Ai Ai up against Robert Redford’s daughter in acting derby



Young director’s penchant for horror ‘Pwera Usog’

When Ai Ai Delas Alas learned from producer Ferdinand Lapuz that their film Area is competing at the Queens World Film Festival from March 14 to 19; and more importantly that she is nominated as Best Female Actor In A Narrative Feature, she wasted no time in checking out the other contenders for the category.

Nominated for her effective portrayal of an aging prostitute, Area is produced by BG Productions and directed by Louie Ignacio, who is also nominated as Best Director For Narrative Feature.

Ai-Ai was overwhelmed to find out that she is up against Hollywood icon Robert Redford’s daughter Amy Redford (Hate Crime) for Best Female Actor, along with Karin Hancwewsk (Lotte) of Germany, and Dorothea Hagena (Mann in Spagat-Pace) also of Germany.

“Go Direk! Wohoo! Kahit yung isang kalaban eh anak ni Robert Redford. Good luck saken haha! @Louie Ignacio,” she posted on her Facebook account.

The Queens World Film Festival is one of four US film festivals that Area has joined. The movie has already won the Special Jury Prize at the 2016 Eurasia International Film Festival in Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, award-winning director Jason Paul Laxamana (Magkakabaung, Babagwa, Mercury Is Mine) is set to release his new movie titled Pwera Usog on March 8 under Regal Entertainment. The movie features the new tandem of Sofia Andres and Joseph Marco.

After doing the rom-coms Love Is Blind and The Third Party, Laxamana tries his hand in horror for which he said he has a knack.

“Yes, this is something new for me,” said Direk Jason in handling a horror film. “But I love scaring people in real life and I am happy to be given the chance to do a horror film so I can see if I can translate my penchant for scaring people into a movie.”

Ai-Ai delas Alas in a scene from ‘Area’

Most of the time his mother becomes the victim of his scary tactics. “I would hide behind the curtain and then I would scare her. I don’t know why I do that but I enjoy it.”

While he admits he loves scaring people and horror movies fascinate him, Direk Jason confesses, “Matatakutin ako.”

He said he can’t sleep alone in a room, when the lights are off, or if the room is very silent.

“I have to play music or the TV has to be on. I can’t help but be scared so I am also wondering why I am fascinated with horror. Being scared easily is one of my weaknesses.”

His favorite horror film is the original version of The Ring.

“I am not too scared of the other horror movies but when I saw The Ring, I really couldn’t get it off my mind. I couldn’t sleep for three weeks and I was afraid once dusk set in. The Ring was one film that defined horror for me.”

Triggered by his own playful imagination, it took some time for him to overcome his fear from the movie.

He then got an offer from Roselle Monteverde to do a film based on the concept of a popular catchphrase especially in the provinces.

“In my research, pag nahihilo ang isang tao pag nausog siya, pag nilawayan na, nawawala na. Gagaling na siya. So I had to elevate it into something scarier. I learned na pwede pala mausog ng ibang elements like laman-lupa or multo. That was what I used in the movie.”

Did he have a hand in the casting of the lead stars?

“I am really not that picky when I cast stars in my movie. You can give me anybody and I will work with them. I find it more challenging that way. Of course, the physical look like the character played by Devon Seron in the movie is also important. I wanted one who is kayumanggi,” he said.

He is excited to work with Sofia Andres whom he already encountered in an audition for a Star Cinema movie, which did not push through. “She’s good. I saw her debut movie Relax, It’s Just Pag-ibig and for a newcomer, she did very well. She has confidence in her acting and she is capable as an actress.”

Direk Jason gets ample support from the mother-daughter tandem of Lily and Roselle Monteverde in his initial venture into writing and directing a horror film.

Pwera Usog also stars Albie Casiño, Kiko Estrada, Cherise Castro with Eula Valdez, Aiko Melendez, and Rommel Padilla.


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