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ZONE Magazine

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: ADRIAN GONZALES CREATIVE DIRECTOR: JERICK SANCHEZ FASHION DIRECTOR: REI BUESING EDITORIAL ASSISTANT: MAXINE CADACIO, MIKAELA DAYAO LAY-OUT AND CONTENT UNIT HEAD : DEBBIE NUÑEZ

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: AIRIZ CASTA, DON JAUCIAN CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: DANIELA MAJIC, PAT RAMOS, AIDX PAREDES, KERBS BALAGTAS, MICHAEL FRANKS, RAECEN DIMACALI CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS: VALERIE CHUA, DAVID GUSION

www.zonemagazine.tk LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: ZONE Magazine FOLLOW US @ TWITTER: zonethemag EMAIL US ON: zonethemagazine@gmail.com

CONTENTS Alamela Rowan 10 Victor Heliodor 14 David Kyung min Sheldrick 18

122

Riot out of the Writing Room 22

84 44

1 62 140

28

132

100 34

23 Caffeinated Rebel Unleashed

24 Neck Deep in Shit

74

25 Mysterious Skin 26 Tropical Maladies 154 Style Feature

CONTRIBUTORS

Daniela Majic-PHOTOGRAPHER WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE? The editorial I shot for Zone Magazine is called The Small Butterfly. The idea was to create a vintage fashion shoot but include elements in the images such as the butterfly crown, flowers, and beautiful backdrops to add a fantasy or other worldly element to the editorial. The shoot was done at a beautiful near by park, which was a great setting for a fantasy/ fashion shoot. The butterfly crown was hand crafted by me. With all my images, this editorial included, I hope to bring the viewers into a dream world. I enjoy fairytales and fantasies, and hope that that is what others see when they look at my work. I also have always loved fashion, and thoroughly enjoy the mixture of fantasy and fashion. I really aim for that look. YOUR EXPERIENCE? When I was contacted to be featured in Zone Magazine, I was very excited and happy. It is always such a wonderful feeling to know that others want to feature my work. 

Valerie Chua-ILLUSTRATOR WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE?  I did 1 watercolour work and 2 acrylic works. These were actually done months ago. I didn’t have time to produce work for Zone so I submitted a few of my most feminine and most recent work instead. YOUR EXPERIENCE? It’s always been a nervous ride when I work. I tried to experiment with the medium. I wasn’t sure of what I was doing half the time, especially for the acrylic works.

Amalia Airiz Casta-WRITER WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE? Literary reviews for Writers Gone Wild by Bill Peschel and Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn. YOUR EXPERIENCE? I always see book reviewing as an enjoyable hobby. I like to blabber a lot about literature, and my reviews have always been the outlet for my ceaseless rave-and-rant. It’s actually like helping myself to a self-made dessert, with the books as the main dish. Reviewing Writers Gone Wild and Gingerbread is no exception--I’m pretty “full” after putting my thoughts about them on paper, if you know what I mean. 

David Guison-ILLUSTRATOR WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE? HAND-FILLED FUN YOUR EXPERIENCE? For this issue, I decided to showcase something I’m also passionate about which is drawing and painting. These are works I did during class hours, during my free time. I am a frustrated artist so this was a great outlet for me to share my art to the world, rather than shelving them.

Don Jaucian-FEATURES WRITER, The Philippine STAR WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE? Wrote reviews of Busong, Ang Babae sa Septic Tank and Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (co-written with Jansen Musico) YOUR EXPERIENCE? Almost a month of watching Cinemalaya films, both from the current and past competitions. It was kind of exhausting to go to CCP, then a week later to UP, every night but it was all worth it. 

Raecen Dimacali- PHOTOGRAPHER WHAT YOU DID FOR THIS ISSUE?  We did a beauty shoot inspired by the transition of autumn to winter. we used coffee beans and glitters to give character to each season. YOUR EXPERIENCE? Shooting was fun! it’s nice to work with creative individuals that are willing to see things on a different light and the fact that we are shooting for an online magazine that is made to showcase new artists made it special.

