John Sayles' AMIGO and A Moment in the Sun out at last.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Safe and sound

I was safe with my new girlfriends.
On the ride back to Alona Beach in the dark we saw plankton in the water, like the outriggers were making sparks.
Good trip. Don't miss it.

Getting dark

As the sun set the banca stopped and we all got out and straggled through the ankle deep water to Virgin Island. Spooky.

The trip home from Balicasag

The trip home was full of surprises.
First, a piece of a rainbow.
Rolly said it was good luck and we all hoped he was right, and that it was luck for the shoot.

Confident that Rolly would sort out a good meal while we were underwater, we arrive to a Su Tu Kil lunch under shade of a palapa. Fresh fish from among the ones we were just admiring! And "longneck" which is Tanduay rum. Rum and cokes and all the fish you can eat, then back on the banca for the trip home.

A Day Off

Not many days off here, but Production took a Sunday trip to the island of Balicasag. We piled into Ebot's van and drove to Alona Beach, at the other end of Panglao. There we took a banca to the island, about a 45 minute trip.
Here's Arleen, either blissed out or considering her future.
Then there's Vanessa doing a little beachside shopping.
Does anybody have pictures of us snorkelling?
That's why we went to Balicasag, to snorkel in the sanctuary, right at the edge of a 50 ft drop into the blue. Some nice coral and a LOT of fish. Mary Ann went in in her jeans.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Actor Discusses Baryo Details

Arthur Acuna details of Baryo in the Daily Inquirer on Wednesday December 23.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poor fish

The Clean Plate Club

A Happy Customer

John Sayles in happy anticipation of another sensational Su 2 Kil at Lic-Lic.

The Best Su 2 Kil

People tell me Cebu has the best Su 2 Kil but I can't believe anyone makes it better than the cooks at Lic-Lic.

Side dishes

In the same market we shop for vegetables for the fish soup and for fried eggplant (with lots of egg batter like a chile relleno) or pinakbet which is a popular vegetable dish which can include eggplant and okra and always has a shrimp paste-which is the part I am still adjusting to.

How to Su 2 Kil

First you go to the market, right across the street, and buy fish that is still jumping. This is line producer Arleen Cuevas and Coproducer Mario Ontal, conferring over tuna.

Su 2 Kil Part II

It's a fish restaurant where the fish is prepared 3 ways:
Sugba (grilled)
Tula (soup)
Kilaw (like ceviche.
Shoo two kill
Su 2 Kil
Shoot to Kill.
Got it?

Background US Soldiers

We have 12 guys coming from around the world to be our US Soldiers. So far, we have recruits from the US, Spain, and the UK. It's going to be a really cool bunch of guys, including my nephew Luke and sons of some of our friends.
Guys, when you book your ticket to Manila, plan to arrive in Manila in time to make one of the connecting flights to Tagbilaran. The cheapest is Zest Air, and close in cost and leaving later in the day are PAL and Cebu Pacific. The last of all the flights leaves at 3pm.
We'll have a coordinator to meet you in the Manila airport and help you make your connection to Tagbilaran.
Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

From John Sayles to the US cast

Hi everybody-

It will be a while before you’re here but I have time to write now and thought I’d give you a heads-up on some things.

As far as being prepared for the acting- as I said before, no buzzcuts, hair was short then but leave us something to work with. It would be good if you’re not dead pale- soldiers didn’t sunbath but had farmer tans or burns- color on their faces and hands (possibly forearms). If you can get out under the rays it will save some bronzing time every day (you can burn yourself quick here but it’s not healthy). Col. Hardacre, Capt. Creighton and Lt. Compton will have sidearms (Army Colts) while Sgt. Runnels and the rest will carry Krag rifles. The Krag was relatively long-barreled with a bolt action described as ‘butter-smooth’, but if authentic your rifle will be over 100 years old and if a copy or a dummy I can’t guarantee the action. Check the script and if you’re likely to have to fire on-screen it would be good to get somewhere (shooting club, someone with an old hunting rifle) where you can fire any bolt-action, open-sight rifle- if you’ve never shot before the rifle will tell you where you should or shouldn’t be resting the butt on your shoulder. The Krag had a five round magazine, very easy to load, and if we get one where the innards work we’ll give you some practice with that for the ambush scene. None of the firefights in the story will require using the sight ladders, but there was no ‘spray and pray’ in those days, so if you practice, aim at something.

