film Pepot Artista took about 30 years before
it was realized. Clodualdo "Doy"
del Mundo, wrote his first screenplay while taking
up graduate studies. Doy went on to make many of the
outstanding films in Philippine cinema. He wrote the
screenplay for Lino Brocka's "Maynila:
In the Claws of Darkness," and was the lead screenwright
for many of Mike de Leon's films which included, "Kisapmata,"
"Batch '81," Third World Hero," and "Kakaba
An undercurrent among these
films is the willingness to explore non-genre
subjects and to look at the third world experience
with a fresh angle. Doy chose to stay out of the mainstream
movie industry, and was secure in his role as a professor
and chairman in communication arts at De La Salle University.
The advent of digital film and its
low budget enabled Doy to realize Pepot Artista, a
seminal film on Filipinos and their penchant for entertainment
amidst widespread poverty. The
film centered on Pepot, a very young boy who was a
great fan of the movies and who aspired to be a film
star. The role was played by stage child actor, Elijah
Castillo. In the process of pursuing his dream, he
had to contend with his peers and an environment that
discouraged more than reinforced his aspirations. His
adventure becomes a microcosm of many Filipinos' view
of the movie industry as their savior. Providing support
in Doy's directorial debut is a network of independent
film artists. Foremost among them is his cinematographer,
brother Herky del Mundo who went back to the Philippines
from the United States to collaborate with him. Herky
was the cinematographer of "Dreaming Filipinos," a
frequent topic on Asian American film studies in many
universities. Doy was also joined by production designer
Cesar Hernando, music scorer Lorie Ilustre, and editor
Daniel Adapon. Doy also had the support of young artists,
which included Michael Kho Lim as line producer, assistant
director Maricris Calilung, and assistant camera person,
Roselyn Cantos. Students from De La Salle's ComArts
department and St. Benilde created a sizable film work
force despite a very low budget of just $10,000.
The staff's selfless inputs created production values
that compared much better than their mainstream counterparts
with budgets 40 times as much.
Their efforts were however rewarded when "Pepot Artista"
was chosen the best film in the Cinemalaya Independent
Film Festival in Manila, Philippines. It has also been
accepted as the Philippines' competition entry to the
upcoming Singapore International Film Festival.