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Hi, I'm the director and writer of "Igme and Gani" from Ph. Let's converse!

1 - Tell us a bit about yourself and your team!

I grew up in a family of five where us three siblings are all girls. In my works, I always try to show the female experience and give it both a materialist and spiritual approach. My team were composed of really talented collaborators I met when I was studying in UP Film. They met with my family during the process and became like extended family to me. Chesca Espiritu was my cinematographer; CJ Catalon, my production designer; Noah Loyola, my editor; and Nonilon Abao and Bam Manlongat, my producers. But aside from them, there's a whole bunch of them to thank for their time and effort, and for pulling off such a great job before, during, and after the shoot.

2 - What is the inspiration behind this short film? Feel free to elaborate!

For me, inspiration is not that hard to find because as the saying goes, "reality is stranger than fiction." There's just so many stories everywhere, and there are also a vast number of stories when we look inside ourselves. But for me, the challenge was picking this particular inspiration. I once got lost in a dangerous part of Manila near the Smokey Mountain, which was used as a dump site. It's the kind of place where killings and kidnappings are rampant. It was pretty hopeless for me getting out of those winding streets, but these two children left their playmates to accompany me. They were like my angels. They really rescued me. I gave them toys that I was supposed to drop off in a charity center, which was my real purpose why I was there. Then they started to tell me their stories, and the story of the girl was particularly heartbreaking for me. Initially, I didn't even realize she was a girl because she was bald and shirtless. I also gave her the extra shirt I brought along with me. I watched her and her friend hold hands while walking and I felt inspired to tell the story of their friendship. I knew I couldn't turn my back to their story even though I have a couple of other stories that I could make into a film.

3 - Could you share with us what your main challenges were in putting this together, and how did you overcome them? Feel free to elaborate!

There were a lot of challenges during making the film. The first was polishing the script because for me, I first have to find my cast and location before I can finalise the script. I was blessed enough to find the location easily because I vacationed in that place when I was a child and had a vivid memory of it. All I had to do was ask my aunt to accompany me back to that place, and she did. But the perfect cast was so difficult to find. It took us several auditions. In the end, I had to go to Quezon Province just to follow my instincts about this girl who sent me an audition tape. And she became Igme. I found Gani two days before the shoot through the help of so many people I bothered and contacted. It was like a race. But all the trouble was worthy because I didn't find them hard to direct even though they were only kids. Another challenge was that there were a lot of day scenes in my script and only a few night scenes. Me and my producers decided that we have to fit the shooting into two days because that was what our budget allowed us. So during the shoot, me and my crew were always chasing the sun! Hoping it won't set on us. Thankfully, it didn't!

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