TOKYO – Filipino actress Shaina Magdayao is currently in Japan representing Lav Diaz’s four-hour monochrome rock opera “Ang Panahon ng Halimaw (Season of the Devil),” at the ongoing 31st Tokyo International Film Festival (TIFF).
The said film is one of the Southeast Asian music-themed films being featured at the Crosscut Asia section of the A-list festival.
Magdayao, 28, portrays the role of Lorena Haniway, a fearless young doctor who opens a clinic for the poor but later disappears without a trace during the time of Martial Law.
After a well-attended screening of “Halimaw” at Toho Cinemas in Roppongi Hills Tuesday night, the beautiful and talented actress participated in a Q&A session where she said she’s dedicating her role in the film to the unsung Filipino women and unsung heroes of the Philippines.
“I especially dedicate this to the Overseas Filipino Workers who have contributed a lot to the economy through their sacrifices and their love for their families,” she stated.
She told Filipino-Japanese Journal in an exclusive interview that it was a challenge for a non-singer like her to be a part of the film.
“Isang malaking challenge, but it was such a beautiful challenge. Kahit ako hindi ko alam kung paano ako pinagkatiwalaan ni Direk Lav, so it was a very overwhelming experience for me,” she began.
“I just trusted my director, and it was all worth it. I’m a fan of his works and the genius that he is,” she went on.
Magdayao, who started her showbiz career at age six also shares her experience on the TIFF red carpet.
“It was unforgettable dahil pangalawang international film festival ko pa lang ito but at the same time, I also felt kind of overwhelmed dahil ako lang mag-isa,” she said.
“Sobrang maayos ang mga Hapon – organized, friendly and warm. I also met some foreign press na masaya to hear someone speak fluent English. Siguro kasi nagkakaroon ng language barrier kaya they were very happy to interview me,” she narrated.
“It was also nice to see the Pinoys na pumunta rito to cover the film festival although nanghihingayang ako na hindi ko malapitan yung mga nasa malayo na area dahil pa-square lang yung red carpet. Pinaparating ko yung pasasalamat ko sa kanila dahil kahit nasa malayong pwesto sila, pumunta sila rito para magbigay ng suporta,” she added.
When asked how she would remember her participation at TIFF, the actress answered, “Napakalaking karangalan para sa akin ang dumalo sa TIFF dahil ako ang naging representative ng aming pelikula. Ako lang yung naglakad, ako lang yung in-interview, ako lang yung nasa Q&A. Medyo mabigat na responsibilidad but at the same, it’s a very humbling experience that they all trusted me to go here to represent the film. Nakakataba ng puso. Hopefully this won’t be my last.”
(Words and interview by Florenda Corpuz, Photographs by Din Eugenio)