Chris Martinez, who won first place at the recently concluded 2023 DGPI-FDCP Film Pitch for his project “The Nora Aunor School of Acting,” said he couldn’t wait to make his greatest pitch ever—the one he will make to pay tribute to the National Artist for Film herself.
“I’ve already made a deal with a producer, but I can’t reveal who it is yet. We still have a few things to discuss. I will announce more details once we’re ready. This will also be the perfect time to talk with Ate Guy (Aunor’s nickname). I don’t want to face her until I’m able to come up with a complete program or plan. I want to do my pitch when everything is ready,” said Martinez, who directed the comedy films “Here Comes the Groom” and “Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2.”
This year, the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines Inc. (DGPI) has partnered with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) for its annual film pitching. Out of 200 applicants, 15 filmmakers were chosen to pitch their story ideas to 10 production companies.
“We were only given three minutes to present three slides to the producers. There were also pitches in the speed-dating format. We made the rounds of producers and talked to them individually for seven minutes. We gave them a more detailed pitch on the project,” Martinez reported.
“It was nerve-wracking. It was my first time to participate in something like it. I was lucky enough to win best pitch. It’s very encouraging for the project. I’m hoping I can finally push through with the film,” said Martinez, whose win came with a P50,000 cash prize. “It could be used as seed money for script development, research and interviews.”
“The Nora Aunor School of Acting” is a comedy fantasy project about the art of acting. It was an original concept of film and TV director Mark Meily some 20 years ago, said Martinez. “I wasn’t directing at the time. I was his screenwriter and he asked me to make the storyline. I submitted this to him and he said he liked it, but I guess it’s one of those projects that we forgot about since we both got busy with other things,” he added.
“When DGPI announced the pitching session, I felt it was time to resurrect this project, especially now that Nora is already a National Artist. It’s about time that we pay tribute to her through this comedy film.”
Martinez said Aunor will be part of the cast. “She won’t just be in the title. I just can’t say yet what she would do in the film. There’s a fantasy element in the story. It’s not grounded in reality. It is similar to ‘Being John Malkovich’ and ‘Babae sa Septic Tank.’ It’s kind of meta—the actors are playing a hyperreal version of themselves,” he explained.
When asked what inspired him to write the story, Martinez said: “It’s because most people think it is easy to become an actor. Acting is an art. You need training and experience, you need pain. In comedy, you need timing, too. People will realize this when they see the movie.”
Martinez said he has always been awed by Aunor as an actress, as well as her brand of acting. “She really does have her ‘school of acting,’ her trademark,” he pointed out. “My earliest memory of watching at the cinemas is ‘Banawe: Stairway to the Sky,’ with Ate Guy and Christopher de Leon. The Nora movies that really made a mark on me were ‘Ina Ka ng Anak Mo’ and ‘Bulaklak sa Parang.’”
Producer Mira Ticlao won second place during the pitching session with her feature film “The Wedding Dance.” Third prize went to Mike Alcazaren’s 75-minute documentary “The Wall.” INQ
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