After the international success of his film, US-based film director JP Su’s first full-length film Toto is finally set to hit the local theaters.
The multi-awarded film starring Sid Lucero is set to premiere in select local mainstream cinemas on November 23.
Toto bagged the Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the 39th Asian American International Film Festival as well as the Best Foreign Feature Film at the 19th L.A. Comedy Festival. Sid likewise took home the Best Actor trophy at the 19th L.A. Comedy Festival.
The film also took home a number of awards under the Full Feature category during the 41st Metro Manila Film Festival last year. The awards it won included the Special Jury Prize, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress for Bibeth Orteza.
While JP is excited about his film reaching a wider audience, a part of him is worried that someone would pirate his “baby.”
“It’s a huge issue for me. God knows during the MMFF I was so paranoid that somebody was shooting the film there before it even gets a commercial release. Eh ‘yun naman talaga ang hindi tama,” he said.
Like most directors before him, JP stressed that a film is a collaborative project between those in front and behind the camera.
“Ang daming tao ang nagtrabaho dito, ang daming pera ang nagastos tapos nanakawin mo lang ang intellectual property right ng mga taong ito?” he asked. “Eh pano kung kayo ang ninakawan? Sabihin na natin na hindi pelikula ang ninakaw sa kanila. Ibang bagay ang ninakaw sa kanila.”
He stressed that, “Parang nanay na nagluwal ng bata, ganon rin ang filmmakers. Tapos pagninakaw at pinirata mo parang ninakaw mo narin ang anak ng filmmaker.”
But how does he plan to counter the forces behind piracy?
“I believe through OctoArts, our distributor, they have like somebody monitoring every theater where it’s screening. So hopefully, makatulong sila,” he said.
JP, however, admitted that all the efforts of the film producers and the regulating bodies can only do so much.
He explained, “Siyempre hindi natin maiiwasan, there will still be rotten apples in the basket. So mangyayari at mangyayari pero hopefully mas vigilant tayo for that. Kasi kawawa naman especially independent films.”
“Hirap na nga gumawa ng film para sa limited budgets tapos nanakawan pa nila. Unfair naman,” JP ended.
After the success of his film, JP revealed that he is now working on his second full feature film, which he said would also be shot in the country.
Catch Toto in select cinemas starting November 23.