While making her latest film Tenement 66 last year, director Rae Red said she did not want to have high expectations of the film which eventually became one of the Pinoy films invited to compete in the 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN) in South Korea held earlier this month.
“May gulat pa din definitely pero ako kasi yung type na I want to expect the worst. Pero nung ginagawa ko ito hindi ko alam kung may manunuod nito. Parang dina-down ko sarili ko. Hindi naman sa tingin ko pangit yung pelikula, parang ako lang ayaw kong nag-e-expect, ayoko na nabibigo. Parang lagi kong lino-lower yung expectations ko with every project.
“Definitely nakakagulat pa rin an nakakatuwa kasi nag-ko-cross siya ng borders since Filipino audience yung priority namin for this film. Film festival siya that specializes in genre films so usually mga horror or suspense, ganyan. Talagang sina-scout nila yung Asia and all over the world for upcoming films that fits that genre. Thankfully nakapasok tayo,” she said.
With the festival having 250 films from 47 countries competing in different categories, direk Rae shared what sets Tenement 66 apart from the competition.
“Nag-ho-hope ako na yung pagiging Pinoy niya is what makes it unique. Kasi obviously marami naman ibang bansa na gumagawa ng horror pero kung magiging unique is through yung mga characters natuin, yung sitwasyon na binibigay natin which is all very Filipino. So I’m hoping kaya tayo papanuorin is kakaiba yung kultura and baka iba yung location,” she said.
Direk Rae shared she shot the film last October in the same location as another thriller film Fan Girl.
“Pag pumunta ka sa tenement parang ang rich ng characters dun. Makikita mo talaga kung paano sila mamuhay. In fact si direk Tonette Jadaone dun din nag-shoot for Fan Girl kasi yung location talaga na yun makikita mo talaga all walks of life and ang interesting ng lugar as a location kaya yun din talaga yung inspiration namin,” she revealed.
With an impressive filmography which includes writing and directing credits for films like Babae at Baril, Si Chedeng at si Apple, and Birdshot, direk Rae shared why it is important to inject social commentary in her films.
“Kasi I studied writing in UP and kind of during college it was really parang dinikdik talaga sa utak namin na if you can try to make a political statement. Para may silbi yung art mo.
“Obviously art can have a lot of purpose. It can just be a means for escape or puwede lang siya patawa or magpaiyak, ganyan. Pero if you can more that’s better and in terms of genre, I guess growing up dun talaga ako pinalaki. I love watching horror and action. Kasi my dad’s filmmaker. My whole family is into film so I grew up watching gangster films or thriller films and even art films. I guess all those na ginagawa ko ngayon are influences from my childhood.
“But for Tenement 66 in particular, yung co-creator ko dito si Kenneth Tagatan, gusto talaga namin mag-collaborate noon pa. We asked ourselves ano ba yung mga gusto natin panuorin? So maybe para fun we should create something that we enjoy watching and doing. So parang we got inspiration from ur favorites like Stranger Things or Don’t Breathe. And of course inspiration din yung actual location na tenement in Pasay, yung may mural ni Kobe Bryant. So parang experience from our favorite films as well as yung political na kalagayan andun rin sa tenement na yun. I guess we tried to mash those two together and tried to create the story that we have now,” she said.
Tenement 66 stars Francis Magundayao, Francine Diaz, and Noel Comia. Directed by Rae Red. It is now available for streaming on iWant TFC.