EDITORS NOTE

Dear ZONE magazine readers, We never really thought it would get this far. It all started with the idea of providing a platform for photographers where their artistic vision would not be compromised. From there, we got around the next few months discussing and talking about on how the magazine should be, never forgetting the deeply rooted ideals that was its reason for conception. Eventually, we expanded from catering not only to photographers, but to everyone in the field of the arts. Our country is brimming with so much talent and in that, it is the magazine’s aim to find a new breed of artists whose works are unique, fresh, and bold -- embodying not only the magazine’s standards but also the passion of a younger generation geared towards discovering new and creative ways of artistic expression. We wanted a magazine that not only caters to fashion, but to art as a whole giving room to improving the already blooming state of the industry in our country with its people providing excellent works of fashion competitive enough to be marketed both locally and internationally. The surge of fashion programs and news on television and in print is proof of the ever rising quality of the field, and as such, we wanted to add to it by providing a magazine that showcases all the afermentioned excellent material.

to consider, but the staff has been so encouraging that it didn’t feel right to let them, and the many people who supported the magazine, down. So I’m proud to present to you ZONE magazine’s premier issue. Its creation was not without sweat and blood, and we’re hoping that it is worth your time in as much as it is for us, the staff and I, as well. Kudos to everyone who has a been a part of this endeavour and we hope that you continue to support us in this quest for excellence. I personally thank the staff of ZONE magazine for their hard work and perseverance despite busy schedules, and I also personally thank them for the trust that they have given me -- it’s all overwhelming and I can’t express my gratitude enough. “The young visionaries’ revolt!,” says one of our earlier contributors in describing what ZONE magazine is about. Yes, he’s right. This is a revolution.

In short, we wanted an uncompromising art magazine whose goal is to promote both the younger talents of today and the veteran ones who continue to elevate the status of fashion and art in the country. And then September came and the magazine’s premier issue is released. It was such a ride -- from conceptualizing, to sorting out through our contributions, and so on. There was even a point that I wasn’t sure if we’d go for it as there were so many things

- Adrian Gonzales, EIC for Zone Magazine

ART FASHION STYLE CULTURE PEOPLE LIFESTYLE

ZONE

be on the right

MODEL FEATURE

Alamela Rowan Interviewed by: Adrian Gonzales

It doesn’t matter if Alamela Rowan of Australia’s Next Top Model did not win the reality tv show’s top prize — she doesn’t need it. Life after AuNTM for our underdog that is Alamela is a success: booking various modeling jobs not only from her own home country, but landing lucrative offers and endorsements from all over Asia. Blooming in the international scene, Alamela’s success gives both her detractors, and her bullies a definite run for their money.

Q: What interested you in modeling? How did you get started? A: When I was in High School I spent much of my time volunteering

with charities and assisting veterinarians as a nurse. I was always creative, and interested in travelling and meeting new people. So I began to enter modelling competitions as a trivial distraction, and

then suddenly I was offered international contracts.

Q: What was the experience like being a Top Model Contestant?

How did you deal with the pressures of having to be on camera almost the entire time the show was being filmed, and how did you deal with the girls, particularly with Demelza?

A: Top Model was unbelievable. Being constantly filmed was

excellent preparation for the media exposure that came after the show. The situation was an intense introduction to the importance of self censorship, and maintaining a professional and responsible attitude throughout adversity. It was impossible to be false in that context, the only issue was misrepresentation. Whatever content you provided the program with, was likely to be scrutinized and dissected, so it was important that your every action was reasonably defensible.

The unfortunate consequences of failing to consider this were later realised by Demelza. I suppose I was unable to deal with the pressures of that program, when I eventually broke down. I believe that allowing the situation to elevate to that level, and then the lack of subsequent action by the producers was a grave mistake. The public response of overwhelming support was incredible though, and reasserted that such dramatic exploitation for the sake of headlines was absolutely unacceptable.

Q: After the show, a lot of people have written things about

you both good and bad - have you read them and what is your reaction to them?

A: I read most comments about myself, whether in the media

or private forums. As a model it is important to understand your perception in fashion industry and general public. I am also involved in writing for the media, so it is useful to know what interests others. Unsubstantiated criticisms are generally few, while those that have substance are genuinely considered and commonly responded to. The vast majority of comments are supportive, and I am privileged and honoured by those that take the time to write such kind words.

Q: What’s your take on bullying/being bullied? How will you

advise young people of today who are victims of bullying? What would you want to say to them?

