see photo), has been plucked from rel ative obscurity to star in an international film with Michelle Williams and Gae l Garcia Bernal. "Mammoth," written and directed by Swedish wunderkind Lukas Mo odysson, was shot in New York, Sweden, Thailand and the Philippines. With Marif e in the photo at the film's press conference in Sweden are Sophie Nyweide, Mic helle Williams, director Lukas Moodysson and Gael Garcia Bernal. Sounding humble in our interview via e-mail, Marife peppered every sentence wit h "po" -- we felt like we were being addressed by Nora Aunor. For brevityâs sak e, we deleted all the "pos" in Marifeâs answers in our interview which appears in our column. Read her account of how she landed the role -- it's a fascinatin g story.
TORONTO, Canada --It was a moving sight -- Anita Linda, at 83, atten ding her first ever international film festival, was applauded and cheered enth usiastically by the audience who came to the second screening of "Adela," her m ovie directed by Adolfo Alix Jr. (left)Â and produced by Arleen Cuevas (right), at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival. A âquestion and answerâ wi th the audience followed the screening which reflected the crowd's affection fo r Anita and her performance as a grandmother marking her 80th birthday. I was t old that the first screening of "Adela" was also a success. (Photo by R uben Nepales).
FIL-AM hip-hop artists recently made it to the cover of LA Weekly, El Lay's alt ernative weekly publication. The cover story titled "The Fil-Am Invasion," which was written by Sam Slovick, appeared with the sub-head, "Embedded with the hip-hop movement that's taking over Hollywood." The piece heralded the rise of hyphenated Filipinos as DJs in the burgeoning party scene in LA and in key cities across the US. Well, all those ballroom dancing parties that their Pinoy parents dragged these kids to are paying off. These DJs with names like Q-Bert and Jep are lording i t over the club scene in Hollywood and other parts of the LA area. Writer Slovick encapsulated the growing prominence of Fil-Am DJs in this paragr aph: "Icy Ice breaks down the rise of Fil-Am hip-hop like this: As hip-hop migr ated west in the '80s, Filipinos in California already had a thriving funk- and R&B-based mobile-DJ scene going on. With infrastructure intact, the Fil-Am par ty scene moved out of the garage and into the clubs in L.A., San Francisco and Southern California, where the voice of disenfranchised ethnic America resonate d with these first-generation Cali teens -- who, though many in number, felt ou tside the American mainstream. The time was right for a full-scale teenage hip- hop revolt. Fil-Am DJ crews emerged all over Southern California." Read the whole story at http://www.laweekly.com/general/features/ the-fil-am-invasion/16965/.
IN MY column marking the second anniversary of Only IN Hollywood "Constantly fishing for the Filipino connection" posted on April 9 at INQUIRER.net, I used the term "FC" for the first time . FC, short for Filipino connection, is a tongue-in-cheek term that I came up wit h to call a comment or reply from a Hollywood celeb, a line from a movie, TV sh ow, stage play, musical or anything that has to do with the Philippines that I can play up in my writing. The readers' response to my FC anecdotes was heartwarming. These encounters inv olved recent Oscar winners Helen Mirren (her late brother lived and loved in th e Philippines) and Forest Whitaker (in the country for a film shoot, he stayed in a house in Balic-Balic, Manila when the 1986 People Power Revolution broke o ut), Robin Williams (married to a Fil-Am, he cracked me up with his balut em> anecdotes), and director Oliver Stone (filmed award-winning movies in Iloco s Norte, Cavite, Laguna and other Philippine provinces). Some readers shared their own FC notes. Here's one from Maria Cynthia Hortelano about "30 Rock," which recently won for Alec Baldwin a Golden Globe for Best A ctor in a TV Series (Comedy): "One of the show's trailers has Alec Baldwin's character, Jack, meeting his ass istant who is usually scruffy but this time showed up for work in a pink pastel suit. He commented: 'You should dress like that everyday for work.' She shot b ack, 'Yeah, if I were president of the Philippines.' It's really funny because the dress really is very GMA."
WELCOME! It took a long time for this blog to finally hit cyberspace. Some of y ou might be familiar with my column, âOnly IN Hollywood,â which is prin ted every Friday and Sunday on the Philippine Daily Inquirer and posted online at www.inquirer.net.Let me begin by asking, "Are you a closet Filipino?" In my years of wandering as a promdi in Hollywood, I have come across some folks who hide their Filipino heritage. These personalities say that they' re a mixture of Spanish (or to be more vague, âEuropeanâ), Chinese and Malay, t he standard racial make-up of most Filipinos. Some even claim that they are of Polynesian heritage. Basta anything but Filipino. Why do these Filipinos or hyphenated Filipinos conceal their Pinoy identity? Mo st are performers -- actors, actresses and singers -- who want to appeal to as broad a market or audience as possible. Or they like to be ambiguous in their r ace identity so they will not be pigeonholed into Filipino or Asian roles only. I have experienced situations in Hollywood where this singer or that actress re fused to be interviewed. Why? Because these performers do not want me to reveal or play up their Filipino heritage. But proudly admitting to be a Filipino has more benefits. You can't ignore the strength of Filipinos, especially when they unite and throw their support for a reality/talent search TV show contestant with Filipino heritage, for example. Many believe that had a recent Fil-Am candidate on "American Idol" proclaimed h is Pinoy heritage right away, he would not have been booted out early. Some commented that Pinoys would have rallied for t his contestant. Of course, the closet Filipino syndrome does not plague performers only. All ov er the world, we have a few kababayans, who are as brown and flat-nose d as we are, who pretend to be not Filipinos. Have you encountered a closet Filipino? Share your comments and experiences.