After Toronto Internatio
REDWOOD CITY, CA, September 16, 2013 –ABS-CBN Star Cinema and Quantum Films’ acclaimed indie film, Ekstra (The Bit Player), starring Philippine Star for All Seasons Vilma Santos has received glowing international reviews after it screened at the recently concluded, star-studded Toronto International Film Festival. One of the reviews came from Variety Magazine, a weekly American entertainment trade magazine considered as the “bible of showbiz”.
The film is currently playing in 47 theatres in the U.S. and Canada. The review in its entirety below:
Toronto Film Review: “The Bit Player”
By Richard Kuipers
Jeffrey Jeturian pokes good-natured fun at TV soap operas in this appealing dramedy starring Filipino screen queen Vilma Santos
The unshakable optimism of a middle-aged extra is the warm heart driving “The Bit Player,” an appealing dramedy that pokes plenty of good-natured fun at TV soap operas. Anchored by a glowing central performance by Filipino screen queen Vilma Santos as the single mother who smiles her way through work-related indignities in order to pay for her daughter’s education, the pic reps a fine feather in the cap of veteran helmer Jeffrey Jeturian. Winner of the audience award for best film in its category at Cinemalaya and a hit in domestic release in August, this crowdpleaser launches on limited North American screens on Sept. 13.The wise and witty screenplay by Jeturian, Zigcarlo Dulay and Antoinette Jadaone hits the right mix of humor and compassion from the outset. In a funny pre-credits sequence showing an exasperated production crew hiring and firing a succession of extras for the tiny speaking role of a housemaid, eager-to-please hopeful Loida Malabanan (Santos) is pipped for the job at the last moment.
Very much a modern incarnation of heroines from classic Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s, Loida only strengthens her resolve in the face of such setbacks. Fiercely determined to not ask her (unseen) ex-husband for financial assistance, Loida is driven to survive and succeed because of her adult daughter, Joyce (Ronaline Enriquez), also a divorcee and a college student whose tuition fees are due.
Unhurried opening segments paint a lovely picture of a selfless mother undaunted by being lumped into the category of “nameless wannabees” by fast-talking casting director Josie (Ruby Ruiz, terrific). Loida’s belief that it’s never too late to become a star is one of many character traits that will have audiences rooting for her all the way. With this critical factor firmly in place and Santos in supreme form, Jeturian steers a more overtly comedic path once Loida and her spunky best pal, Venus (Tart Carlos), find work on the set of a soap opera regaling with the title of “You Were Mine First.”
Constant chuckles and a fair supply of big belly laughs are the order of the day as Loida, Venus and a lovable collection of fellow nameless wannabees are herded like cattle by Josie, acid-tongued assistant director Vincent (Vincent de Jesus, hilarious) and the super-stressed-out director (Marlon Rivera) of “You Were Mine First.” As expected, much of the fun derives from scenes being shot for the wildly melodramatic “You Were Mine First.” To that end, Jeturian gets great value from guest appearances by a host of big-name local stars including hunky matinee idol Piolo Pascual as troubled groom-in-waiting Brando, Pilar Pilapil as severe matriarch Dona Esmerelda and a wonderfully over-the-top Cherie Gil as gun-toting super-bitch Dona Beatriz.
For all the merriment on display, the screenplay never loses sight of the economic and emotional imperatives propelling Loida’s uncomplaining acceptance of her place at the bottom of the entertainment-industry food chain. It’s no surprise when Loida finally gets a chance to make a mark with big speaking role in “You Were Mine First,” but the manner in which this plays out is surprising and genuinely touching.
As if inspired by the lightning-fast schedules of teledramas, Jeturian and his team shot this highly entertaining item in just 11 days with tip-top results. Lenser Lee Briones contributes significantly to maintaining the balance of comedy and heartfelt drama with elegant compositions in Loida’s domestic environment, and appropriately brighter, flatter images during her time on the soap set. Vincent de Jesus delivers a delightfully bouncy score to match his thesping input, and production designer Ericson Navarro clearly had a ball creating the delightfully tacky interiors for “You Were Mine First.” Other tech work is on the money.
|September 13-26, 2013MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO
Square One – Empire Studio 10
100 City Centre Drive
Mississauga, ON L5B 2C9
|September 13-26, 2013TORONTO, ONTARIO
Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas
2190 Yonge St
Toronto, ON M4S 2C6
(416) 646 2913
|September 13-26, 2013SCARBOROUGH, ONTARIO
300 Borough Dr. Scarborough,
ON, M1P 4P5
|September 13-26, 2013MONTREAL, QUEBEC
Cineplex Odeon Forum
2313 St. Catherine St. West Suite 101
Montréal, QC, H3H 1N2
|September 13-26, 2013OTTAWA, ONTARIO
Cineplex South Keys
2214 Bank St, Ottawa ON K1V 1J6
|September 13-26, 2013WINNIPEG, MANITOBA
Cineplex Northgate Winnipeg
1399 McPhillips Street,
Winnipeg MB, R2V 3C4
|September 13-26, 2013REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN
Cineplex Odeon – Southland Mall
3025 Gordon Road
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 6H7
(306) 585 3383
|September 13-26, 2013SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN
Cineplex Odeon Centre Mall Cinemas
3510- 8th Street
Saskatoon, SK S7H 0W6
(306) 955 1938
|September 13-26, 2013EDMONTON, ALBERTA
Cineplex- Movies 12 Edmonton
5074 130th Ave.,
Edmonton Alberta T5A 5A9
|September 13-26, 2013CALGARY, ALBERTA
Sunridge Spectrum Cineplex
2555-32nd St N.E.
Calgary, Alberta T1Y 7J6
|September 13-26, 2013SURREY, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Empire Studio 12- Guildford
15051 101 Avenue Surrey, BC V3R 7Z1
|September 13-26, 2013VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas
88 West Pender Street,
Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9
About ABS-CBN Canada
Based in Toronto, Ontario, ABS-CBN Canada ULC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABS-CBN International and distributes Filipino television programming services across Canada. Its flagship product is The Filipino Channel (TFC), the premier and most widely viewed Filipino premium channel in the world. TFC has been an authorized non-Canadian service since 1997, and has been distributed by Canadian cable and direct-to-home broadcasting distribution undertakings (BDUs) since 2009. TFC’s programming includes news, drama, movies, comedy, variety, magazine talk shows, travel and lifestyle programs. In addition to being distributed by BDUs, TFC is also distributed via internet protocol television (IPTV) since 2007 and on the web (TFC.tv). TFC’s IPTV service features Movies on Demand and Pay-Per-View, a Karaoke Channel, and two of the Philippines’ top radio channels, DZMM Teleradyo and DWRR 101.9. ABS-CBN Canada ULC also holds theatrical screenings for top Filipino movies and entertainment events. For more information, please visit www.abs-cbnglobal.com.
About ABS-CBN International
ABS-CBN International was created almost 20 years ago to be of service to all Filipinos. With the launch of The Filipino Channel (TFC), the company became the first and most successful Filipino content distribution company in the U.S. The company offers telecommunication, retail, theatricals, money remittance and cargo services, online audio and video streaming, IPTV, On Demand, along with philanthropic support for Filipinos and the communities they now call home. Based in Redwood City, CA, ABS-CBN International is a subsidiary of ABS-CBN Corporation, the Philippines’ largest entertainment and broadcasting company, through ABS-CBN Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, ABS-CBN Global Hungary Kft. For more information, visit www.tfc-usa.com.