So they made an official announcement yesterday. T-Rex Entertainment in co-production with Black Sheep held a story conference for our movie, tentatively titled Open. Direction by Andoy Ranay, the film follows a couple, Rome and Ethan, as they take a journey, as a couple, into an open relationship just a few months before their wedding.
We have a stellar cast with Arci Munoz and JC Santos as Rome and Ethan and supported by Alexa Ilacad, Nikki Valdez, Vance Lanera, and Agot Isidro.
This is an important landmark film for me. It’s my first film in four years since T’yanak and it’s my first mainstream film and my first foray into the romantic comedy genre.
The journey to this film began in December, when Petersen Vargas asked me to send ideas and concepts to T-Rex Entertainment for their movie slate for this year. I came and pitched some of my ideas and they were intrigued by this idea of a couple in an open relationship that I had been toying with since 2014.
They asked to develop it with me and as we began exploring the possibilities, they say the potential for the film to be a mainstream film that tackles a very modern way of living that has not yet been approached by any Filipino movie. From my original take of an older couple, who experiences a snag in their already-existing open relationship, we shifted towards a younger couple, who decides to experiment with the idea of it.
Over the course of the last nine months, we’ve been churning draft after draft, bringing in director Andoy Ranay to complete the artistic team to see to the evolution of the script.
It was so wonderful working with T-Rex Entertainment because they were so encouraging in seeing that my vision of the script comes to life. I was very forthcoming about my fears of not being a commercial writer. I’ve been told over and over again in the industry that my work was not grounded enough, that it was it wasn’t accessible and they helped get through those barriers and guided me accordingly.
But they always asked me if this is where I wanted to go.
I felt protected as an artist. I felt that my voice never got drowned out by the process. I’ve learned so much about my craft during the making of this script. I’ve never been formally educated in scriptwriting. I learned creative writing with a focus on poetry and just a few classes in fiction. Never took a class in scriptwriting. I learned on the job and by doing and I’ve always done independent films so I had free reign in my concept and design, working closely with my director.
When I was hired to do mainstream films, I’d get so many revisions and so much feedback until the project somehow died a natural death. This was the first time I had someone go through the process with me and guide me. And I learned the nuances of writing for a mainstream movie. Accessibility. I had to learn it.
I probably will not be attempting another mainstream movie right away. I’d like to get back to genre films first and settle down with the things I’ve learned and truly imbibe them before my next outing.
But if the opportunity comes, who am I to say no?
This is a dream come true. All of a sudden, all the hardship makes sense. This is why I came back to Manila.
Open will be out early next year. Please wait for it.