The spectacular poster for the new drama “Broken Marriage Vow” is reaping accolades left and right from netizens. “The poster ate and left no crumbs,” said a fan on Twitter. “Surpassed all international edition posters even the OG itself,” said another.
Released Tuesday by ABS-CBN and Dreamscape Entertainment, the much-talked-about poster is dominated by a photo of series lead actress Jodi Santamaria in character (she plays Dr. Jill Ilustre who finds out her husband has a mistress). The picture is artfully shattered, however, to make way for the faces of her co-stars Zanjoe Marudo, Sue Ramirez, and Zaijan Jaranilla who play the doctor’s husband, nemesis, and son respectively.
The man who, as one tweet mentioned, deserves a raise for the poster design is Justin Besana, easily the most prolific poster artist in town. Besana has been designing posters for a while now, most significantly for the restored and remastered movies released by the ABS-CBN Film Restoration group, among them “Karnal,” “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising,” “Misteryo Sa Tuwa,” and Gerry De Leon’s “Banaue.” His first movie poster design, however, was for the comedy “Praybeyt Benjamin.” Over the years, Besana has done memorable posters for acclaimed independent productions as well, like “Kalel, 15” and “John Denver Trending,” as well as hit projects like “Kita Kita” and “Die Beautiful.”
For the “Broken Marriage Vow” poster, Besana prepared a few studies while working on available publicity materials—but he knew there was something missing. “Yung intensity siguro na I’m looking for wala pa— maybe hindi pa kasi totally immersed ang mga artista when they did the pictorial?” he says. Eager to exhaust all possible sources, he requested for stills from the production.
“As soon as nakita ko yung shot ni Jodi na nakaharap sa camera with a powerful expression— menacing—sabi ko hindi pwedeng hindi ko gawan ito ng concept,” offers the artist. The image is taken from the party scene where Dr. Jill finds out her husband is cheating on her.
“In terms of concept, bumalik ako sa grassroots ng adaptation [the series is based on the British “Doctor Foster” which has sired a few adaptations including the highly successful “A World of Married Couple”]. Yung posters ng international counterparts may basag na salamin and blood— [I thought] why not use it for the continuity ng brand ng mismong series?” says the young graphic designer.
And then he thought about a unique element in the local series he can use to distinguish his poster from the rest. “Ahhh, yung thorns!,” he says, recalling the lightbulb moment. “Ang powerful din nga ng symbolism ng rose sa series kasi it represents their marriage — which is both beautiful and deadly.” The red palette represents romance and revenge, and the green is borrowed from the BBC poster, although the palette also has something to do with the colors of Baguio where the series is set.
For Besana, a great poster is the coming together of the movie’s story, a marketing directive, and art. “It’s always a collaborative process between the storytellers, the marketing team, and me, the poster artist,” he once told CNN.
Back in 2018, we asked the young artist what are his top 5 GOAT movie posters, and his answers reveal his influences as well as give a glimpse at his process.
1 127 Hours, 2010
One of my biggest influences and for me one of the most brilliantly executed posters in recent years. The color, hourglass form and silhouette of the struggling James Franco were cleverly composed to visually narrate the story. It’s so effective that it doesn’t need an actor’s face to market the film. I’ve been a big fan of negative space since I saw this.
2 Thor: Ragnarok, 2017
Colorgasmic and hypnotizing. I was really in awe when I first saw the “Thor: Ragnarok” poster. The well-balanced and refreshing treatment made it not your usual Marvel movie poster.
3 Little Miss Sunshine, 2006
The striking yellow palette pretty much communicates the title. More than that, I love how the scene and its simplicity made it more eye-catching. It succeeded in conveying the story and genre. Iconic.
4 Ratatouille, 2007
I am a huge Pixar fan and I consider this as one of their best posters. If you notice, I use perspective in my posters most of the time and this actually played a big part. Perspective helped me a lot in my compositions as it became my go-to solution to create focus, direction, and visual weight.
5 The Conjuring, 2013
To end my list, I want to include a poster from my favorite genre: horror. I think this poster somehow learned a lot from “The Exorcist.” You just need a good setting to perfectly create a fright-inducing atmosphere. It’s noteworthy that it uses a daylight instead of a night setting. Being in an industry where blood and creepy images are essential to market a horror movie this is actually inspiring.