A: Always do what is right and true, remain poised and dignified,

and talk to someone about the situation. It is important to understand that the reasons for selecting victims are often arbitrary, like the girls on Top Model said I was criticized for the way I spoke. Differences make others interesting. Suffering from such intolerance is a fault of the bully, and something they require assistance for. It is important to speak to someone about the issue, and continue reporting any further offences, because many others are often experiencing a similar situation.

Q: Moving on from AuNTM is life after that. What do you consider to be your biggest achievement as a model?

A: As a model, the greatest achievement was probably being involved in a catwalk show for Harry Winston held in the tallest tower in the world, in Taipei.

Personally, the greatest modelling achievement was working with charities to promote humanitarian and environmental causes. It is a great honour for these organisations to seek my involvement, and my commitment to their objectives is likely to last long after my career as a model.

Q: What else would your aspirations be? A: I am really enjoying university, studying a double degree in

Environmental Law. After modelling overseas for several years, the work became repetitive and I decided to focus pursuing my activist interests. I still enjoy being involved in select shoots that are in some way challenging or inspiring. Ultimately though, I would like to work with charities as a lawyer assisting cases that are morally important. There are many areas of animal rights

that are presently concerning including whaling, cock fighting, and the bear bile industry. My aspiration is to assist both animals and humans in disadvantaged situations.

Q: Who are the people in the field that you look up to? A: I admire models such as Twiggy that refuse to wear fur, because of the

unnecessary cruelty of the industry. Others that I admire are generally unconventional individuals, in various fields, with a genuine devotion to their work. They may be lawyers, environmentalists, or lecturers that are opinionated and passionate about what they believe in.

Q: What’s something about yourself not a lot of people know about? A: I changed my name when I was young. I grew up with alternative

parents, in Byron Bay. They wanted so many middle names they could not all fit on the birth certificate. I ended up with 6 names from as many ethnic origins, and often forgot how to spell half of them. So when I travelled to India when I was 12 I heard this Sanskrit name, and from then on became known as Alamela.

Q: If you weren’t into modelling, where would you be? A: A very difficult question to answer, I suppose I would have done better in my final year of high school and received the marks required for admission into a Veterinary Medicine degree. After graduating, I would probably have become involved in animal rights work overseas. That is similar to my current aspirations, although more isolated to assisting individual cases rather than permanently altering the industry though law reform.

Q: Define beautiful? What is beauty for you? A: Beautiful is something that imparts inspiration, a connection between a quality of something and the passions of an individual. For me, that means beauty must have inherent decency. Something loses its capacity to be beautiful when it is corrupted, in the same way that an unpleasant model becomes physically unappealing because of their demeanour.

Q: Any words of advice for anyone who wants to be a model? A: For those that want to become models, understand that everyone in

the industry is pretty. There are certain statistics that are conventionally required, such as a slender and tall form, and attractive countenance, and beyond that it is important to have something special that you bring to work. While it is not required that you conform to every specification of the industry, it does make pursuing a modelling career far easier. Always act professionally, while maintaining your personal standards. Help others, rather than criticizing the competition. Everything you achieve means far more when you make it on your own merit, others will admire that, and that creates lasting success.

MODEL FEATURE

Victor Heliodor Interviewed by: Adrian Gonzales

Q: How did you get started with modeling? What was the experience like?

A: I was doing the lead part in a Swedish movie called Gaffa Tejp as a teenager. It was never a huge success but it was my inspiration to go to London for acting studies! 

Soon I realized I get more work as a model and I was based in London for one year before I went to Shanghai for the first time. I’ve been working in many countries traveling all over Europe, Asia and America.

Q: You’ve been featured in a variety of editorials and magazines for different photographers, which of them do you consider to be the most memorable?

A: I have done  editorials for major magazines covering high

end brands including DKNY, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Dior, Aquascutum to mention a few. In my book you find tear sheets from magazines such as Esquire, Maxim, Marie Claire, Billionaire, Statement, Sense & Style, Uno, Chalk and many more.

Q: Are there modeling jobs you prefer over others, or are you the kind to want to be an all around model?

A: I do all kind of work but I prefer editorials as it always shows

different sides of me. Campaigns and print ads could often be a few images but well paid.

Q: Modeling is a job that requires you to go from one place to another, so out of curiosity, how do you go about traveling?

A: By traveling for years I’m used to not having a home of my own and

it’s part of my profession. When I’m going to one country I pack my

bags for all kind of weather as I don’t know where I’m heading next.  During last year I was in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Sweden, Tunisia, Greece, Turkey and Mexico. When I received your questions I was working in New York.

