Interview with Patay na si Hesus director

AMONG the many films to play in cinemas nationwide in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, starting August the 16th, Patay na si Hesus is one among them to have made advanced screenings around the country this past week (inclusive of Davao City). In light of the film’s release, the Film Academy of the Philippines – Mindanao had the chance to interview Patay na si Hesus director, Victor Villanueva.

FAP-MIN: Patay na si Hesus features an interesting emotionally complicated— yet humorous— story set around a simple concept: a road trip to a funeral. What is the background in the development of this story, and how it came to be?

VV: The story was loosely based on the writer’s (Fatrick Tabada) experience with his family, and pooling in our experiences with the road trip going from Cebu to Dumaguete. We developed it from there.


FAP-MIN: As a Cebuano film, starring Tagalog-speaking actress, Jaclyn Jose, what kind of language preparations were made to prepare her for her Bisaya-speaking role?

VV: Jaclyn Jose really took on the challenge of learning a new language for the film. She had two dialogue coaches. Almost two months before the shoot, the coaches were doing Bisaya workshops with her. On set they were also present, but the cast (Chai and Melde) also helped in Bisaya.

FAP-MIN: Set around a road trip, the film featured various locations in the Visayas. Were the any struggles that came with filming in multiple locations?

VV: A lot of people commented that the film looked effortless— no! Shooting a road movie is a logistical nightmare, and we have to keep moving. The multicab was very cramped and hot, and I had to hide myself at the cab’s back to direct together with the sound man. Jaclyn had to drive, act, and talk in Bisaya, and there were a lot of safety measures to consider. I probably won’t do a road movie anytime soon.

FAP-MIN: In its promotion posts over social media, some netizens accused the film of so-called “blasphemy” due to its title. What is the reaction of the production team to these accusations?

VV: We kind of expected a lot will take issue with the title, but didn’t expect na ganun ka laki na daming na offend and be very vocal about it. We just left it alone and let the people argue about it, because somehow the film is about an imperfect family. Will you judge them, as they judged the title? But we were happy that when they saw the trailer. it wasn’t totally blasphemous at all. So, we are kind of glad that there is a discussion about it that leads them to check out the trailer, and hopefully the film too.

FAP-MIN: One of the beloved actors of the film was a dog, playing the character Hudas. What was it like working with him/her?

VV: Oh, Hudas is a she. Her name is Sadie, and participates in a lot of dog shows in Cebu. Her owner is Christine Marie Dunque Enriquez, and takes care of her very well. We had no problem with her as she is such a cute and obedient doggy and follows directions.

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