The directorial debut of actor Xian Lim went full force last night, August 7, when his first full-length movie Tabon premiered at the Cinemalaya Film Festival in the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City.
The crime-thriller follows Ian (Christopher Roxas), who visits his childhood hometown to arrange a funeral for his father (Menggie Cobarrubias), a well-respected faith healer in the community, who was murdered, according to the Chief Inspector (Richard Manabat) who called him one early morning. Series of bizarre events moved Ian to discover more about his father’s death, including asking the three suspects detained in a secret safe house of their own versions of how the man, who is known as Amang, really died.
Before the gala premiere, a press interview of the cast, consisting of Roxas, Manabat, Ynna Asistio, Bapbap Reyes, Lao Rodriguez, and Dexter Doria, was held backstage. All were asked how Xian was as a first-time director. Rodriguez said Xian was very open to criticism, and the gap of communication between him and the cast was very little because of his background as an actor.
“Kasi Xian is an actor so, in terms of communication, mas madali sa kanya to communicate with us what he wants,” Rodriguez explained. “As a director, very open siya sa critique. That’s what I observed. I’m very happy for Xian. I’m very very happy para sa project na ito for Xian. Nasasabi naman niya kung ano gusto niya mangyari. At the end of the day, ‘yun lang naman ang kailangan namin as actors.”
On the other hand, lead star Roxas liked how the actor-director knows that he is new in the field of directing and knows when he makes mistakes
“Maganda sa kanya, alam niya sa sarili niya na hindi siya tama parati,” Roxas said. “Nag-se-seek din siya ng advice minsan, lalo na sa mga lines. Alam niyo naman. Inglishero. Partikular siya sa mga lines. [...] Open naman siya sa suggestions. Sobrang free kami sa lahat.”
Leading lady Asistio admired how the actor also asks help from the cast to make the independent film a success.
“Naging open talaga siya sa suggestions,” she recalled. “At the same time, humingi rin siya ng tulong sa amin to make this film great.”
Manabat, who played the Chief Inspector, appreciated how the cast and crew had a rapport with each other, which he believed helped Xian in his directorial debut.
“Nagkaroon ng samahan between the production and actors,” he revealed. “Nag-jive doon tapos nakatulong din kay Xian na lahat kami, tumutulong sa kanya. Automatic, nagbibigay kami ng suggestions. Kasi alam naman natin na neophyte siya, diba? Sabi ko, tulungan natin siya.”
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