Q: How does it make you feel when photographers book you as

their muse? Were there instances you did not want to work with someone but had to?

A: Many of the phoptographers and clients I’ve worked with

keep booking me again even when I’m in another country. Last year clients I’ve met before did fly me in to Greece for a direct booking. I’ve never been forced to do work I don’t like and my intention is always to do by best even when it comes to projects I find less inspiring. 

Q: As a model, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

A: It’s always new projects coming up. At the moment I

have the Sears campaign all over Mexico. In Istanbul I’m the face of a music video broadcasted by many different channels at national television. My shoot for Statement magazine ended up showcased at an exhibition in New York. In many countries I’m known as an editorial model but I do commercial projects as well. 

Q: What else do you wish to achieve? A: I want to try out the movie business which I did while modeling in New York.

Q: Have you done runway modeling too? How different is it from

being an editorial model? What specifications do designers have that are solely applicable for runway modeling?

A: I’m not doing a lot of runway and it’s less paid than most photo

sessions. To make money from runway you need to do shows all the time. When I was in Istanbul they kept booking me for shows including sports wear such as Nike and Puma but it’s not the line of work I usually do. 

Q: How do you see modeling as a whole? A means of living? An art? And why?

A: Modeling is an art while working with professional artists

among photographers and stylists but it could also be pure commercial depending on the clients. It’s always inspiring to work with clients who has an artistic point of view no matter what the shoot is for.

Q: Finally, what would be your message to anyone out there who would want to follow the same path as you?

A: Modeling is not really a profession you choose. If opportunities

comes up you have to take it but it’s not a profession you could learn and study. To work as a model it’s important you’re confident about yourself but with an open mind so you’re able to listen to andunderstand people in the industry.

MODEL FEATURE

David Kyung-min Sheldrick Interviewed by: Adrian Gonzales

Q: First off, how did you get involved in the field of modeling?

A: I started modelling because when

I was younger, I was unhappy with how I was, and wanted to be one of the ‘popular,’   ’good looking’ people which I never was back then. I wanted to improve myself and that was my drive. I had an idol, Daniel Henney, who was my inspiration. As a half Korean myself, I saw this guy and I wanted to be like him. I went around trying to get a few photos from everyone — friends, photography students, and going through websites to find other photographers — anyone who practiced the field. With not much luck, I started giving up to pursue other things. I had moved to Korea and decided to help my uncle out with a new photography studio he was building then. I ended up working there as a retoucher, and eventually a photographer. From time to time, I’d be looking at fashion related websites, and I so luckily came across a Benetton Global Casting while checking a fashion blog which I regularly visited. Out of interest, I signed up and within a few days, I was voted “number 1” in the competition. It was then when everything started to turn around for me.

Q: You have modeled for both Burberry and Benetton! Wow! How did you get into that, and what was the experience like?

A: I got into Benetton through the competition earlier.

which

I

mentioned

Burberry came later as an advertorial in Thailand, for Harpers Bazaar. Some people from Thailand and all over Asia were contacting me for work, and trying to get in touch with me as a result of the Benetton campaign. The people from Thailand came over to Korea to visit me, and persuaded me to come with flights and hotel reservations all included! While there, I also got to do a shoot for an episode of Thailand Society, which is aired at the Thai Global network.

Q: I also read somewhere that you were featured in W Magazine and Nylon. Would you kindly tell us more about it?

A: I was featured in W magazine because of the Benetton campaign. In Korea, after all the success I experienced as a model, I then got invited to a lot of exclusive parties and events, with press and paparazzi being there. I popped up in a lot of the nightlife and event photos which is also featured in the pages of the magazines. Q: What other magazines have you been a part of? A: There’s been a lot, but the ones I can recall at the top of my head would be‌ W Magazine, Korea D Magazine, Italy Cosmopolitan Magazine, Chile Cosmopolitan Magazine, Korea Dazed and Confused, Korea Nylon Magazine, Korea Seventeen Magazine, Thailand Kazz Magazine, Thailand Candy Magazine, Thailand Hi! Magazine, Thailand

Harpers Bazaar Magazine, Thailand

Q: What do you think is your strongest suit as a model? A: I definitely feel like I am commercial, but I would love to do

and be more of a fashion and editorial model just because of the prestige attached. I would take any opportunity to do any type of modelling with photographers and other creatives whose work/s I admire.

