Shooting Rizal’s To The Flowers of Heidelberg Was a Reunion

August 27, 2011

It was more of a reunion! Yesterday’s shooting which started after lunch was rather tiring but we all went home happily because the day we spent together was more like reuniting with ‘old’ friends. The bonding strengthened. It was the third poem we shot for Project Rizal.

From right - Yuka, Rome, MM, Jenny

Even Yuka, old time friend, and Asiong film editing accomplice came over to join us. It was his first time to be at CSB and to be in a Deaf territory. Aldrin Gabriel, our Rizal for Ultimo Adios replaced Toby as production assistant. He was very helpful. Nelson Demetillo, our makeup artist was as usual at his best in making everybody laugh. He is a live wire, really fun to have around. The group will miss him when the project is over.

Rome practicing

Our shooting with Romalito Mallari who lost his being “Rome” the way I used to know him and perceived him to be, to become Rizal was very patient despite the many takes that I had asked him to do. I saw another side, probably the real side of Rome. I first saw him in 2006 when I studied Filipino Sign Language at CSB. He was one of the Silent Steps members who performed in the company of CJ Patriarca and Myra Medrana when I made my docu on Deaf Filipinos [Silent Odyssey/2008]. He was distant. But from our pre-production period last month until our shoot yesterday which lasted until 7.30 pm., Rome was different. He was funny; did many comic acts, at home with everybody. The work was tiring but fun. It was work and fun together. The aura of camaraderie was there; the spirit of advocating for a cause was strong. Working because you have to earn is common. I advocate for a cause, and working on my project gives me joy and fulfillment. The monetary compensation is not sufficient or too small for what they are / we are actually doing, they all know that. But still everybody’s there — more I guess because of working for fun and the higher aim of advocating for a cause, and doing something that has never been done before. Our project is the first ever interpretation of Rizal’s poems in sign language, and we can claim that our initiative IS the first in the translation history of Rizal’s poems.

It was the shooting of the FSL and Spanish versions of TO THE FLOWERS OF HEIDELBERG. And I would like to thank Romalito and Ms. Beatriz Alvarez-Tardio for joining us. By merely taking part in our film, they have joined our advocacy for information accessibility to thevDeaf and the Blind, and all those who are interested in Rizal and his works. When I told my team that Beatriz was coming, they asked me how she looked like. I said I had no idea. We just communicated via email. She was the first to respond to my call for readers


in Spanish of Rizal’s poems, forwarded to her by the cultural attache of Instituto Cervantes, Mr. Fons. It was only from Rex Flores, our PD that I came to know that she was one of the participants at the Rizal International Conference in UP last June. It was my first time to meet her last night. When I asked her what made her decide to participate in our project, she told me that she loves reading poetry, and she liked the interesting idea of having to translate Rizal’s poems in sign language.

Romalito Mallari

I wanted a lot of close ups — of Romalito’s facial expressions and the signing hands. Even then, I still feel I should have added more!!! I see it as an editor’s film because I want to play up with shots. It will be different from Ultimo that way. That’s my hope. That was preconceived. However, since I haven’t really found the pictures appropriate for it, I can’t tell how it will look like. But, I am sure — if there are no problem with the takes, no virus on the files, and the like — the interpretation will be as good and memorable as the first two other poems in FSL that were already shot.

I would like to thank PEN Learning Center — Ms. Techie, Giselle, Mackie and PEN staff for their full support; and of course, all the members of our team. For your information, our next shoot will be SONG OF MARIA CLARA with Jorelle and the Silent Steps for the tandem shots with the Spanish readers. Sked should be this September!!


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