It took 30 years for him to be recognized but Jaime “Jim” Pebanco didn’t mind.
“I didn’t expect it,” said Jim when he won the Best Supporting Actor Balanghai award at the recent 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival’s Directors Showcase Category for his performance as Haddic, an illiterate Tausug whose son has joined the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul, directed by Joel Lamangan (Jim’s mentor-friend), which also won the Audience’s Choice Award and Best Film for Children Award.
“I was at the awards night with the Patikul team to support direk Joel,” added Jim, “and when my name was called, I think I froze on my seat before I could react. I wanted to cry but I was embarrassed to do it.”
Jim is the kind of character actor remembered more for his roles than for his name. When you see him on screen, the first question that pops in your mind is, “Ano na nga ang name niya?”
And yet, Jim has been around for three decades.
He started as a stage actor in 1981 when he first auditioned to be one of the chorus boys in the musical Maynila staged at the Metropolitan Theater and then for Ready Na ‘Ko, Direk!, another musical at the Philamlife Auditorium in which Jim played multiple roles.
In the summer of 1992, Jim got a scholarship for theater workshop with Bulwagang Gantimpala of the CCP.
“My first non-musical straight play was Sipnget with Bella Flores,” volunteered Jim who also did plays for PETA.
Among his favorite roles and films: Ikaw (as the boatman-brother of Ariel Rivera), Pangako ng Kahapon (as an abaca farmer-brother of Ian de Leon), Warat (as a pedophile), Bulaklak ng Maynila (as a sidewalk vendor), Kadre (as an NPA dissident), Mister Mo Lover Boy Ko (as a macho gay), Mila (as a closet gay teacher), Deathrow (as a tough gay inmate), Fuchsia (as a poor peasant farmer), Aishite Imasu (as a World War II transvestite), Heavenly Touch (as a flamboyant massage-parlor manager), Dukot (as a victim of human-rights violation), Sigwa (as a victim of Martial Law atrocities), Deadline: The Reign of Impunity (as a dedicated provincial publisher) and, of course, Patikul.
In Patikul, Jim was cited by the jurors for his “subtle nuances.”
“I studied the Tausug dialect as part of my preparation for the role,” said Jim, “especially the accent and the delivery. Before and after every take, I would pray. I would listen to and observe my co-stars. In my 30 years in the business, this attitude has worked well for me and got me good results.”
Like Dukot and Sigwa, Patikul and Deadline will be screened in various campuses nationwide and other countries.
Jim is in the cast of the GMA sine-novela Pahiram ng Isang Ina, directed by Lamangan, in which he plays a kind-hearted driver.
Boholano neophyte actors cast in Amigo
They say that it’s all in Bohol scenic spots, old churches, the tarsier, perfect sets for movies and, that’s it, good actors (led by Cesar Montano).
The latest film to be shot in Bohol is Amigo by acclaimed writer/director John Sayles. The film is a fictional, dramatic account of events on the island of Luzon during the Philippine-American War.
“Amigo was screened at a premiere last Feb. 9 at the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran,” reported Funfare’s Bohol contributor Leo Udtohan. “According to the organizers, they planned to launch Amigo Lakbay which will screen the movie in various places.”
The movie stars Chris Cooper, Garret Dillahunt and DJ Qualls, together with veteran Filipino actors Joel Torre, Rio Locsin, Irma Adlawan, Bembol Roco, Pen Medina, John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro and Bodjie Pascua. Being introduced are 80 Boholano talents who play villagers or guerrillas.
Said Leo, “There are at least six supporting roles played by Bol-anon talents but sadly not included in the movie’s supposedly ‘full’ cast listing in IMDB. They are: James Obenza of Punta Cruz, Maribojoc, playing Joaquinito, son of village headman Rafael played by Joel Torre; Lady Jane Rellita of Toril, Maribojoc, playing Azalea, the love interest of a young American soldier (Dane de Haan); John Philip Jagunos of Antequera, playing Eloy, a young insurrecto; Raymart Colestines of Guiwanon, Maribojoc playing Mapulgas, the friar’s young assistant/sacristan; Lourdes Pampilo of Agahay, Maribojoc playing La Caida, the lover of the Spanish Captain Narvaez (Miguel Faustmann); and Felipa Moncano playing Mrs. Pandoc, sickly mother of La Caida who is carried in a hammock in the movie.”
Set in Luzon but shot entirely in Bohol, Amigo shows natural and heritage sites in Bohol, including the forests and the rivers views of the interior villages of Toril and Maribojoc, the Clarin ancestral house in Loay, the Basdacu Cave in Loon, scenic fields in Corella, a part of the San Agustin Church in Panglao and a hanging bridge in Antequera.
Bohol was the favorite location of FPJ for his movies (Esteban in 1973 and Aguila in 1979). Same with Cesar Montano who shot his films (which he produced and starred in) around the province, notably Muro-Ami (1999) and Panaghoy Sa Suba (2004). Other made-in-Bohol films: Lagablab sa Maribojoc (1964), Puri (1984), Loveboat (1980s), Tigershark (1987), Close to You (2006) and Nandito Ako Nagmamahal Sa ‘Yo (2009). Some scenes of the 2005 ABS-CBN series Panday TV series were also shot in Bohol.
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