“When I made it, I just wanted to do it for the sake of doing it, as part of my learning process,” Diane Ventura, director of The Rapist, revealed. Despite her modest aims, however, her film—a no-frills, pseudo-psychological whodunit vignette which stars veteran Filipino character actress Cherie Gil and newcomer Marco Morales in the lead—got nods from the International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) in 2012, making it to the Most Popular Films and Best Short Film lists, holding its own alongside 42 other shorts from a host of different countries.
“It was actually an accident how [The Rapist] got in. It was practically a shelved project,” Ventura reiterated, evidently astounded at the fortunate turn her project has taken.
But a good thing, they say, deserves a reprise. After its successful exhibition in New York, a good year after the fact, The Rapist will now be enjoyed online exclusively via Viddsee, a Singapore-based online media platform with a growing catalogue of award-winning shorts from filmmakers in the region. It will premiere on December 6 and will be the site’s featured film for the entire month. “I connected with [Viddsee] in that we were all passionate about film,” the filmmaker said. Filmmaker-engineers Ho Jia Jian and Derek Tan, the people at the helm of the company, are in fact accomplished directors themselves.
Despite Diane’s relative youth in filmmaking, though, she is no stranger in the entertainment world. Her production outfit, DVent, is heavily involved in concert, music, and independent video production. Perhaps her biggest laurel, however, is executive-producing a string of sold-out arena shows in the US, Canada, Dubai and Singapore featuring the Philippines’ top rock act, the Eraserheads. The shows were massively well-received, and even bested some international acts in attendance numbers. More recently, the music video she co-produced of “20/20,” a tune by acclaimed Filipino rock act Pupil, won Best Music Video in the Global Style Music Videos/Shorts category in this year’s IFFM.
It was high time, then, for further growth. “I kept directing at bay because I became preoccupied with the business aspect of things. I studied all aspects of filmmaking here [in New York]: scriptwriting, cinematography, acting, digital filmmaking, and directing. I figured, why not put all the things I studied into action?” Ventura cracked a smile.
This early, work on at least two new films has already started. Her next short will explore “psychosis, hypnosis, altered states of consciousness, [and]perception,” and will star prominent Filipino talents. Her first full-length feature, meanwhile, will have her working with local New York talents (scriptwriter, producer, and art director), and will zero in on “overcoming tragedies in your life while resorting to addiction.” In both films, Ventura [who counts David Fincher and Alfred Hitchcock among her personal icons]is studied but spontaneous—embracing whim over outline, circumstance over sheer craft. “I like to balance strategic planning with carefree spontaneity,” the young director shared.
The Rapist is poised to be a great addition to the already-stellar Viddsee roster of over 200 Southeast Asian titles, which includes fellow award-winners 3 Days Grace by Kenny Tan and BREAK by Ray Pang, as well as works by Yasmin Ahmad, Anthony Chen, and more. TheRapist will premiere on Viddsee on December 6, 2013, and, as earlier mentioned, will be the site’s featured film for the entire month, a first for the site.
Log on to https://www.viddsee.com/.