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Real begun not completed: Behind the scenes of Kesehoda

By Adrian M Prophet
July 19, 2016


Kesehoda’s genesis was within the fertile minds of Filipino writers, Manny G Asuncion and Mark Villa-Racho who collaborated in its formation, maturation  and final birth.

The maturation of Kesehoda has included its production by SBS Radio (Victoria) as a serial, broadcast over several weeks nationally. The radio cast were members of Dulaang Bayan Melbourne. The third step in the maturation of Kesehoda came in May 2016, when Manny received a face book message from the Philippines asking if he would write the script and produce Kesehoda for independent films Sandugo Film Productions.

With his mottos of ‘never standing still’ and ‘always have a try’ Asuncion was on the next flight to Manila, with his script strapped to his body so to speak.

During a month in Manila, with hot weather (40 degrees Celsius) and at the height of summer, the film was shot. It was a challenge to all cast and crew in the production. Long, late night shooting was an irritant, but the Director didn’t want early morning shooting. He preferred to work late in the evening and night.

At one time a scene was to be shot in Rizal Park and actors were assembled at midday, but the director arrived at 3 p.m.

There were script challenges during the production, with the cast being told to ‘improvise’, and this required Asuncion to insist on the script being used.

It appeared that the director did not want to follow the script.

For the final three scenes, an integral actor failed to arrive to perform, requiring emergency measures to be instigated to ensure continuity without disruption to the story line.

Having only a boom microphone was an impediment as there were several occasions when the actors could not be heard clearly, requiring technical considerations during the editing process.

What could one do? Asuncion said it was so hot outside, everyone was perspiring profusely, and the schedule for the production was tight.

Travelling for the cast and crew was laborious, by jeepneys and taxis. Traffic being what it is in Manila, meant hours of travelling for relatively short distances in comparison to similar distances in Australia.

The location shootings included the beautiful Roxas Boulevard, Rizal Park, Fair View, Quiapo, Sta Cruz, Rizal Park, Japanese Garden, Malate, and Intramuros.


Once again, no show, “not yet completed, but would be ready by 11:00 a.m. Saturday.” The editor and director were told that was too late, and that they would have to send the completed product to him in Australia.

The Philippine promotion has been constant.

In Australia, Manny Asuncion has posted flyers and information about tickets on his facebook, and has made visits to Filipino organisations to encourage people to attend.

Manny visited Hoyts Cinema in Richmond, Victoria for two discussions about the screening on Saturday 30 July at 2:30 p.m.

Because of differences between the Philippines and Australian formats, for cinema projection, the final version had to be converted to the Australian DCP standard format.

Manny Asuncion’s friends were crucial to the distribution of tickets in Melbourne. He attended various Melbourne groups including “Power of Devotion”, the “Light of Jesus Family”, where the speaker was Bo Sanchez, and communicated with Filipino organisations in Melbourne through the various Presidents.

Interviews were held with 92.3 ZZZ f.m.  Filipino Radio of the Ethnic Community Broadcasting Association, and SBS radio in Melbourne.

Other advertising included articles sent to various Filipino newspapers, including The Sydney Herald and Munting Nayon (Netherlands).

On the weekend of 16 – 17 July, Manny went to Adelaide to celebrate his sister’s birthday, and made an opportunity to meet with Dr Dante Juanta O.A. (former Consul General), Mrs Cora Juanta and Ms Celia Guillermo of the Filipino Radio in Adelaide, with the aim of discussing screening the film in Adelaide.

The greatest challenge in preparing for the screening has been the effort needed to communicate and interact with the team promoting the film in the Philippines. Time differences aside, there have many anxieties, including trusting that people are doing what they have been paid to do, and delivering on their promises.  For his first time as a producer, Manny found the experience financial expensive and personally distressing.

Finally, all these anxieties will be past history once Kesehoda flashes onto the screens of the cinemas.

See related articles:
Manny G Asuncion’s SEASONS, An anthology of Filipino-Australian Plays Down-Under
Manny Asuncion receives award for meritorious service to the Community

    Add a Comment

    Adrian Prophet
    Melbourne Australia
    Wed 20th July 2016

    Thank you.
    It is important for people to gain an appreciation of the complexities of production. It looks simple but it is really complex.
    Manny G. Asuncion
    Melbournbe Australia
    Wed 20th July 2016

    Thank you Adrian for your realistic write up of our movie KESEHODA for giving people insights of the stark realities of making and producing a film.

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