Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The ECHO to be released in the Philippines FINALLY

The LONG wait is over. The Hollywood remake of the Filipino horror film SIGAW is now going to be released in our country. Here is the news article from The Philippine Daily Inquirer about it:

Good and bad news about Laranas’ ‘The Echo’
By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:38:00 09/03/2009

LOS ANGELES—First, the good news: Yam Laranas’ “The Echo,” his US remake of “Sigaw,” will finally be shown in movie theaters in the Philippines on September 23.

The bad news: “The Echo” is not going to get a North American theatrical release. We came across announcements on the Internet that “The Echo” will instead be released on DVD and Blu-ray on November 10.

This is certainly a disheartening development. It was unprecedented that Yam was given the opportunity to direct the American version of his own Tagalog hit from Regal Films. Everyone also welcomed the news that Iza Calzado was going to reprise her role. When we visited the set in Toronto in 2007, we were proud to see a Filipino director calling the shots. Ever since Yam wrapped up filming “The Echo” in Toronto, we all eagerly awaited the movie, which stars Jesse Bradford and Amelia Warner, to be shown in theaters.

US theatrical release
When Yam finished the film’s post-production, the US theatrical release seemed imminent. But the wait turned into months. Fans and readers of Yam’s blog began asking: “When?” In the meantime, “The Echo” was shown to potential distributors at the Cannes Film Market in May last year. In July, also last year, the film was screened at Fantasia, the Montreal, Canada fantasy and genre film festival. Last May, “The Echo” got its first international theatrical release in South Korea. is now offering a pre-order price guarantee of $24.99 for each copy of “The Echo” on DVD or Blu-ray. The package art shows a girl with menacing looking eyes behind a door engulfed in flames. It virtually screams that this is a horror movie. We would have preferred the teaser poster that Yam posted on his blog, the one showing Jesse Bradford listening into a wall with a girl ominously appearing by a door in the background. It captures the quietly eerie and therefore more suspenseful mood that Yam was probably aiming for in “The Echo” (and which he effectively did in “Sigaw”).

We’re happy that “The Echo” will get a theatrical release in the Philippines. Even with the movie’s release on disc in November, we think many Filipinos would still want to experience “The Echo” on the big screen. In an e-mail interview, Yam pointed out: “The experience of seeing it on the big screen literally amplifies the scares. Although the mood of the film can be appreciated in any screen size, nothing beats the impact of the film inside a dark theater.”

As for what’s in store for moviegoers, especially those who saw and loved “Sigaw,” Yam said: “I think they will enjoy this new version. It is much scarier than the original. But fans of the original will also see that the original story line is intact. The mood and paranoia though is heightened in ‘The Echo.’”

On Iza, the filmmaker said: “I’ve always believed that Iza’s talent is world class. ‘The Echo’ is a testimony to that. She played her role with utmost commitment and sincerity. We are all proud of her.”

Yam explained about “The Echo” not getting a theatrical distribution in America: “The market has changed for all independently produced films. It all started in Cannes and the American Film Market and all the way to Sundance and Tribeca. Nobody was buying. We are among the casualties. There are also legal issues that our investor and distributor are trying to sort out. Yes, I feel bad about it but I need to see the realities of Hollywood. This is not a unique case and there are worse stories out there.”

Screenings abroad
On the movie’s distribution in other territories, he said: “As far as I know, there have been screenings in Russia, Bulgaria and Poland. The film will most likely be shown simultaneously in the Philippines and Southeast Asia since the prints come from Thailand. We are also set to be released theatrically soon in several countries in Europe.”

Yam e-mailed us from Montalban, Rizal where he is filming “Patient X” which reunites him with his “Sigaw” male lead, Richard Gutierrez. “Making movies is a passion of mine,” he said, sounding happy to be directing a feature film again. “I have another unique story to tell and I wanted to work with Richard again. We work well together. Shooting ‘Patient X’ is making me high!”

‘Aswang’ twist
“Our lead actress is Cristine Reyes,” he added. “The movie is a new twist to the aswang (vampire) myth. I am confident that this is something that Filipino and international audiences will truly appreciate.

On our quibble with “The Echo’s” package art, he commented: “I always had an issue with that kind of ‘sell.’ ‘The Echo’ is not J-Horror (Japanese horror genre). And it is not ‘horror’ per se. But the distributor would know better. I only hope that the audience will see something else in the film. Yes, it is a very scary film—really horrifying—but it is also a character driven piece and has a lot of emotional rides.”


No comments: