Award-winning filmmaker Joselito ‘Jay’ Altarejos
Award-winning filmmaker Joselito ‘Jay’ Altarejos

Award-winning filmmaker Joselito "Jay" Altarejos have gone a long way since his first film "Ang Lalake sa Parola" made a smashing debut.

Direk Jay is celebrating 15 years as a filmmaker and marked it by having a free film screening of "Ang Lalake sa Parola," "Jino to Mari," "Walang Kasarian ang Digmang Bayan" plus glimpses of his latest works namely "Finding Daddy Blake," "Pamilya sa Dilim" and "The Longest Night." The event was held last Saturday at the Mowelfund in New Manila.

His movie "Memories of Forgetting" won for Dexter Doria the Gawad Urian for Best Supporting Actress and won for him the award for Best Editing.

Asked how it feels celebrating 15 years of Altarejos cinema he said, "I appreciate filmmaking more, how it makes me a better person, a better Filipino," adding that he doesn't have favorites among the movies he has made.

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"All of them are equal. I fall in love with every film I make now. I learn many things in the process, especially now that I produce, write, direct and edit them."

But Direk Jay said he could not have done all these if not for his partners in his 2076 Kolektib group that includes his favorite actor Oliver Aquino.

"I do the movies that I do because I want to say something. I am celebrating 15 years of making independent cinema, whether in the spirit or budget. And when I do movies, I always give my best because it represents me. So whether I show my movies via streaming or in cinema, I do my best."

When asked why he does movies that has element of sex? "I am a very sexual person. That's how I see it. Sex is part of a person's life. We cannot deny that."

He is kind of sad though that most movies being done by Vivamax, the most popular streaming platform today, offers mainly sex flicks. "Panay paghuhubad na walang katuturan. That is the truth and that's a tragedy.

He has done a film for Vivamax titled "Memories of a Love Story" which has very minimal sex scenes, a departure from the usual skin flicks released in the streaming platform.

The gay love story between the young son of the maid and the grandson of the matriarch is destined to fail.

"It's a love doomed from the start. There is no happy ending because of the disparity in their social class. Love does not prevail over social classes," said Direk Jay.

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All-female group Calista
All-female group Calista

The six-member all-female group Calista underwent a K-Pop dance training for their upcoming single titled "Don't Have Time."

The week-long intense dance training of Calista was done by renowned Korean artists and dance choreographers Park Ji Yeon and Lee Eun Kyung from August 15 to 21.

Part of the dance training is the choreography practice of Calista for "Don't Have Time" composed by Tera, a rising Filipino artist herself and musically-arranged by renowned record producer Marcus Davis who also wrote and composed "Race Car."

"We brought in K-pop choreographers to boost the girls' skills and they are also helping us wih the single's choreography. We are also preparing for their next music video and the pressure is high considering their phenomenal music video for their single 'Race Car,'' reveals Calista's manager Tyronne James Escalante.

While the girl group already trains eight hours a day, six days a week. The two Korean dance experts praised the members of Calista for being fast learners. Even if choreographer Vimi Rivera, Escalante said they also want to add some international flair to their moves with the help of Park and Lee.there was a problem with communication due to the language problem, the dance training with Park and Lee went on very well. Through body movements and hand gestures, Calista was able to connect with their dance gurus.

Prior to their arrival in the Philippines, both Park and Lee already met with Calista via zoom last July.

"When we saw their music video and videos of their concert performances, we were amazed. All of them are good," Park shared.

"We had so much fun working with Olive, Anne, Denise, Dain, Elle and Laiza," Lee echoes, sharing that their visit to the Philippines was very productive and training the Calista members in person was definitely the highlight of their trip.

Calista leader Ann shares they are just as grateful for the training they received, "Our fans, A-listas, also motivates us to do better."

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