Blood Hunters, a film written, produced and directed by Filipino filmmaker and martial arts action star Vincent Soberano won the Best Short Film award at the Cinemax HBO Action Film Competition and the Urban Action Showcase & Expo in New York City.
His triumph sets the stage of a new era of Filipino action films penetrating the international market. As Soberano said in an interview following the awards night, “My main motivation in doing Blood Hunters is to promote Filipino martial arts in Filipino movies to international audiences. They’ve used Filipino martial arts in blockbuster action films like John Wick, Jason Bourne, Frankenstein, and a huge list of other films. But no one knows it’s Filipino because its’ always portrayed by Hollywood stars. It’s about time we change that.”
With Blood Hunters Soberano started his quest to make Filipino martial arts action films with the quality and finesse that can compete on the international stage.
In a nutshell, the short film tells the story of a rugged band of demon hunters who capture an aswang queen to extract her blood, which is known to bring the dead back to life. When greed and betrayal gets in the way, mayhem ensues between the hunters. The aswang escapes to face off with them in a final, action-packed showdown.
“Martial arts is my passion,” Soberano enthused. “And winning a best picture award for a martial arts film that I made is like winning a world title.”
Besides this short film, Soberano has made two other action films this year. The latest one is the full-length version of the short film starring martial arts legend Monsour Del Rosario in his return to a leading role on the silver screen.
Soberano will also star alongside Del Rosario, supported by a cast of real Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) masters and experts. This project is due for release in 2017.
“Monsour and I, we want to inspire the young men and boys of the country to build a strong character and fighting spirit, and this can happen if they involve themselves in martials arts. In the movies I create, I portray Filipinos as powerful and formidable warriors.”
He continued, “The action sequences are so unique and have never been seen in action cinema before, this is a big factor in the success of film – that and the introduction of ancient Filipino folklore and superstitions, with characters such as the aswang, dwende, kapre, multo, and diwata. A cultural, martial arts, fantasy action film is always a great combination if done right. This is the perfect blend that we want to achieve.”
Notably, Soberano is a former Muay Thai world champion with multiple championship belts who also coaches several fighters in the UFC. Now he is mainly dedicated to representing martial arts in movies. He has recently worked on notable projects such as Jackie Chan’s Police Story 2013 and the UFC’s Ultimate Fighter (China)—Season One reality TV show. Soberano studied film and television arts at San Diego State University, California and currently owns IndieGo Pictures Entertainment, an independent film company based in Beijing, China
All the positive public feedback that his latest martial arts film has received serve as a motivation for m Soberano actively work on the renaissance of action films.
He enthused, “This is a new era. Filipinos are eager to see a change in Filipino cinema, particularly with a revival of the martial arts action genre. There have been thousands of positive feedbacks regarding this project as the Filipino public is clamoring for a new generation of action films.”