Filmmaking is about taking risks, says Erik Matti, writer and director of the biggest horror adventure of 2012, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. What else would you call the movie’s astronomical budget, the decision to shoot it entirely on green screen and have a bad boy character as the film’s main protagonist?
The concept immediately appealed to lead actor Dingdong Dantes who is playing against type in this project. “Collaborating with Erik Matti and executive producer Dondon Monteverde allowed me to break out of the stereotype of my roles on TV and in the movies.”
Dingdong plays Makoy, a devil-may-care guy who finds himself trapped in a situation that no person in his right mind would wish upon himself. When he comes to the province to reconcile with his estranged girlfriend Sonia (Lovi Poe), who is heavy with their firstborn, Dingdong’s character must device a way to keep his loved ones from safe and alive from an army of aswangs. “It is such an ambitious project and I am happy that I accepted it,” shares Lovi.
LJ Reyes who won raves as the town whore in this year’s Cinemalaya entry Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino, takes on the role of an aswang in Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles. “Direk Erik is a very brilliant director. He has an amazing mind. And very funny, too. The set never felt like a workplace.”
From the get-go, the concept was clear-headed. Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles was designed as a siege film. “It was about a group of people with their own dynamics, trapped in one setting with the danger constantly hounding them outside of that setting,” shares Direk Erik.
A co-production venture of Reality Entertainment, Agostodos Pictures, Reality Entertainment’s sister companies and post-production arms PostManila and Mothership, and GMA Films, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles was not an easy endeavor to undertake.
“We were challenged because the movie was going to be shot entirely on green screen, the first time it’s being done in the Philippines,” says Dondon Monteverde.
Post-production work proved to be tougher. Monteverde says that they made the right decision to bide their time. “We wanted to make sure that we did things right especially in post production. We thought that the hard part of it was during the principal shoot but we realized that the post production stage was even harder because of the complexity we put in CG (computer graphics) and in the grading stage of the film.”
The makers of Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles also insisted on giving the aswang experience a completely Pinoy flavor. Relates Dave Yu, visual effects director: “We wanted a different take on the aswang designs and stay away from what has been done before especially in Western movies. We don’t want our creatures to look like werewolves or vampires.”
The film’s production designer Peter Collias who has worked on Hollywood productions like The Matrix, Moulin Rouge, Dark City, 10,000 BC and Ghost Rider believes that everyone involved in this landmark horror movie deserves a pat on the back. “We have fused great live action in a beautifully fabricated environment. We have managed to create strange and wonderful backdrops for the story to take place in. I also feel the relentless attention to detail regarding the modeling, texture and animating of the creatures will set a new benchmark for monsters design in the Philippines.”
All things considered, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles strengthens the long-held belief in the ingenuity and creativeness of Filipino artists.
“The effort of creating a digital world from scratch, the amazing creatures and the cohesion between live animation and CG will set this film apart from others of its kind.”
Go see Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles when it opens in a theater near you on October 17. For more information on the movie, check out its website at www.theaswangchronicles.com, Facebook.com/the aswangchronicles, twitter.com/TIKTIKOct17