Originally envisioned as a six-part series when it started shooting in 2019, Italian director Paolo Bertola shared why his latest project Genius Teens is now being released online as a two-part film starting July 15.
The movie, was shot entirely in Hunter Valley, Cabanatuan City, features an all-Filipino cast whose story is being labeled as a mix of sci-fi and action-fantasy which tackles how humans protect the earth. It focuses on the different aspects of local culture and Pinoy family values, and how each character becomes a young hero by discovering their abilities and choosing to do good with it.
“We saw more or less 500 kids for the auditions in 2019 and actually for many of them, it’s their first experience for them as actors. A few of them have experience but what we’re looking for are kids that are focused and can follow instructions and can act.
“Fortunately, all the kids in Genius Teens are really nice. It was a very good experience. Working with young talents is already very inspiring. we started the shooting a few months before the pandemic so that was the biggest challenge for the project because we are forced to stop filing for many months. To resume a project like this with many talents is really hard,” director Paolo shared during the Genius Teens premiere night held last June 25.
Even though it is not his first time working with a Filipino cast, Paolo said he got the support he needed from the local production crew.
“I already experienced in the past working with Filipino actors and actresses. So aside from the difference in language, I am Italian and I speak in English but I understand Tagalog a bit because it’s already many years that I am here but of course it’s totally different the approach in acting. So this is why I use two assistant directors to support me regarding the grammar in the lines.
“But in terms of acting, related to how to release the emotions, that is universal in Tagalog, Italian, or English. In our cast, we had 21 kids, more or less all are main characters. We have adults also. More or less we have 60 different talents,” he explained.
Although his film may look reminiscent of an X-Men film, Paolo explained why it is different and what his actually inspiration was whiling making the project.
“Aside from all the main characters are teenagers, I think the story flow of Genius Teens does not have only one universal story like all traditional movies, but many stories blended together. And each story is related to each character. So it’s something inspired by manga Japanese style. So this is I think interesting,” he added.
Also part of the cast is Italian-Filipino actor and former Dolce Amore cast member Ruben Maria Soriquez, Dionne Monsanto, and veteran character actor Ces Aldaba. Younger cast members include Ernest “Beaver” Magtalas, Cassie Kim, Bamboo Bobadilla, Arriane Butch, Princess Lucas, Kimchloie Oquendo, Kyle Espiritu, Jhassy Busran, Erica Corpuz, Ysabella Orandain, Miel Gomez, Denise Macaraeg, Sean Guyamin, Harvey Almoneda, Hyuna Ayreeka, Dasha Cura, Jil Demski, Ricky Oriarte, Alyssa Pardo, Santino Oquendo, Scarlett Pillega, Angel Laco, and Dennah Bautista.
Genius Teens starts streaming worldwide on www.ktx.ph, starting July 15, Wednesday.