Q: Where do you currently stay? How do you go about traveling as an international model?

A: I am currently in Germany, Berlin while doing an interview as well as living in London for the next few years I think. I would definitely travel if anyone was giving me a free ticket haha! However, I have really turned my focus towards fashion photography recently (more than modeling), and one of the ‘edge’s’ that I have over other photographers is that I have the amazing city of London as a backdrop!

Q: What do you think is your best feature? How do you use this to your advantage in being a model?

A: My favourite physical feature is probably my hair. I love playing around with it and seeing what crazy things I can do with it! I think my best feature personality-wise is my creativity, I am always trying to break the rules, thinking outside of the box, and trying to create something others have never seen before. 

Q: Who do you look up to in the field of modeling and fashion? Why are they your idols?

A: I look up to Mario Testino  — he is the GOD of fashion

photography. My favourite model must be Daniel Henney as I would never have built up the courage to put myself out there, if he had not done it first.

Q: What is your most memorable experience in the field? A: Most definitely flying to New York to shoot the Benetton campaign. That was my Cinderella story.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest achievement in the field? Your greatest achievement in life? And what else do you want to accomplish?

A: My greatest achievement in the field for me would be working

with Burberry, and collectively, all the work I have done to get up to that point. In life, meeting and making the great friends that I have to this day and will keep until I die, as all my accomplishments mean nothing without having people to truly share them with. I am winding down as a model now and my next goal is to become an agency signed fashion photographer in central London, and to become one of the best photographers in the world.

Q: Finally, any last words to people who would want to go the same path you do.

A: Dream big, because its the only way to dream. Work hard, because its the only way to make them come true.

“Burn so bright that you light the candles of others.”  — David Sheldrick

BOOK REVIEWS

Book Harlot Riot out of the Writing Room by Airiz Casta Writers Gone Wild The Feuds, Frolics, and Follies of Literature’s Great Adventurers, Drunkards, Lovers, Iconoclasts, and Misanthropes. by Bill Peschel Everybody knows that skeletons of the past fill up an average person’s closet, usually up to the brim. When I got my hands on this gossipy compendium of anecdotes centering mostly on the foibles of a bunch of well-known, well-loved wordsmiths, I was given a peep through the keyholes of their closets. That’s when I realized that some people’s closets are not only choked with ghosts of yesterday, they also provide portals to places that are way crazier than Wonderland or Narnia. But this is non-fiction. I’ve always known that most writers are bonkers—it’s almost like a requirement actually—but that didn’t stop the pin of my Insanity Meter to go totally haywire while flipping the pages of this book. For so many years some of these writers worked hard to inflate their literary brainchildren to life, fleshing out characters to a 3D fullness. A little did they know, even little bits of their lives make the best stories ever, and they themselves are insanely amazing characters. Incredibly intriguing, addictive, and awe-inspiring, Writers Gone Wild is a gem that literature buffs will surely love.

From the author info in the book I learned that Bill Peschel is a copy editor and layout designer(?) at the  Harrisburg Patriot-News, and that he loves collecting weird and wild stories. Being written by someone who’s got some journalistic background is a reassuring fact that these stories have credibility. With his cool and simple writing tone, the reading is made more enjoyable. Here we get to see Franz Kafka’s ‘Kurious Kollection’ of porn materials, Philip K. Dick’s prophetic visions, Virginia Woolf sneaking onto a Royal Navy ship disguised as an Abyssinian Prince, Sylvia Plath bitekissing Ted Hughes on their first meeting in a literary party, Theodore Dreiser resigning from a newspaper company after fakereviewing a performance that has been cancelled, and many more. For a few more teasers I’d like to share a few direct lines from the book: *Of his many affairs with both sexes, and even with his half-sister Augusta,

Byron by far preferred teenage boys. But he had to be careful expressing his desire. Before publishing his love poems, he carefully changed the pronouns from masculine to feminine. *F. Scott Fitzgerald liked champagne or gin, but when he was trying to cut back would limit himself to thirty bottles of beer. A day. *When Shakespeare found love, it certainly wasn’t with his wife, Anne. At his death he left her only “my second best bed with the furniture.” While some biographers have tried to put a positive spin on it, it should be noted that in his first draft of the will, he didn’t mention his wife at all. *Chekhov’s funeral was anything but serious. The procession to the graveyard crossed paths with the funeral cortege of a Russian general, and some mourners ended up following the wrong body. All in all this is a fun, juicy romp through the lives of the authors that most of us loved during our high school days.