Col. Hardacre will have a big American-style horse, while Capt. Creighton will ride a Filipino pony- you’ll never have to get them past a fast walk.

It’s already hot here by 8am and our uniforms are period material, so expect to be sweaty most of the shooting day- it will help you stay in character. We’ll be leaving the hotel in the dark and returning in the same as the equator day is about 5 to 6 all year. You’ll be out of your time zone anyway. Living quarters are on the top of Panglao Island, just across a narrow channel from Bohol. I’ve been walking out in the flat for five minutes till it’s deep enough to swim (no jet skis or speedboats here) but if you have a full day off there is good swimming/snorkeling/diving at the beaches 20 minutes away on the other side of Panglao. Food is very good and very fresh in the genres that they do here- some beef or carabao, lots of chicken, fish, pork. They have goats tethered all over the place but I’ve never seen one on the menu. San Miguel beer, Coke (sorry, no Pepsi), Sprite and lots of good juices and fruit shakes. They’re not much on lettuce salads, but there’s local vegetables and some seaweed dishes. They don’t eat the duck embryos (balut) on this island, so cross that off your list. If you’re into the water I suggest bringing some reef-walkers (needed for diving on the coral or just crossing rocky patches) and snorkel stuff if you have your own, though you can always rent.

You can call a cab from the hotel for groups or ride single in a tuk-tuk (motorcycle with a too-small-for-me passenger compartment attached) to the beach or to beautiful downtown Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital, just 10 min (depending on bridge construction) across the causeway. Immediately in town there is an old church with park plaza and on one end there is, for those with the Starbucks habit, a Bo’s coffee outlet, same kind of stuff offered. Another block up Carlos Garcia (4th President of the Philippines and from Bohol) Avenue you’ll see a McDonalds on the left for anybody desperate enough, which is in the corner of the BQ (Bohol Quality) Mall, which has the usual mall stuff and a multi-screen theater (now with digital 3-D thanks to AVATAR) and a very good restaurant, Jerry’s, on the top floor. Good Chinese food in town, a cool seafood joint on the pier and many good fruit stands on the street. Bananas, lanzones (you’ll have to try them), oranges, watermelon and THE BEST MANGOES IN THE WORLD (really). If you avoid the shameless tourist traps nothing is very expensive. We’ll have water jugs at the hotels so you can resupply- nobody drinks from the taps but the water is fine for showers, baths, washing clothes and dishes.

It looks like we will have projected dailies in a small conference room at one of our adjoining hotels, and everybody is invited. If you don’t like to look at yourself but don’t want to miss the gathering you can ask co-producer/associate editor Mario Ontal what’s on the card for the night and catch other people’s scenes.

Most of our crew will speak at least some English and most Boholanos who run shops can do their business in it. Money is still in Spanish words- uno, dos, tres, etc. People are very religious, mostly Catholic and evangelical Christian here, and never is heard a discouraging word, at least not in English. The other Westerners on the island are mostly on the far side of Panglao diving (g’day, mate) so people here may find your presence unusual, but they are really friendly- lots of ‘good morning’ and ‘good afternoon’. Do be careful crossing streets, as everybody- cars, vans, tuk-tuks- is allowed to pass wherever the opportunity arises and they take advantage of it. Vehicles dart around but with all the roadside pedestrians and feathered livestock to avoid they’ve gotten good at it.

Our baryo is taking shape, rice planted for the shoot (three month variety) and our church and huts going up. We have some beautiful mucky paddies for you to get ambushed in. The older people in Toril still aren’t sure it’s not all a joke, but as our numbers increase they are getting used to it. Quite a few very vocal fighting cocks will be relocated during our shooting days to keep them off the soundtrack. We’ll have tents to keep you out of the sun when you’re not shooting and plenty of water. Filipinos take a real lunch hour, and this, with the shortness of daylight, shooting days and budget means we really have to have our game together to get everything shot and keep the quality high. At times we may have rehearsals for the next day’s first shot during dusk wrap, and you should be prepared to shoot anything in the script on fairly short notice if we have to suddenly bump to an interior (short rain showers may leave the baryo ground too wet for continuity with an outdoor scene we’ve started). This is really a terrific group of actors from both sides of the ocean, so it should be very satisfying work.
Hope you like rice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Su 2 Kil begins here

Su 2 Kil?

