When Corazon: Ang Unang Aswang hit theaters earlier this year, it was billed as a Skylight Films production distributed by Star Cinema. People were puzzled.
They were familiar with the latter, but the former was alien to them. So at the time, the question on their minds was, “What is Skylight Films?”
According to Star Cinema’s Enrico Santos, Skylight Films is the newest unit in ABS-CBN Films. It was established sometime last year, but only started actively making movies this year. “It is the network’s ‘maindie’ or ‘mainstream-indie’ film unit. It’s not a label of Star Cinema. We don’t do the kinds of movies that Star Cinema makes, like yung mga family dramas. Ours have more edge. They’re not as experimental as the indie films made for Cinemalaya, but they’re indie pa rin, although we do try to cater to and entertain mainstream sensibilities.”
Enrico says Skylight Films projects are indie in the sense that they use the same equipment indie filmmakers use. “Actually, we were one of the first mainstream groups to employ digital equipment. Because of that, the directors we work with are free from things like using expensive film stock.” Also, they experiment with new filmmaking techniques, like innovations in color grading, and also find new ways to distribute and promote their movies.
To hear Enrico tell it, Skylight Films is like a laboratory. It’s mainly a venue for ABS-CBN to conduct experiments, which can involve anything from trying out new techniques to working with new actors (and, in the case of Corazon, which was bannered by the teamup of Erich Gonzales and Derek Ramsay, new combinations), new directors, and new kinds of stories.
Enrico says some of those experiments may eventually be used in Star Cinema’s mainstream projects, but only in special cases. “If we see it’s pang mainstream, sige, go. But we can never be identical to mainstream because the real mission of Skylight Films is to give viewers something different from the usual fare.”
They began that mission with Corazon, and seem poised to have another hit on their hands with the psychological horror-slash-family drama Amorosa: The Revenge.
“Sa Amorosa, nakatirintas ang family drama and horror. It’s one of the most twist-filled movies you will see,” Enrico promises. “It all depends on how moviegoers will accept the movie. We’re taking a big risk with this, but we trust na willing sila.”
Skylight Films’ latest offering will witness some of its stars—including Enrique Gil and Angel Aquino—make their horror film debut. Amorosa: The Revenge also stars Martin del Rosario, Empress, Carlo Aquino, Ejay Falcon and introducing Jane Oineza. Also starring in Amorosa: The Revenge are Franco Daza, Nico Antonio, Jairus Aquino, Mosang and Richard Quan, with the special participation of child star Xyriel Manabat.
Amorosa: The Revenge is directed by Topel Lee and will premiere on August 29.