Women Behind the Scenes
Filmmaking has no longer been a man’s game. Recent years have shown that the creative process in movies brings a unique perspective and sensibilities when women are at the helm.
In honor of Women’s Month, get to know some of the talented female creatives that worked behind the scenes to help bring to life some of our most beloved films.
Screengrab from “Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral” featurette
Color grading is an important aspect in maintaining the tone throughout the film. Marilen Magsaysay certainly knew the assignment when she worked as a film colorist for Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral, Birdshot, Bliss, and K’na the Dreamweaver.
“Many people don’t even know that color grading exists,” Magsaysay said in the behind-the-scenes featurette of Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral. “As the colorist, you have to use your imagination, come up with ways to enhance a situation wherein you wanna take them into a different world,” she added.
Apart from being a well-known name in the color grading industry, Magsaysay has also shown her business acumen. After being the head colorist at Optima Digital, she opened her own production company Media East Production together with husband, sound designer Raffy Magsaysay.
Film producers should have the foresight in making sure a film gets finished on time and smoothly. Only in her early 30’s, Daphne O. Chui already has a long history of producing films even before she joined TBA Studios and held the position of Executive Vice President and General Manager.
To date, she is credited as a producer, line-producer, or co-executive producer in over 20 feature projects including iconic films of recent years Heneral Luna and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral.
As an executive, Chiu also guided TBA Studios’ tumultuous journey during the pandemic which included opening a movie-themed cafe, Cinema ‘76 Cafe and resumption of Cinema ‘76 microcinema operations.
“We’re very happy to be doing something entirely different from producing, but it’s also film-related. We’re still a cinema exhibitor, and we have a café that’s very cinema-slanted and film-themed,” Chiu shared in an interview with BusinessWorld.
A writer prepares the screenplay. A director calls the shots. An actress brings them to life. Isabel Sandoval showed she could do every part of filmmaking, even taking the video editing role in her award-winning film, Lingua Franca. The movie brings to light the plight of Filipina trans women immigrants in the U.S. and challenges society’s definition of what woman should be.
She also won the Best Actress award for her lead role at the 18th Pacific Meridian International Film Festival of Asian Pacific Countries in Vladivostok, Russia in 2020.
Photo from Instagram: @teyclamor
Photo from Grace Simbulan’s Facebook page
Documentarian Grace Simbulan finished her first feature film, A is for Agustin over the course of five years. The documentary follows a man who constantly puts his life in question, between his desire to get educated at 40, and his caring for his family and son. The film was listed under CNN Philippines’ top 10 Filipino films of 2019.
The subject was an offshoot of her project entitled “In defense of land and life. Addressing Human Rights concerns of indigenous peoples in resource conflicting areas”, which was given a grant from the European Union. Simbulan graduated cum laude with a degree in Film and Audio Visual Communications in UP Diliman. She’s currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where her research explores the pressures, counter pressures and negotiations that lead to the adoption of projects for Indigenous women and children in the Philippines.