Ina-Tay: Q & A with Chloe Veloso

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photo by Samantha Fe Monet Solidum

   Chloe Veloso is a female filmmaker who has powerful vision. Her films truly stand out amongst the many. When I first met her in the 6th Cinema Rehiyon last February, I easily notice her badass, tough looking style. Born in Taclabon City and now base in Cebu City, she is one of the emerging filmmakers that have this unique style and technique in filmmaking. 

   She took up BS Computer Science at the University of the Philippines in Cebu City. She is the founder of Amateur Creative Thespians of UP (ACT-UP), an avant-garde theater and film organization in UP Cebu. She is now currently taking her Masters in Cinema Studies at the University of San Carlos. Her films were screened in various film festivals in the country. Her recent film Ina-Tay is one of the finalists in the 2014 Cinemalaya Short Film Category.

   In an interview, she shares her thoughts about being a filmmaker and the concept behind her recent film Ina-Tay.


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IGUOI FILMS: What’s your history as a filmmaker?

CHLOE: I already had acting and directing experience in theater back in elementary and high school. The first video project I was part of was when our film/theater organization in UP called the Amateur Creative Thespians of UP (ACT-UP) was tasked to make the opening AVP (Audio Visual Presentation) for the Cookout last 2004. Originally, ACT-UP was supposed to focus only in theater but after that AVP project, we found the experience fun and exciting so we decided to do both film and theater. And the rest is history.


IGUOI FILMS: Where did your idea for Ina-Tay’s plot come from?

CHLOE: “Ina-Tay” was written by Badidi Labra, one of the lead actors in the film. I also contributed in the development of the story. It’s actually inspired by Dolphy’s film “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay”, “Anak” and other famous family dramas.


IGUOI FILMS: Can you tell me the challenges that you and your crew encountered during the shooting of the film.

CHLOE: Our main challenge was the budget. We had to work with a large cast and crew and it was challenging to feed them in our 4 days of shooting. But thankfully the cast members were good friends of ACT-UP so we didn’t have to worry about talent fees because they offered to act for free.


IGUOI FILMS: Any interesting remarks from the audience members during the film screening?

CHLOE:The audience would unanimously comment on how entertaining our film is and how professional the film looked. But the biggest reward we would usually get is when the audience would laugh at the right moments where we’d expect them to laugh.


IGUOI FILMS: What did you learn from this project?

CHLOE: We learned a lot of things during this production. We made some mistakes and we vowed never to commit those mistakes again.



IGUOI FILMS: Most of your films that I have seen have this gay element. What’s your view about homosexuality? What motivates you to include this subject in your films?

CHLOE: First of all, not all of my films have gay elements (laughs). I also do other film genres. But LGBT Rights is one of my main advocacies which is why I made several films with LGBT themes. The reason is because I noticed that the LGBT community has limited representation or fall under a negative stereotype in films and we want to change that. It is our way of educating the masses about the diversity of the LGBT community and help stop homophobia.


IGUOI FILMS: Ina-Tay is one of the finalists in the 2014 Cinemalaya Film Festival-Short Film Category. What’s your feeling after you’ve known this good news?

CHLOE: Ecstatic! We didn’t expect our film to be one of the finalists considering the high standards of Cinemalaya. We’re also honored to be one of the two entries to represent Cebu.


IGUOI FILMS: Is being a female filmmaker an advantageous or disadvantageous? What’s your outlook on this matter?

CHLOE: The disadvantage is that since filmmaking is a male dominated industry, people tend to underestimate you. But the advantage is that if you actually accomplish something worthwhile people respect you more for reaching that level.


IGUOI FILMS: You are the founder of ACT-UP, a filmmakers group in U.P Cebu. Can you please tell more about this organization?

CHLOE: The Amateur Creative Thespians of the University of the Philippines (ACT-UP) is an avant-garde theater and film organization based and founded in Cebu.

ACT-UP is a cultural organization which promotes artistic self-expression among amateur film and theater enthusiasts in UP Cebu.

Through creative and resourceful means, the organization endeavors to use the performance arts as a medium for social awareness.

From the seemingly mundane, to the intensely serious, to the outrageous and wacky, the organization explores a multiplicity of views and concepts...all of which are bound by the group’s single principle of thinking "out of the box".


IGUOI FILMS: What’s your dream film project?

CHLOE: My dream project would have to be a period fantasy film with epic proportions!


IGUOI FILMS: What’s your favorite camera for shooting?

CHLOE: I’m not too keen on the type or brand of camera being used for shooting. I always focus first on the story. Technicalities like camera and software used are just secondary for me. But if you want to know the camera I have presently, unlike most filmmakers who are Canonites or Nikonites, I’m a Sonyan with my trusty Sony A77.


IGUOI FILMS: What’s your advice for those who want to make their own films?

CHLOE: First, don’t be discouraged if you don’t own a high-end camera. It’s not the camera that makes a good movie, it’s the story. The camera is just a tool in your storytelling. You can make a masterpiece in one minute with a camera phone as long as you have a powerful narrative. Second, expand your film literacy and watch a lot of films from different eras and genres. Learn from the master directors then develop your own style. Lastly, practice and shoot like there’s no tomorrow!


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SYNOPSIS: 
A beautician named Elvis (also known as Elvira) finds out one day that he has fathered a bouncing baby boy and is left with the challenge of single parenthood. A lighthearted take on the Cebuano LGBT culture that fuses comedy and melodrama, to show that an independently-produced gay film doesn’t always have to be about discrimination and oppression.

CAST: 
Albert Chan Paran as Elvis/Elvira
Badidi Labra as Angelo/Angela
Peewee Senining as Pepsi
Van Oscar as Strawberry
Carl Balderama and Vienna Fortalejo as The Immortal Gays 
Peter Romanillos as Adonis
Jonna Mahinay as Shirley
Josh Karol Abiera as Melissa
Cham2x Sobrevilla as Young Angelo
Zeev Corpin as Baby Angelo

PRODUCTION STAFF:
Director: Chloe Veloso
Writer: Badidi Labra
Production Company: Amateur Creative Thespians of UP (ACT-UP)
Producers: Robert and Marilou Solidum / Diego and Yonkie Veloso / Erlinda Tan
Cinematographers: Chloe Veloso and Samantha Solidum
Editor: Samantha Solidum
Sound: John Diño
Creative Consultant: Diem Judilla
Script Continuity: Bin Espina, Pia Aguilos / Threyna Diaz / Dane Figuracion
Costume Designer: Peewee Senining 
Make-up Artist: Rocelle Cadavos

CREW: Rapi Sescon, Bugz Saavedra, Regil Cadavos, Tom Jopson, Ivo Monterde, Thomas Solidum, Wessui Bacareza, Mia Bultron, John Mark Maglana, Jassy Tomol, Grace Orejudo, Joshua Aquino, Feonna Tejada, Bianca Macapagal, Shaira Escuzar, Bayani Acebedo, Oyo dela Paz






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