Many are already anticipating the upcoming historical movie “Culion“. But while the completion of the movie is still in the works, let us get to know first the people behind this massive project.
Iza Calzado as “ANNA”
Born Maria Izadora Ussher Calzado, this Filipina is more than just a pretty face. She is a television host, dancer and an award-winning actress. Formerly one of GMA Network’s homegrown artists, she signed an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN and is now a Kapamilya.
Back when she was still a Kapuso star, Calzado played many roles, the most iconic of which is the character of “Amihan” from the famous and much-loved series, “Encantadia”. She was also part of other series for both GMA and ABS-CBN like “Kung Mawawala Ka”, “Atlantika”, “Impostora”, “All About Eve”, “Kahit Puso’y Masugatan” and “Hawak Kamay” among others, and starred in movies like “Bliss”, “Starting Over Again”, “One True Love” and “Sigaw”.
Iza Calzado will be starring in the upcoming historical movie “Culion” alongside Joem Bascon, Meryll Soriano, Jasmine Curtis and Mike Liwag. She plays Anna, a woman afflicted with Hansen’s Disease and the love interest of Joem Bascon’s character, “Kanor”.
Over the years, Calzado has already proven her caliber as an actress. Her impressive acting skills have secured her a spot in the entertainment industry. Being the daughter of the late actor, director and choreographer, Lito Calzado might have bought her a ticket to stardom, but it is her hard work and talents that had kept her there.
Meryll Soriano as “DITAS”
Mary Rosalind Revillame or more popularly known by her stage name Meryll Soriano is a Filipino multi-awarded actress. She is the daughter of the popular game show host, Willie Revillame, and the niece of Diamond Star, Maricel Soriano.
She has been in the industry since 1991 and has worked in both television and film. Soriano’s superb talent in acting has earned her awards for Best Actress from “Ani ng Dangal” at the Brussels International Independent Film Festival and Cinemalaya. She has also won awards for Best Supporting Actress from Gawad Genio and Gawad Urian.
She starred in television series like “La Luna Sangre”, “I Love Betty La Fea”, “Your Song”, “Kampanerang Kuba”, “Marina” and “Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis”. She appeared in films like “Ploning”, “Donor” and “Rotonda”.
In “Culion”, she will give life to “Ditas”, a struggling woman who is suffering from the pain caused by Hansen’s Disease and her past.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith as “DORIS”
The younger sister of Anne Curtis, Jasmine has definitely stepped out of her elder sister’s shadows and proven to the public that she has what it takes to stand out on her own.
Jasmine first appeared in ABS-CBN’s noontime variety show “Showtime” in 2010. After that, she signed an exclusive 3-year contract with TV5 where she starred in some of the network’s TV series.
Her first two films were “Puti” in 2012 and “Transit”, with the latter receiving widespread recognition. “Transit” also competed at the 18th Busan International Film Festival, garnered 10 awards at the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, and became the Philippine’s entry to the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language. “Transit” also paved the way for Curtis-Smith’s first Best Supporting Actress award.
In 2016 received her first major Award when she was recognized as the Best Actress from Cinema One Originals Film Festival for the film “Baka Bukas”.
For “Culion”, Smith will be playing the role of “Doris”. Just like her co-stars Iza Calzado and Meryll Soriano, Curtis-Smith’s character is also afflicted with the then incurable and highly misunderstood Hansen’s Disease.
Joem Bascon as “KANOR”
Joem Bascon is Joseph Emmanuel Bascon in real life. He starred in TV series like “Pusong Ligaw”, “The Legal Wife”, “Pangako Sa’yo” and many others. He is notable for his moreno look and is often likened to fellow actors Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby. Bascon said in one of his interviews that his likeness to the two actors had, in some way, helped in boosting his career when he was merely starting in the show business, but admitted that he too wanted to be known as a separate actor with his own identity. It was in 2013 when he said that, and fast forward to the year now, it is without doubt that he has already successfully established his own identity in the industry through his exceptional acting skills and good attitude.
Bascon has bagged awards such as a Golden Screen Awards for Breakthrough Performance as an Actor and Gawad Urian Award for Best Supporting Actor. He has starred in films like “All About Love”, “I Love You Goodbye”, “10,000 Hours” and the controversial “Oro” where he worked with renowned film director, Alvin Yapan.
