The Asian Invasion – “Darkest Night”
Back in the USA since yesterday I started my fine morning with my beloved hazelnut coffee. I’m happy to report that while in the Philippines we had a coffee sponsor. I even got to drop the product placement in the film “Darkest Night” featuring our coffee. That coffee being MAGNIFICO! (Ding) The DING being the sparkle, thumbs-up after your first sip. They actually use brown sugar in their coffee which is quite good.
For those unaware, I had 19 days shooting on the gothic horror film “Darkest Night” in the Philippines. I will try to explain the experience here in these lines but I’m sure it will still fall short.
It all started when I decided I needed to find that next international project. After “Karma” in India I knew I wanted to give my existing audiences another unique film experience. I also wanted to expand into additional foreign markets and gain new fans in far away places. The right project came together in a Russ William’s script about an American being taken back to the Philippines to meet soon-to-be wife’s family at Christmastime. What happens after that? (You wish!) Audiences will have to tune in to find out but all I can say is that it isn’t pretty. Well pretty frightening!
The trip started with a 20+ hour flight through Japan to Manila. It was my 1st trip to Asia and all was good when writer/producer Russ and director Noel Tan found me in the crowded airport. A drive through Manila at night that reminded me of Bombay India but with much better roads. The highway was extremely nice and well-kept due to almost all roads being toll roads. They also drive on the same side of the road as we do and the 1st thing I noted was the humid heat. I got to know this heat intimately over the course of the trip.
So after two hours of driving sometime after midnight we arrive at these giant gates down a remote dirt road. The house is large and imposing and looks like the perfect location for a horror film. When I find my room I find the air conditioner is not set up yet and I’m told the plumbing is being worked on tomorrow. DOH! The story is that the owner and her family live in the guest house and they had rented production the main house. Exhausted I sleep beside a fan that reminds me of my Costa Rica trip.
I awake early to a quiet house. I go in search of…anyone awake. I find the art crew set building and they direct me to the housemaid of the owner named Regina. She understands me enough to bring COFFEE! Step one in the right direction. By noon they have the shower up and running. NICE! The water is luke warm but in the extreme heat that is just fine and a shower is so refreshing after the long trip.
I also move to a master bedroom with a nicer bed. It’s large and flat – Japanese style. Best of all the room had a large air conditioner! After a few eggs and sausage for breakfast I start meeting more crew as they come in. Soon smiles, laughter and music fill the air. The first thing I can say is that the Philippine people are a happy people. They are a musically gifted people with beautiful voices and amazing talent with guitars and such. Here I am on the other side of the world with a foreign film crew in full action just like back home.
The pool cleaners come and start to prep the pool which will help cool a few hot days. My 1st co-star Justin Chan from Malaysia arrives and with me having the main air-conditioned room – the first steps towards hosting the DUDES DORM was taken. As my new co-star’s came in we invited them in one by one and almost immediately we all banded like brothers. The ladies set up in another couple of rooms and that afternoon we had a wonderful rehearsal. It was amazing to have everyone all together and start hearing the words flow off the page.
My 1st scenes were actually the opening scenes of the film with my character Ken arriving and meeting the family. Everyone was so open and inviting to the experience before us. We all blended into a tight-knit cast and the scenes started to get knocked down one by one. It was amazing that we had all just met.
We survived a blackout, two Typhoon’s, the steady heat, long nights that almost always saw the sunrise. But by the efforts of all involved we finished the shoot a day ahead of schedule. We earned some amazing footage for our hard work. For the second time ever I lost my voice for a half a day due to the intensity of some of the scenes. Actually the entire 1st week was INTENSITY followed by INTENSITY followed by more INTENSITY.
Week two allowed more of the drama to flow and glue everything together. I’m so excited for those that know me and my work to experience the talent I worked with both in front of and behind the camera. CDI has a formal agreement to develop/produce films with GPI (Gothic Pictures International) and so we’ll see more mutual projects from us produced in the Philippines. This was CDI’s 1st International associated project and that makes me proud as a company owner. This is truly a new benchmark for us and will open up more doors to talent exchanges.
The film is slated to premiere at a Manila festival in Sept and will follow with a theatrical release in a chain owned by the shopping malls across the country.
More PR will be rolling out with photo releases, BTS videos and more – so STAY TUNED!
“Darkest Night” Facebook Page:
A website is also under construction
This week I’m going to follow-up on our films that we’re working to place with distributors. I should have release date info and more relating to the projects currently in post and recently completed.
LOT OF PROJECTS in motion so hold onto your seats!
Happy to be home but missing all my new friends who were just MAGNIFICO!
“It’s a small world after all”