By Anya Santos
MANILA, Philippines - Mainstream actor Jake Cuenca has proven he has the acting chops in his participation in Neal Tan’s indie movie “H.I.V. (Si Heide, Si Ivy at Si V).”
Tan, together with producer Donna M. Sanchez, was the force behind the Rafael Rosell starrer, “Tulak,” an advocacy movie Tan also directed, which centered on the ill effects of using and pushing drugs. “H.I.V.” on the other hand, is another advocacy movie about HIV and AIDS in the Philippines.
Cuenca reportedly immediately snatched the opportunity to be in the movie as soon as he got the script.
"Ito ang kauna-unahang indie movie na ginawa ni Jake Cuenca, and according to him, marami siyang natutunan sa paggawa ng indie," Tan tells PEP via email. "Hindi na daw pera ang pinag-uusapan dito, at na-feel daw niya na wala nang mas mahalaga pa kaysa makagawa ng isang makabuluhang pelikula," Tan continued.
He also commended Cuenca for his willingness to go deeper as an actor, which ispired Cuenca in turn to value his profession more. Cuenca also reportedly told his director that this movie had been the most challenging of his career so far.
According to Tan, he saw Cuenca’s efforts during production, saying his actor would always come to the set early and ready for his scenes. Comparing this work ethic to Fanny Serrano’s, with whom he also worked in another indie movie, “Tarima,” Tan also told PEP, "Tulad ni Fanny Serrano, isa sa mga dakilang artistang nagbibigay ng inspirasyon sa mga tulad kong direktor upang mas pagbutihin pa ang kanilang trabaho, dahilan upang makagawa ng isang matatawag na obra."
Aside from Cuenca on a major role, “H.I.V.” also stars Iza Calzado, Candy Pangilinan, IC Mendoza, at Precious Lara. Support cast includes Will Devaugn, Jao Mapa, Mara Lopez, Azenith Briones, Orestes Ojeda, Abby Cruz, Liz Alindogan, Jess Sanchez and Rustica Carpio.
The script reportedly came together during a screening for “Tulak” in Bacolod. According to Tan, the school officials brought to his attention the need to inform students about the killer disease, most of whom had no clue what it is. Since then, Sanchez and Tan were able to touch base with Wanggo Gallaga, the son of director Peque Gallaga. The younger Gallaga, who is a wirter and editor at Chalk magazine, is said to be HIV-positive and he has helped complete the script, PEP reported.
As per Tan, their target playdate for “H.I.V.” is December, on World AIDS Day itself.