That surprise box office hit called Tadhana
KAPAMILYA DAY By Kane Errol Choa (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 26, 2015 - 12:00am
The lives of the two characters in That Thing Called Tadhana — Mace (Angelica Panganiban) and Anthony (JM de Guzman) — echo real-life situations that audiences easily identify themselves with
When the lights dimmed and the black screen slowly flashed the words: “Para sa mga umibig, nasaktan, ngunit umibig pa rin, you know, tatanga-tanga,” a collective chuckle was heard in the movie house.
An instant connection with the audience in less than a minute into the movie is hard to establish. But the Cinema One Originals 2014 film That Thing Called Tadhana did it effortlessly.
In a span of two weeks since its nationwide release, everyone had been bitten by the Tadhana bug. Social media became swamped with photos of people doing the so-called Tadhana pose, websites crafted articles featuring a list of the movie’s hugot lines, and the papers had nothing but praises for the romantic comedy film.
The Valentine’s weekend further escalated the hype that made the film breach the P100-M mark in less than two weeks — an incredible milestone for an indie film.
Tadhana soared to success because of its simple yet meaningful storytelling. The lives of the two characters, Mace (Angelica Panganiban) and Anthony (JM de Guzman), echo real-life situations that audiences easily identify themselves with.
Accurate depictions of the moving on process and spot-on lines delivered by the characters were key elements that made That Thing Called Tadhana a touching film that can emit sobs and fits of laughter.
“The central theme of Tadhana may be common, but its treatment was different. We only had two characters in the film who were just talking the whole time. I only wanted to make a sincere film, something that’s really from the heart. That was my goal,” said director and writer Antoinette Jadaone.
Jadaone, the brains behind the breakthrough success, is a master storyteller. Her creativity and wit were mirrored in her 90-minute film. She managed to reinvigorate locally produced romantic movies by doing away with the tested formula. Instead, she concocts a story on heartbreak, an all-too-familiar concept for movies, and takes the audience to a feelings trip by highlighting charming little details that romantics have done to forget and glue the pieces back together. As a director and writer rolled into one, Jadaone triumphs in presenting her story in a fashion that everyone can relate to.
But before the fame that came with That Thing Called Tadhana, Jadaone was already making waves in the film industry three years ago with her critically-acclaimed Cinema One Originals 2011 entry, Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay. Her stint in the Cinema One Originals Film Festival three years back catapulted her to rising star status when her 2011 comedy entry was commercially released outside the film festival and won six awards including the Best Actress Award for its lead, Lilia Cuntapay.
Cinema One Originals, the local independent film festival, paved the way for gifted Filipino storytellers like Jadaone to have their shot at making their stories come to life in the form of a film. As one of the projects of the premiere cable channel Cinema One, the annual film festival has generated thematically rich films of different genres tied to an original vision.
“The festival has given birth to numerous films which may be considered as milestones of what a lot has deemed to be the resurgence of Filipino cinema, not only in terms of local sustainability but also in terms of worldwide recognition,” shared Cinema One channel head Ronald Arguelles.
The film festival has been a platform to discover a new breed of talented filmmakers. Since 2005, Cinema One Originals has been able to share their creative and unique vision to the Filipino audience. Seals of approval from critics have been garnered by Cinema One Originals films and because all films are banked on originality, a number of Cinema One Originals films have caught the attention of audiences abroad.
Ang Huling Balyan ng Buhi by Sherad Anthony Sanchez in 2006 won multiple awards in international film festivals, 2007’s Confessional by the daring duo Jerrold Tarog and Ruel Antipuesto were lauded in film festivals here and abroad, Remton Zuasola’s 2010 entry, Ang Damgo ni Eleuteria bagged the coveted Best Picture in the esteemed Gawad Urian, 2013’s Shift by Siege Ledesma was picked up for commercial release in Japan and took home the Grand Prix in the Osaka Asian Film Festival, and just recently, That Thing Called Tadhana has been chosen as an official entry to the Osaka Asian Film Festival this March.
These are just some of the notable films that Cinema One Originals has given birth to and as more Filipino viewers seek originality when they go to the theaters, Cinema One Originals will continue to provide access to films that have fresh and exciting stories.
Filipino cinema is not dying. The bottomline of an outstanding film is originality and Cinema One has maintained its support for locally-produced films that are marked with this essential element in filmmaking.
As long as there are filmmakers like Jadaone who are given voice by venues such as Cinema One Originals, our local film industry is destined to flourish.