REDWOOD CITY, CA, September 2, 2013 – After reaping major honors at the recently held Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2013 which included the Audience Choice Award, Jury Prize, Network for Promotion of Asian Cinema (Netpac), Best Screenplay for Zig Dulay, Antoinette Jadaone and director Jeffrey Jeturian, Best Supporting Actress for Ruby Ruiz and Best Actress for Philippine Star of All Seasons and current Batangas Province Governor Vilma Santos, ABS-CBN Star Cinema and Quantum Films’ acclaimed indie film, Ekstra (The Bit Player) has been invited to participate in the 38th Toronto International Film Fetsival (TIFF) which will be held on September 5 to 15.
Ekstra will be part of the Contemporary World Cinema Section of the festival and will be screened in Scotiabank, Canada on September 8, 10 and 15. There are entries from 70 countries and a total of 366 total features, with 268 having their World, International or North American premieres at the festival, including Ekstra.
Film director Jeturian was a production assistant in the 1984 production of the late international Filipina film director Marilou Diaz Abaya’s “Alyas Baby Tsina” which starred Santos. From there, Jeturian rose to become known for his indie films, then later as the director of the phenomenally successful teleserye, “Be Careful With My Heart” shown on ABS-CBN The Filipino Channel (TFC) worldwide. Working with Santos anew for her first indie film is a dream come true for Jeturian.
This kind of experience gave Jeturian the right perspective to come up with a socio-realist drama-comedy that shows his compassionate understanding for the unheralded “bit players” of the industry. Through the main character, Loida Malabanan (played by Santos), a single mother who passionately works as a bit player for television and movies, Jeturian showed the harsh contrasting realities of the exploited and the privileged in the entertainment ecosystem.
Even with her hectic, full-time schedule as the governor of Batangas, one of the country’s top vote-rich provinces, Santos shows no rustiness in her craft. Proving she is still one of the country’s finest acting gems, she bravely essayed the deglamorized role of a hapless ekstra, treading adeptly the fine line between pathos and comedy that demonstrated her wide-ranging acting genius.
Tiff.net described Santos’ performance:
Vilma Santos, the enduring Grand Dame of the Philippine film industry, delivers a performance of grace, courage, and peerless comic timing as a single mother toiling as a lowly TV extra in the latest film from veteran director Jeffrey Jeturian.
Among the top talents who had cameos in the film are Cherie Gil, Cherry Pie Picache, Pilar Pilapil, Marian Rivera, Piolo Pascual, Tom Rodriguez, Eula Valdes, and Richard Yap.
Ekstra is part of this year’s offerings of Star Cinema which celebrates its 20th year in the film industry.
Celebrities will start arriving for TIFF this week. The TIFF has an incredible lineup of films during its 10-day festivities which include droves of celebrity A-listers including, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Hugh Jackman, Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhaal, Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Jessica Chastain and Michael Fassbender. For more information on Ekstra (The Bit Player) and TIFF, visit tiff.net.