This year, Bascon will once again work with Yapan for “Culion”. He will also be reunited with Iza Calzado whom he had previously worked with in the movie “Batanes”. He will play the male lead role of “Kanor” who is the love interest of Iza Calzado’s character.
Mike Liwag as “JAIME”
Mike Liwag will play the role of Jaime in the upcoming historical movie “Culion”, a funny and easygoing guy who carries the Hansen’s Disease. Unlike his co-actors, Liwag said this might be his first big film to date, saying that the story is really profound and his character is a very challenging one since it will evolve from being carefree into someone with depth over the course of the film.
Liwag said that he is thankful for being part of the film as he will be working with actors who have been in the industry longer than he has. He pays close attention to the pieces of advice that are given to him and use them to become a better actor, but that is not to say that he isn’t already. The film’s director, Alvin Yapan said that he is amazed of Mike’s acting skills, stating that the role of Jaime seems to have been perfectly tailored for him as he was able to effectively bring life to the Jaime character in all of his scenes.
DIRECTOR: Alvin Yapan
After being banned from participating in the Metro Manila Film Festival for quite sometime for his controversial film “Oro”, the award-winning director is back in action. Alvin Yapan is the director of “Culion”, a historical film that is aspiring for a slot at the upcoming MMFF 2019.
Yapan is a film director, screenwriter, fictionist and professor who has earned awards and recognition through his works. His first solo feature-length film, “Ang Panggagahasa kay Fe” (The Rupture of Fe) was included in the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival and won Best Picture for Digital Feature Category at the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival in 2009. His other film “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa” (The Dance of Two Left Feet) won the Bronze Award at the 28th Festival de Cine de Bogota in 2011 and Best Picture at the Gawad Urian in 2012.
As a film director, he capitalizes on film that evoke greater meaning and tackle topics that are rampant in our society but are often neglected. When it comes to handling the actors, he is very patient and guides everyone in bringing out the best in all of them.
SCRIPTWRITER: Ricky Lee
Ricky Lee is an award-winning screenplay writer, journalist, novelist and playwright.
In a span of 40 years, he has written countless of literary pieces from essays, short stories, novels, plays, and over 150 screenplays, which has earned him more than 50 trophies from different award-giving bodies like FAMAS, FAP, Gawad Urian, Golden Screen, Maria Clara, MMFF, Star Awards, World Premieres Film Festival, and Young Critics Circle among others.
Ricky Lee’s notable works include screenplays for acclaimed films like “Himala”, “Jose Rizal”, “The Flor Contemplacion Story”, “Muro Ami”, and “Deathrow”. His two short stories, “Huwag Mong Kukuwentuhan ang Batang si Hweng Fu” and “Servando Magdamag” won first prize at the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards. Adding to his list is the upcoming historical movie, “Culion,” a Metro Manila Film Festival hopeful.
An inspiring tale of rising above one’s personal circumstances and pursuing one’s dream is what Ricky Lee’s life is all about. His story of perseverance has touched the lives of many people the same way that his works have motivated others to believe that at the end of a difficult road is a well-deserved reward.
Ricky Lee has also taught us the value of humility. Despite all the awards that he has received, he has never been boastful nor selfish. In fact, he passes what he has learned to other dreamers through the scriptwriting workshop that he gives for free to deserving individuals. At the age of 71, the veteran writer has no plan of retiring, stating that writing to him is like breathing. He wrote the screenplay for “Culion” wherein he said that he loved writing it, and that the story naturally flowed out of him.
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Neil Daza
To complete the award-winning trio is the acclaimed Cinematographer, Neil Daza- a virtuoso who has proven his irrefutably exceptional skills in cinematography over time.
Neil Daza has lighted films like “Yamashita : The Tiger’s Treasure”, “Emir”, “Feng Shui”, “Ka Oryang”, “Seroks” and “Ouija”, and have received awards for best Cinematography from award-giving bodies such as Festival Prize, Cinemalaya, FAMAS, FAP, Gawad Urian, Golden Screen, Star Award and Young Critics Circle of the Philippines.
On being the Cinematographer for the movie “Culion”, Daza said that the story is very humanist and this is the type of project that he is usually drawn to.
With such a remarkable line-up, “Culion” is undeniably one promising film. Let’s wait and see how these brilliant people are going to remarkably give life to the untold stories of courage, hope, love, and triumph behind the beautiful and historical island of Culion.