Stay with me.

Imaginary lands

I came across this today, the map hand drawn by John last Spring, imagining San Isidro.

( and I couldn't have posted it without Mario's help. We are lucky to have a Co-producer who is also our Tech)

Click on image to enlarge.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Building Toril

First the team removed the kitchen from the hollow block house.

Materials are sourced from the area. Bamboo comes by river and carabao and on the backs of two men. The red lumber is plantation,
ccoco lumber. Thirteen carpenters swarm all over.
We are building a church around the hollow block house.Amazing.

I couldn't resist these shiny white girls on a shopping spree at the BQM (Bohol Quality Mall, to you). They are so old fashioned but also sort of misleading: between the BQM and the ICM (Island City Mall) there's not much you can't get here, and for a better price than back home.
Yesterday we bought snorkels and masks. Pictures from their first outing, this weekend, I hope.

I thought the lizard on the green sun was part of the design and then I realized there were TWO lizards warming themselves in the light. Lots of mosquitoes so we are happy to see the lizards.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Hanky Panky Originals

Ever since I first visited Tokyo (1983?) I have admired these efficient little drying racks. Now I have my own, from the market in Tagbilaran.


This is Bebeth. With her help we are working smoothly with the residents of Toril. She helps negotiate the price of nipa and bamboo and here she is serving us buko.
"Nipa" and "buko". A few new words every day.
We got lucky when we met Bebeth and Cooper. More on Cooper soon.

Tabi-tabi po

This is Zacarias. He is the first shaman of Toril. With his help we hope we appeased the guardians of the forest before cutting down the first of the palm trees we cleared to make the plaza of the baryo of San Isidro.
You will be seeing more of Zacarias.

Magic Jack?

Since you US cast have been asking, yes, we do have a reliable internet connect at both our hotel and right next door at our office. Bring your laptops and skype to call home or else you can use Magic Jack plugged into a friend's laptop, all for free.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chocolate Hills

The Chocolate Hills are Bohol's most famous attraction.
They are an example of conical karst hills.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How blue is the water? This blue, and those are ferries you see, heading to Cebu or Negros. The building in the foreground is more of Ladaga Inn taken from the production office, and the red-roofed part is where we'll have dinner during the shoot.
Soon, a picture of Virge, a great cook.
This is the view from the third floor (Sound Dep and GIL) of Olman's View Hotel. The tide is way out and you can see an umbrella on our manmade beach. That's where I spent today, our first day off.
Basketball is huge in the Philippines. I didn't know that. There is a hoop everywhere, even in tiny Toril where we are shooting. We've seen it before on location in West Virginia, Mexico, and now in the Philippines.
John brought two basketballs:US Army vs Filipino crew?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Army Spreading National Game

NYT June 29 1902


BARYO US soldiers & cast:

Picture yourselves with one of these haircuts and enjoy longer hair till we get our hands on you in Bohol.

American hairstyle - 1900

The hint of sideburn, no buzzcuts or shaved head, part in the middle of you can make it work.

Army baseball team Manila, 1900.

It's a game

Who is this man and what is he doing?

The Birthday Party

In the front, the birthday boy and girl.From the left Co-Producers Mario Ontal and Joel Torre, Line Producer Arlene Cuevas, The Big Director, Rodel, and Construction Supervisor Daniel Fernandez.
Ladaga Inn Restaurant

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Whose birthday?

Maggies's birthday! and Rolly's. Delicious cake from ICM (Island City Mall) Tagbilaran. Chocolate with meringue frosting.

In the field

On the left our UPM/Locations Manager Rolly Palmes. On the right our Production Designer Rodell Cruz. In the middle, our director, John Sayles. Where? Bohol? Where?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

John speaks to students at SSFA

Sayles reads from novel and talks to SHS students about working as author, film-maker

John spent some time with about 160 Schenectady High School students in the Sayles School of Fine Arts Black Box Theatre in November.  He read from his novel “Some Time in the Sun,” and answered the students’ questions.    The Baryo production team will be sharing updates and dailies of the film with the students who have already received the movie script, pre-production materials, shoot schedules, scene and design information, character biographies and more.  

Before he began the staged reading of the book, he spoke briefly about a few of the characters, reminded the students that the book is set in the Philippines in 1898 and explores the  war between the U.S. and Spain over the Philippines.