I have been busy lately, lying in bed for hours on end, afflicted with some strange catatonia, contemplating on “What could have been…”
What started out as a very positive year is winding out into what I would swear as the worst year of my life. This is not overstating some facts. I died twice this year. My mother was my world to me. I died with her in September. Two month later, as cinema is life to me, I died again after making a catastrophic film that was, at the very start, a journey on a long road to perdition. All the signs pointed to these directions – my mother’s long stays in the hospital and my constant indecisions in making Cartas de la Soledad – but full of optimism and hope as I always have, well, with the help of mood stabilizers and antidepressants I tried to ignore them. Now they have taken their toll on me. So here I am, still in bed, at five in the afternoon. Thanks to a Bluetooth enabled keyboard I don’t need to walk to my iMac across the room. In the kitchen I could hear some utensils falling on the floor. My cats are having a field day. Captivated by the juicy redness of the fruits of the curacao (tambis) tree, some kids took turns the whole afternoon climbing the tree at the gate. On normal days I would have shouted at them, but now, who cares. Let them have it. The house is a mess. A pigsty would smell so much better. But who’s complaining.
As I’ve said everything was not this grey. The year rolled out to be promising. I traveled around Mindanao as a facilitator for a workshop to help kids in crisis (talk about irony). I went to two international film festivals. I revived this blog and wrote on a constant basis during the first quarter of the year. When I got the grant to make my disastrous sophomore film my entries became infrequent as I busied myself with preparations on the film. I would update my five readers about these preparations every now and then. I shot my film. But the initial shoot was problematic. I dropped some of my crewmembers, made enemies of friends (all my relationships are crumbling anyway, so again, who cares?) and changed location. My mother was in and out of the hospital during this time. She would constantly ask where I was. “Tell your brother to visit me,” my sister would recall, “and perhaps he can bring me a box of prunes.” When she died I was paralyzed. I was already in post-production then. I was editing my film but all creative energies evaporated into thin air. Finally I had to be rescued by “my knight in shining grey MacBook Pro.” Unlike my first film, Cartas de la Soledad was technically problematic. Sound was the greatest problem. I was supposed to have it sound designed by my past designer but when he told me about this film on a drug mule where he was asked to sound design the film for less than a week but he declined, I took it as a hint and went to other people. That proved to be a fatal mistake. Lacking in discipline and creative solutions, the new sound designer always wanted short cuts. So problematic scenes were dubbed even if simple snipping would have done the trick. I instructed cast members not to deliver lines if they hear any distraction like a passing vehicle or airplane. So unnecessary noise could easily be taken away. Nah! He chose ambient sound that was flat and too generic. As one viewer commented during the gala, the images of the film were gorgeous. The sound, “never mind.” I was almost sued because of this film but I will not talk about it lest I invite a lawsuit again. If there’s anything that I was able to prove in this film, it is that I’m a writer first and foremost. Jury members were impressed with my screenplay. The delegate generale of the Cannes Film Festival who sat in the jury gave his vote for best screenplay to the film. But this would not change the fact that I’m not happy with this film. It’s one of those things that you would want to sweep under the rug, or hide in your closet along with XXX porn magazines and DVDs. What could have been a nice addition to my filmography is now shitty pants in an MRT during rush hour for everybody to smell and judge.
I have been busy lately alright, lying in bed for hours on end, afflicted with some strange catatonia, contemplating on “What a shitty year this has been.” I hope 2012 would be more generous and kind.