Saturday, August 09, 2008

The ECHO - The SIGAW Remake

By Reymundo Salao

Some years ago (2004 actually), I watched this Pinoy horror movie entitled “SIGAW” which proved me wrong about Pinoy horror movies. This movie was so good, so creepy, so original, that it got international attention; a special award from the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, a festival trophy from the Screamfest Horror Film Festival, Los Angeles, California, USA, (and numerous other awards) and it was picked up for a Hollywood remake, with the director himself Yam Laranas onboard (and actress Iza Calzado who will also be among the Hollywood cast). Yam Laranas is one of the very few Pinoy mainstream filmmakers who really have genuine filmmaking talent, it seems that everybody else in the Tagalog movie scene who have talent in filmmaking are either retired, into indie filmmaking, or obviously are simply just never hired by the reigning big production companies of the country. Everybody else on the mainstream scene (from writers, to directors, to producers) seem to be talentless hacks who follow very unprofessional very gay instincts in making films (either make a movie around a current showbiz gossip or ripping off Hollywood ideas, just like the A-holes who make those big budgeted sci-fi-fantasy ignorant films shown in the Metro Manila Film Fest).

SIGAW, which is retitled in its international release as The ECHO (title translation intentionally altered to avoid confusion with the US horror film “Scream”) was picked up by Vertigo Entertainment, acquired the rights from Regal Entertainment. Vertigo previously was behind successful remakes including "The Ring", "The Grudge", and "The Departed". Vertigo's Roy Lee and Doug Davison with Shintaro Shimosawa and Tyler Mitchell are the producers of The ECHO. The $5 million budget is fully financed by Robert Hoff, a leading venture capitalist with Crosspoint Venture Partners, who puts up coin through his new company RightOff Entertainment. Hoff and Bernt both take exec producer credits.

The ECHO has already made its World Premiere in the Fantasia Festival ’08 in Montreal and was also at the Cannes Film Market last May. And ever since that time, it has received numerous praises. Jay Seaver, E-Film Critic stated “Laranas is very cognizant that ghosts are far from the only frightening thing in the movie: His portrayal of domestic violence is just as disquieting”. Lance Curtis of Beyond Hollywood states “The Echo certainly comes as a surprise to even those horror fans who claim to have seen everything. The film manages to be both artistic and terrifying. A rare and strangely powerful combination. Both art-house and commercial, both subtle and shocking — but one thing it certainly is — it’s a gem of a ghost story”. It would probably be just a matter of time before a distributor will pick it up and finally set an international release date.

So wait a minute… Why have many of us Filipinos not heard of this news? Why have we not heard the local channels talk about this upcoming big deal of a Pinoy-meets-Hollywood movie? Sure, we have heard one station talking about it, but that was a year ago, and they were focusing on Iza Calzado rather than the film project itself (not that I have anything against Calzado, she’s a magnificent actress) or the Pinoy director behind it. You see… THIS is what I hate about the local “Entertainment News” scene… there is actually NONE. What exists is just “Showbiz and Gossip” …Nobody talks about the movies; instead they talk about the gossip around the movies, and the moneymaking that producers are concerned of. This is why serious cinema in our country doesn’t really improve that easily; it’s because even the media is teaching people that a movie is good for as long as there is some sort of gossip that surrounds it. If it’s just a good movie without gossip—according to these A-holes--- it’s not worth talking about. It is actually upsetting to find that here is a kababayan who has actually achieved something great for our country---And the self-centered people behind the two big media organizations of this country couldn’t give a break from talking about which teen star has a crush on which teen star--- and give some time to let the Filipinos out there know about this upcoming Hollywood remake, so that NOW, at this time, while it’s early on, we can start spreading the word so that by the time it hits cinemas, everybody will be rallying in support of a kababayan. So remember this movie… The ECHO, directed by Yam Laranas, stars Iza Calzado with several other Hollywood actors and actresses. It’s coming soon.

1 comment:

Yam Laranas said...

Thank you very much kind sir for your great support on my film. I am pretty sure that you will love this version and will forget that it's even a remake. Thank you so much!

All the best,