Amidst the torrential rain and what would later become another disaster level typhoon/monsoon; we held a special screening of our film, Sonata, for friends, family, and the amazing people who helped put this movie together. If anything, this work would not have been possible without the support and generosity of so many people.
I think it is more than apt to admit that I was a mess during the evening prior to the screening and the day itself. I was more than nervous. I was jumping off of walls and a horrendous ball of nerves. I remember looking straight at my Dad, a few hours before we had to leave for the special screening and telling him, “I cannot believe you went through this thirty-five times!” To be honest, my Dad was a nervous wreck as well. He said that he didn’t feel this anxious about a screening since Oro, Plata, Mata. That was thirty years ago and he has had dozens and dozens of films between. He’s a pro with this, so what chance did I have to be able to keep my cool.
The rains fell hard and we were getting cancellations left and right from our guests who were stranded at home because of the rain. Despite this, quite a few of my closest and dearest friends managed to make it and while it made me very, very happy to see them, it increased my anxiety — what if they didn’t like the film, what if it didn’t move them the way it moved everyone who worked so hard in making it happen, what if people didn’t get it? These thoughts raced through my head.
I finally understood what it means to have something so personal that you’ve made be released to the world. I wonder about all the poems I write and put out here on the blog and wonder why I was never worried about how it would be received. I don’t think that all my poems and all the articles I’ve written and published since I began writing never meant anything to me. They did. I wonder why this was different. I wonder why how Sonata would be received was so important to me.
We all entered the theater and Tito Lore (Reyes), co-director of the film, gave a short speech to acknowledge the gratitude that we had for everyone who came to help us in putting the film together and then my Dad came up to give an opening remarks and talked about collaboration and the art of allowing everyone add so much of themselves and their gifts and talents to the film. If anything, Sonata is a testimony of the passions, the talents, and the creative force of everyone involved in the production.
The movie began and I was in knots, sandwiched between two friends, in a row filled with friends that I had invited who braved the monsoon rains to be there.
For many years, I’ve told my friends that I wanted to be a writer — if not books, then movies — and that night, finally after so many years, they would finally see that what I had been saying so passionately time and time again had finally come to be. I did it. I wrote a film and some of the most important people in my life, family and friends who are family, got to see that. I am not full of bullshit. I wrote a film. I wrote this film. I wrote Sonata.
Our lead actress and our producer, Cherie Gil, was there, also a ball of nerves, as her family had come to see her in a lead role, playing a very complex and multi-layered character, and her first foray into producing a film. Richard Gomez had come, and we are extremely happy to have him as part of our cast. He was excellent in the film and his screen presence has only gotten stronger with age. He had so graciously and generously gave of himself and his talent for free. Ricky Davao as well.
But more importantly, key members of the cast and production from Bacolod had been flown from Bacolod, through the generosity of friends and family, so that they could witness what we’ve achieved. First time actor, the young lead, Chino Jalandoni, and his parents had come to see the movie finally complete. I cannot imagine what this young boy must have felt as he saw himself in the movie screen, the fruits of his labour, sacrificing a couple of weeks of his summer had finally been released to the public. I cannot imagine what he must have felt that evening.
More than anything, though, while I was squirming in my seat, wondering what people thought of the film, I was elated every moment I heard them laugh at the funny moments, the hushed silence at the solemn moments, and I could hear them cry at the touching moments.
Now, we wait for the Sineng Pambansa on September 11 to 17 at all SM Cinemas nationwide. We’ve run through the gauntlet and saw the film, surrounded by our family and our friends, who are family, and we made it through. Now, we wait for when we can show it to the rest of the country.
I really do hope you could come and watch.