In the successful ‘Tanging Ina’ movies, Comedy Queen Ai-Ai delas Alas played a mother who survived life’s trials with a lot of humor. Now, she takes on a different and more challenging mother role in Ronda, a finalist in the New Breed category of the 2014 Cinemalaya Film Festival.
Directed by Nick Olanka – whose past works have included mainstream films like ‘Cinco’ and TV shows like ‘E-Boy’ and ‘Apoy sa Dagat’ – and written by Adolf Alix Jr. and Jerome Zamora, Ronda is the story of a policewoman whose job is to patrol the dangerous and seedy streets of Manila (a familiar setting for most indie films), and who finds herself faced with a unique dilemma when she has to arrest her own son for killing his girlfriend.
Ai-Ai is also the film’s co-producer. She has produced and co-produced other films before (the latest was ‘Kung Fu Divas’, co-starring Marian Rivera), but this is her first venture into indie filmmaking, both as producer and actress.
In both areas, she learned a lot. “Hindi na bago sa akin ang pag-produce, pero itong indie film, mas okay ito kasi mas mura, unlike samainstream, P5 million ang pinakamababang percent,” says Ai-Ai, who is also appearing in a Cinemalaya entry for the first time.
In this candid interview with Ai-Ai during an intimate press conference held recently, the award-winning and box office queen shares to Orange Magazine and other member of the press what its like working in an indie film, how it feels like finally joining the indie scene and making it to the Cinemalaya FIlm Festival, and why she calls Ronda a “silent film”:.
Ronda also stars Perla Bautista, Bernardo Bernardo, Menggie Cobarrubias, Carlo Aquino, Carlos Morales, Cogie Domingo, Mon Confiado, Moi Bien, DM Sevilla, Kiko Matos and Julian Trono, with the special participation of Cesar Montano and Angeli Bayani.
And speaking of Cesar Montano, Ai-Ai’s character has a love scene with him which she considers one of her highlights and the most challenging parts of making Ronda. “Ang pinaka-challenging sa akin dito is of course the love scene with Cesar, na may konting boobs na nakita — pero konting-konti lang, may bra naman — and ‘yung malayo ang tinakbo ko, sobrang hirap, naka-Take 4 ako, pagkatapos n’on, ayoko na tumakbo. Sa acting, ang madaling mahirap din, wala ka masyadong dialogue but iaarte mo sa mata lang and silently, umaakting ka.”
Fortunately, her director guided her all the way. “He’s a very cool director,” she says of Nick Olanka, with whom she also got to work for the first time. “No pressure.”
Her mother character in Ronda is of course very different from the mother she played in the ‘Tanging Ina’ series. “Dito, as a mother,hindi ako martir ng kagaya sa Tanging Ina. Mas magaling akong pulis kesa magaling akong nanay,” she says.
Ai-Ai took her cue from the security detail she had following her most recent separation. “Kinopya ko lang ‘yung arte nung datingescort ko na PNP (Philippine National Police), hindi masyadong nagsasalita,” she laughs. “Astig lang.”
She believes that the film has an important message to send out to all mothers, which is that it is crucial “to know your children and have a good relationship and communication with them.”
Regardless of whether the film, or she personally, wins any awards in this year’s Cinemalaya race, Ai-Ai will consider it a memorable experience. In fact, she’s not even expecting to win anything. “Ma-nominate lang ako, ok na and pag nanalo ng award, super-bonusna,” she says. “Pag gusto ni God na manalo ako, game na. At least kahit ano ang mangyari, na-experience ko makagawa ng indie film.”
Along with the other Cinemalaya 2014 films, Ronda will have different screenings at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Ayala Malls Cinemas.