Caffeinated Rebel Unleashed by Airiz Casta Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn After reading the Cohn-Levithan collabs Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No-Kiss List, I developed some sort of thirst for reading something that is written solo by Rachel Cohn. I’m no stranger to David Levithan’s solo books (Boy Meets Boy, The Realm of Possibility, The Lover’s Dictionary, etc) so I recognize his distinctive writing prowess even if he’s working with partners. Gingerbread is the first book that quenched the said thirst, and after finishing it, I think it’s safe to conclude that the best thing about Cohn is that she has a special way of molding unforgettable main characters that resonate with many young readers. Meet Cyd Charisse: a ragdoll-toting, exshoplifting, and well-caffeinated sixteenyear-old girl fresh from being kicked out of her posh boarding school. She’s that lovely but spunky punk next door who has a penchant for carving patterns on her skin with a razor and an innate need to go wild. When her rebelliousness gets seriously out of hand, her parents have no other

choice but to send her off to New York City and spend three weeks there with her biological dad, Frank. Cyd’s perfect image of a fantasy relationship with her bio-dad and half-sibs starts to crumble when the real thing is thrown to her face… Plot-wise, there isn’t much that happened in the book. It reads like an informal journal of a very snarky antiheroine who’s dealing with commonplace teen problems. Honestly, I find the first half of this book a tad slow. I’m trying to figure out if Cohn is setting up a wiggle room for character development or she’s just letting the readers delve deeper into Cyd Charisse’s cranium of not-so-clean-buthonest thoughts. I learned by the end of the novel that it’s both, since the readers can easily tell how Cyd has grown a lot after she comes back from New York. Readers who are familiar with Norah Silverberg (from N&NIP) will notice that her traits are somewhat channeled to Cyd Charisse, though the latter is not a music geek and her potty mouth is sealed with a filter. There’s a lot that she bellyaches about, her hormones meter usually explodes under the slightest “hunk” pressure, and most of her thoughts are extremely obnoxious. Then here comes

the dichotomy factor: there is something in her that will magnetize a portion of the readers’ hearts—especially if they are young girls. I think it’s the same way a lot of readers don’t like Holden Caulfield yet there are still legions who can relate to him in a deeper level: they are recognizing something in that character that reminds them of themselves. Usually, this “something” is not nice, and characters that mirror such things are commonly tagged as unlikable. The supporting characters, like the plot, are generic. The clichéd portrait of a dysfunctional family is there, with each member not inflated into weighty fullness. They’re not exactly cardboard cutouts, but they’re still shy of a couple of big steps from being considered well-fleshed out. As for the themes, it’s all about the teenage life. Family misunderstandings, peer pressure, romance, and serious repercussions of being careless in sexual relationships are touched. But since this is a coming-of-age novel, finding one’s true self and growing up are at the apex of it all. I did not enjoy did as much as I did Nick and Norah’s, but it’s entertaining enough to make me want to grab the next book in the series, Shrimp.

MOVIE REVIEW Neck Deep in Shit by Don Jaucian  Ang Babae sa Septic Tank (2011)  D: Marlon Rivera  S: Eugene Domingo, Kean Cipriano, J.M. De Guzman, Cai Cortez Ang Babae sa Septic Tank starts with trash, or specifically, shit. There’s a shot of a girl pooping in a dumpsite while a poor kitty strays just beneath her bum, smelling the package that she just unloaded. For the film’s entire running time, we see a lot of shit happen unfold on screen. But it’s not the kind of shit that you think. And just by the number of the word “shit” in the first paragraph of this review you’ll probably get the notion that Ang Babae sa Septic Tank is all about shit, and it’s pretty much true. To ambitious filmmakers Bingbong and Ranier, making a film with a decent narrative and clear cut directing is not enough. It has to be an international film fest bait. (“Ang indie filmmakers ngayon parang tourists!” says one of the film’s characters.) That’s why for their “ambitious” film,  Walang Wala  centers on squalor so gritty it clings to your skin. The houses are so close, they almost collide into each other.  In a way, the entire setting is the sea of poverty porn films in today’s film industry. They’re too many you can’t even distinguish them from one another. They also almost use the same actors, something that  Septic Tank  showed when the filmmakers were discussing who to cast for their lead actress, choosing among the three most in demand “indie” actresses: Cherry Pie Picache (“Too mestiza!”), Mercedes Cabral (“Is it believable that she has seven children?”), and Eugene Domingo. Of course, they pick Domingo, on the basis that she looks dirt poor. Hinting on the pedigree and make of numerous poverty porn films,

