What happens when privileged high school kids get together in those “open parties”? How do they have fun once they’re out of their comfort zones?
The Animals, starring Albie Casiño, Patrick Sugui and Dawn Balagot, is one of the entries in the 2012 Cinemalaya Film Festival under the New Breed Full Length Feature category. It was directed by Gino M. Santos from the script that he co-wrote with Jeff Stelton.
It’s the first full-length film of Gino, who said that having a great story was what drove him to submit the script.
The director used to organize “open parties” when he was in high school so the storyline was something he knew all too well.
“During college I realized how interesting it would be to see [these open parties] in a film since I never really saw a film that talked about these things and I would see articles about it on the news,” he confessed.
What sets apart The Animals from the other Cinemalaya entries is that the movie shows a different side of the Philippines through its subject. Pinoy indie films more often than not talks about poverty and whatever it is that goes on in the third world. Gino’s movie, on the other hand, talks about the higher society; what goes on in the lives of the rich kids.
Albie Casiño fought for the role of Alex in the auditions and Gino said the controversial actor was perfect to play that part of the “typical popular care free guy in your high school batch.”
Patrick Sugui, on the other hand, was who they envisioned as Alex while they were writing the script. “When I saw him in PBB teens, I thought he was perfect, although I didn’t see him act yet or see him in person at the time,” Santos said. “When I met him while we were casting for The Animals, I proved myself right.”
They had a hard time looking for an actress to play Trina because the role was a little daring. Santos knew Dawn Balagot since high school and asked her to read for the role. “That’s when I realized that she could play the part, and my team agreed.”
60% of the script was at night and shooting for the movie in the middle of summer (when the sun rises so early and sets so late ) was a challenge. It’s also Santos’ first time to deal with a lot of people on the set so it was a little overwhelming for him. “But at the end of the day, I charge these “hindrances” to experience, so they aren’t bad things at all. We’re all pleased with the outcome of the film so all is well.”
When asked if he’s looking forward to winning, he confessed, “No, not really. I'm just here to tell a story, but an award would be nice, of course.”
Set in an affluent, upper middle class village in the suburbs, The Animals chronicles a day in the life of Jake, Trina, and Alex, who go through the musings that every kid in high school has to deal with. All Jake wants to do is have a good time, Alex just wants to fit in, and Trina simply wants more. A very vivid picture is painted of life in high school after the final bell rings, as well as a different side of the Philippines, and what is happening to its privileged children.
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