FILM PRODUCER—oftentimes believed to be all glitz and glamour, is in fact one of the most stressful professions there is.
Producing a film starts with the executive producer taking care of the funds for the movie. He will then hire a producer to oversee the entire operation from beginning to end. That includes choosing the cast and crew, creating the day-to-day schedule, and making sure that the allocated budget for the film production is utilized accordingly. With such weight on his shoulders, the film producer must have what it takes to take on the job. He must be flexible, detail-oriented, creative, decisive, a problem-solver, multitasker, critical thinker, can work under pressure, and most importantly, that person must know how to maintain a good relationship with others since making a film is a big endeavor that involves collaborating with many people.
You may feel I’m referring to a superhuman, but she’s as close to one you’ll find.
Mark Shandii Bacolod, or “Shandii” is a director, talent manager and producer who is near-superhuman in the industry and viewed by many as someone who sits at the top because of her admirable personality and skills. Her professionalism is uncontested and is the reason why she is well-respected by those she has worked with.
Bacolod is known in the independent cinema scene for producing films that boldly tackle topics that are unconventional. This makes her one of the most fearless producers in the Philippine Entertainment Industry. She is also one of the most sought-after. Some of the films that she has produced so far include Mudraks (Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2006), Fidel (Filipino International Film Festival Los Angeles, 2008), Panahon Na (Cinemanila International Film Festival, 2009), Ben & Sam (Opening Film, Queer Love Film Festival, 2010), Pendong (2010), Sponsor (Midnite Treats, Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival, 2011), Ang Tulay Ng San Sebastian (CineFilipino Film Festival, 2016), What Home Feels Like (2nd Best Picture, ToFarm Film Festival, 2017), Double Twisting Double Back (Cinema One Originals Film Festival, 2018) and the controversial “Oro” (Metro Manila Film Festival, 2016) wherein she teamed up with director Alvin Yapan.
Bacolod leads Team MSB and is currently working on an upcoming period film titled “Culion” where she is reunited with director Alvin Yapan whom she refers to as one of her most favorite film directors. “Culion” follows the story of three best friends who are afflicted by a then incurable disease known as Leprosy or Hansen’s Disease. Set in 1940 Culion, a former leprosarium in Palawan that is now a flourishing municipality, the film recounts some of the historical island’s untold stories and hopes to deliver a very important message to us all. The film, now an official MMFF entry will hit the cinemas this December and will be contending with seven other films for the MMFF awards.
Although considered by many as one of the most successful producers in the industry today, success was not served on a golden platter for Bacolod. As what Culion’s Executive Producer, Mr. Peter Sing always says, Shandii had to work her way up to be where she is now. All the blessings she is enjoying today are a product of her determination and hard work. She started as a member of Writers Circle Batch 1 of ABS-CBN, and in 2006, San Miguel Corporation included her in their list of most promising producers. The prominent company couldn’t have been more right as in the years that followed after that, Bacolod started producing feature films and gradually made her mark in the filmmaking world.
In an industry that revolves around artistic and talented people who want to constantly stay on the limelight, there’s no denying that it’s always a battle between egos. That’s why for a producer like Bacolod, it is really important not to get swayed easily. She needs to be constantly on top of everything to be effective in her job, and that is perhaps the reason why she is very straightforward and firm.
But what sets Bacolod apart from other producers and also one of the reasons why she is loved by many is the way she takes care of everyone on the set. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a star or a production crew, Bacolod ensures that everyone is taken care of and well-fed with sumptuous meals. Regardless of what their role is in the film production, no one is allowed to work on an empty stomach. That seems to be Bacolod’s number one rule.
“Pagdating namin ng Culion sobrang alaga kami doon as in kakatok na lang andIyan na ‘yung mga pagkain,” said Rex Lananto who plays “Dado” in the film “Culion”.
“Walang nagutom sa set. Very overflowing ang pagkain on and off the camera. On and off the set. Kahit andoon kami nagpapahinga. Grabe sa Culion tumaba ako eh. Actually kaya ngayon nagdi-diet ako kasi grabe talaga ’yung food. I think iyon ’yung isa sa mga hindi ipinagdadamot ni Shandii,” Nikko Delos Santos said. He plays “Amado” in “Culion”.
The fact that Bacolod shares the same sentiment about food with the executive producers of “Culion” only makes it more heartwarming.
“Ang pagkain para sa amin, respeto. Dignidad,” said Mr. Peter Sing, one of the executive producers of “Culion” during the film’s media launch in Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
Bacolod also showed her true caliber as a producer when her resolve was tested over and over again during the filming of “Culion”.
“Sinusubukan ‘ata ng universe ang husay ko sa pag-produce. Grabe lang. Pahirapan bago umabot sa Day 1 shoot. Pahirapan bago maitawid ang Day 1,” Bacolod expressed her exasperation and gratitude in one of her social media posts after experiencing so many obstacles during the shoot brought by the typhoon Falcon. Many flights were cancelled, rebooked and rerouted. Many scenes were drafted because of the rain and power outages. Yet, despite it all, Bacolod never faltered. Not once did she back down. The Reyna ng Cinemalaya proved herself mightier than the storm.
Bacolod has indeed turned into a force to reckon with. Surpassing herself in every project that she does, hers is definitely a name to watch out for. Yet, in the midst of all the glitter, she stays rooted to the ground. At the end of the day, she reminds everyone to work hard but always keep the workplace a happy set. And more than anything, to always remain a good person.
“Tandaan niyo, maging mabuting tao muna bago maging magaling na filmmaker,” Bacolod reminds everyone of her very inspiring mantra.