especially the ones that have garnered attention abroad, the filmmakers in  Septic Tankexhausts all the possible treatments, the cliched ones anyway, to make their story, in the words of poster blurbs, “hard-hitting,” “poignant,” and “gripping.” The movie turns into a badly lit neo-realist film (“The shakier the camera, the better!), a musical, and a vehicle for product placements and endless overacting (which Domingo calls “TV Patrol acting”). Septic Tank  warrants an extensive discussion about the state of independent filmmaking in the country. They use the word “indie” too many times you’d think

it’s a mantra that will magically qualify their film for the Oscars. Is it a topic too taboo for the entire film industry that the only way to talk about it is to make fun of it? Martinez and Rivera succeeds in this light, armed with a script (written by Martinez) so hilarious your lungs will probably do a, to quote Thysz Estrada, J. Lo (On the Floor), from laughing at pretty much everything that these bastards say. But  despite the numerous gags and witty one-liners you know it has something to say about independent cinema and filmmaking itself that makes you uncomfortable your only resort is to laugh at it.

Mysterious Skin  by Don Jaucian and Jansen Musico Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (2011) D: Alvin Yapan  S: Jean Garcia, Rocco Nacino, Paulo Avelino To dismiss  Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa  (The Dance of Two Left Feet)  solely as a gay film is to do it disservice. It is much more than that. It is a film that takes on gender roles and how dance and the little gestures that build it become a means of communication and sexual expression, and an exploration of the interplay between the people engaged in it. Sayaw  follows three individuals:

Karen (Jean Garcia), a professor of literature who sidelines as a classical dance instructor, and her two students. The first is Marlon (Paulo Avelino), a well-to-do guy who enrolls himself in her dance class to get her attention, and the other is Dennis (Rocco Nacino), Karen’s apprentice who secretly teaches Marlon the dances on the side. Their stories are interwoven, each so carefully told and fused through words, form, and movement. Art binds the three.  There are hardly ever overt displays of physical or verbal intimacy.  It’s solely in the medium in which they scream their innermost longings. The relationship between Marlon and Dennis isn’t overtly pronounced.

Their glances and gestures, particularly during their dances, are charged with tension so sharp it slices the atmosphere between them. Marlon uses movement to express his longing for Dennis, how the kineticism of each touch, slide and grasp depicts his all consuming desire.  Karen emerges as their guide, an orchestrator who never imposes herself. She embodies the feminist poetry she teaches and merely aims to reveal what is naturally there, a hidden passion so palpable it gives weight to each step and stance of their performances. Though she might be subjected to the gazes of both Marlon and the audience, she averts them, by revealing herself as not an object of desire, but an independent subject driven by her own principles. There are moments in which Karen seems most vulnerable. Coincidentally both scenes occur in front of mirrors. Here the filmmakers effectively break any imposing gaze and reveal nothing but the characters themselves. But more importantly,  Sayaw  deals with artistic pursuit and the state of artists in a third-world country. Set in the FEU campus, which is home to art deco architecture, the film perfectly melds poetry and dance into an everyday setting, questioning the place of art and its role in our lives. The film also centers on how the arts are taught in a country where such subjects are relegated to the sidelines. If there’s an abundance of romanticism that happens in the film, it is mostly focused on poetry, dance, and art rather than the non-love affair between the two male leads. Dennis, Marlon, and Karen are transfigured into a means of conveying a love affair with the arts, lovingly enunciating each word in every poem, every turn and sleight of hand evoking a torrent of emotions any of them will never get to say.  Sayaw  is a technically proficient film.  The scenes are edited tightly and the dance sequences, choreographed by Eli Jacinto, are nicely shot, which is almost an achievement itself. The film resolves to be a ravishing waltz into the burning fires of desire; you can actually feel the anguish that each of the leads feel. Ultimately,  Sayaw  is a cultural triumph, highlighting the achievements of Filipinos in the poetry, architecture, and dance.

