It is through a lifestyle-oriented program that I have seen how interesting Rekorder is. The thing is, if you have been following my CINEMALAYA updates on twitter, I have once proclaimed that this year's line-up does not get me giddy at all. Good thing though, someone sort of slapped me for concluding stuff way too early.
21 year-old Mikahil Red's Rekorder tells the story of Maven, a former film cameraman from the movie industry in the 80's who now works as a film pirate in present day Manila. He is a cammer (someone who smuggles camcorders into cinemas to illegally record films) and one of the last of his kind as illegal camcording is becoming more and more obsolete due to the increasing security measures versus piracy and due to the development of the digital realm (torrents, digital downloads, etc.). Conflict ensues when Maven unintentionally records something, as the footage goes viral Maven is forced him to face his demons, both from his crimes and from his past.
Rekorder somehow revels on the brilliant irony of the obscured problems of pirate film producers as it unravels the evolution of Philippine Cinema towards the 21st Century. Through Maven's interchanging lens, we will witness a psychological thriller cloaked as a mixed-media film, utilizing several digital formats (from professional cameras, to CCTVs, to hand-held ones and others) as well as shifting perspectives from devices within the film to present a different post-modern narrative. It is also a cinematic experiment as it explores the different possibilities being brought by the new and old digital and video formats that has been developing through time.
"I imagined this type of treatment and storyline because I wanted to present something new with a modern approach." Mikhail Red answered about his inspiration in creating the film Rekorder during an online interview for Outrageous Writer.
"I consider myself part of a new generation of emerging filmmakers; I wanted to show something that clearly represents the New Breed category." Mikhail also added.
Mikhail Red is literally not a new-born in terms of independent filmmaking, as it is so reflected with his ambitious ideas. His father Raymond Red won the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival for his short film Anino. However, Mikhail did not stay that long within the shadows of his father as he have already made his own identity in the Philippine independent filmmaking industry at the early age of 17. His first CINEMALAYA entry is a short film entitled Harang which shows how distrust, deception and social barriers can destroy society.
"I was lucky that the film had the opportunity to be part of Cinemalaya and was surprised when I was awarded Best Screenplay for my work." Mikhail humbly said.
A year later, Mikhail submitted yet another short film entitled Hazard, a crime drama that tells the story of a father who takes his son to the outskirts of the city for a driving lesson and stumble upon a disturbing crime scene which ultimately makes them realize the differences in their moral stances.
"Rekorder is much more daring, pushing cinematic boundaries further." Mikhail said. He also added that we shall expect the similar aesthetic flavors he has used with his short films before, especially in terms of the film's over-all mood, atmosphere, and surreal sequencing.
On the question about his decision of taking Ronnie Quizon as his lead star, it seems like it had been planned even before the official casting of Rekorder started.
"Back in 1997, my father Raymond Red, made a film entitled Kamada. As a child I remember watching that film and I was always fascinated by the character in the film that was played by Ronnie Quizon." Mikhail said and added that he had always thought that Ronnie Quizon will fit the character peg of Maven.
Even though he has been exposed to the world of filmmaking, Mikhail Red feels like he is doing everything for the first time since it is his first full-length film.
"I was used to my own process when making my short films, doing everything independently with a skeleton crew." Mikhail admitted. He also said that he felt overwhelmed with the larger scale of production, more people getting involved, and more sequences to be shot.
Mikhail did not deny that even though their family has PelikulaRED to back him up, he still had a hard time gathering the funds needed to complete Rekorder.
"We had to find producers, people who believed in the vision of Rekorder, and we had to make sure that we could make the film a reality with the limited resources that we had."
In spite of all the challenges he have been through just to finish his full-length film, Mikhail is nevertheless grateful.
"It was definitely a learning experience for me." Mikhail proclaimed. His young and committed crew members also have had their fair share on this learning escapade.
When asked if he is expecting to win anything for Rekorder, Mikhail did not buckle on saying that he does not need it at all.
"I just want audiences to remember my films; I want them to think about it, it doesn't matter if they react positively or disagree with it completely. As long as they were affected by it, and they remember my work, then I believe I am successful in a sense. I don't need to win anything." Mikhail asserted beautifully.
Mikhail however admitted that he still feels a bit pressure albeit not expecting too much from Rekorder, pretty much how every filmmakers should be.
"I am just glad to be part of the program and I thank the festival for giving me the opportunity to share my work with a wider audience." Mikhail humbly said.
"Establishing myself as a filmmaker in the local industry and contributing to the heritage of Philippine cinema is already a victory for me." Mikhail also added, which immediately became the sweetest thing I have ever heard from a local filmmaker.
Mikhail Red, being an inspiration himself, has some compelling words to say to all the aspiring young filmmakers around the country:
"To aspiring filmmakers, all you really need is a concept and a camera, just go out there and shoot, be daring, do something new and don't be afraid to make mistakes."
Rekorder will have its public screening on July 26 to August 4, 2013 at CCP theaters, Greenbelt 3 and Trinoma malls together with the other CINEMALAYA 2013 Film Festival entries.
I bet that is something you have never seen before.
For more updates and information about Rekorder, like the following facebook pages:
Rekorder 2013: https://www.facebook.com/Rekorder2013
PelikulaRED - REDFilms: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PelikulaRED-REDFilms