Star Cinema on distribution streak for 20th anniversary
MANILA -- Good news for those who missed "Ekstra" during its limited Cinemalaya run: the Jeffrey Jeturian film which stars showbiz veteran Vilma Santos as a committed bit player will hit theaters nationwide next week.
The independent film debut of the award-winning actress will be released by ABS-CBN's film production outfit, Star Cinema, on August 14 -- a little over a week after it bagged several awards at the 9th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival.
"Ekstra," which competed in the Director's Showcase category, won Best Screenplay for Jeturian, Zig Dulay and Antoinette Jadaone; and Best Actress for Santos. It also won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Choice award.
As Loida Malabanan, Santos portrays a professional TV and film "extra" who opts to withstand harsh conditions to fulfill her passion.
Its premiere screening at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) in Pasay City had a particularly warm reception, which Santos referred to as overwhelming.
The Batangas governor added the response encouraged her to further her involvement in independent films, either as an actress or a producer.
For its Cinemalaya run, "Ekstra" was shown in cinemas at the CCP, TriNoma in Quezon City, Greenbelt 3 in Makati City, and Alabang Town Center in Muntinlupa City.
Addressing the limited number of screenings for the annual film festival, Cinemalaya Foundation chairperson Tonyboy Cojuangco has said he is looking to expand the availability of the competing films by taking on a "businessman's approach" starting next year.
Before "Ekstra," another Cinemalaya entry, "Ang Babae sa Septic Tank," was released nationwide in 2011 by Star Cinema. The acclaimed dark comedy by Marlon Rivera is said to be the highest grossing independent film in the Philippines, after its nationwide distribution.
ABS-CBN's film arm is likewise set to distribute three other films as part of its 20th anniversary, in addition to its own productions set for release this year.
Star Cinema will release the Heaven's Best Entertainment production, "Raketeros," on Wednesday, August 7. The Randy Santiago-directed comedy film stars Herbert Bautista, Andrew E., Long Mejia, Dennis Padilla and Ogie Alcasid.
The Thai horror-comedy film, "Pee Mak," meanwhile, will open on August 28 in Philippine theaters. Said to be the all-time highest grossing film in Thailand, it stars heartthrob actor Mario Maurer in the title role.
Also set for release by Star Cinema is the Onat Diaz action-comedy film "Kung Fu Divas." The film is a co-production among the Kapamilya film arm, Reality Entertainment and The O & Co. Picture Factory. Ai Ai delas Alas and Marian Rivera star.