Tropical Maladies by Don Jaucian Busong (Palawan Fate, 2011) D: Auraeus Solito C: Alessandra de Rossi, Bonevie Budao, Clifford Banagale, Rodrigo Santikan, Dax Alejandro, Walter Arenio Despite the serene cadence of nature in Busong, there is a deep threat that slowly slips through the stones on the shore and the leaves of the trees, manifesting in strange shapes and forms: the sound of chainsaws gnawing the air, abandoned huts infested with death, and smokestacks towering against the forests and mountains. But the majesty of Palawan, Solito’s homeland, eventually extends its limbs to stir the desolation that is slowly creeping up, threatening to eradicate its long-neglected, almost near-mythic heritage. The three interwoven tales of Busong may seem like bedtime story fodder at first (Solito based these on the stories that his mother told him during his childhood). They are, after all, cautionary tales grounded by the titular Palaw’an concept of instant karma. Each of the characters trip, break, and dive into their uncertain fates, guided by their own fractured sense of direction. They move in spasms, struggling, walking barefoot while the

sharp rocks underneath their feet peel away the unspoken definites. Solito uses these characters to draw a portrait of Palawan’s past, present, and future. But it is with Aris (Banagale) that we see Solito, desperate to do what he can to save his homeland. In one haunting moment, we realize that the chant that we have been hearing throughout the entire film is nothing but a ghost, a hollowedout replication swimming in the reverie of a glorious past where trees sang and the skies echoed the grace of the universe. Busong, underneath all its beauty, is a lament, almost an elegy to Palawan’s fading glory, a land that is slowly spoiled by the Invading Arm of the Occident, the stone-

cold march of progress and generational apathy and amnesia. Punay’s mysterious wounds are nothing but a symptoms of the ills that plague, not only Palawan, but our entire collective consciousness. If only they could be exorcised by a shamanistic ritual. Drenched in melancholy and spiritual recollection, Busong’s ravishing core isn’t the simple intervention of spells and magic but the strong hold of these little folktales to our communal struggle. Because most of the time, it is through myth and legend that we understand our history, where figures are carved from exaggerated imaginings and values sifted through urban legends and cycles.

B

“ eing an artist isn’t all about talent in skill, it’s about having the courage to create and to challenge. Observe more, research, immerse yourself in the beautiful and the ugly, go out and meet lots of people. Open your eyes and be kind and the world will be kind to you.”

V

Valerie Chua

Q: What inspires you with you water colored works? My month’s stay in Fukuoka was incredibly life changing How different is it from other artworks that you do?

A: Nature, fashion and everyday objects inspire me. I used to do larger acrylic works in the past. They’re slightly darker and edgier although right now I’m leaning towards simple watercolor works.

Q: Why do you choose watercolor as your medium?

especially towards my art. I got to know the Mori Girl subculture and life there is really simple. I want to bring back that elusive feeling through my work. I guess that as long as I yearn for it, it will be difficult for me to part from this theme.

Q: What do you consider to be the greatest achievement as an artist?

A: I can’t seem to pinpoint one instance but getting A: I think my answer might be a little shallow but I noticed, published and scouted for projects, big use watercolor because I don’t have the patience for thicker mediums. I like how the effects and results are immediate when you use watercolor. I also admire East Asian artists and their use of watercolor: accidental yet precise, thin washes and fine lines. This is probably one of my influences and eventually I learned how to infuse my style with the medium.

Q: Your works seem to depict women in such a

graceful, delicate manner? Do you have a particular reason for this? Would you ever come up with a work that’s the complete opposite of what you do?

A: I used to do dark collage works mixed with acrylic

back in college. I think they’re very much different from the stuff I do now. I’ll probably revisit it when I have more time to play around with mediums in the future.

or small, and meeting new people is already an achievement for me. I’ve always thought that I’d never make it because I don’t have an arts education and sometimes I still feel nervous about it but I’m really thankful that I’ve made it this far.

Q: What advices would you give to someone who’s beginning in the field?

A: If you want to be an artist, just keep practicing and

keep working hard. Being an artist isn’t all about talent in skill, it’s about having the courage to create and to challenge. Observe more, research, immerse yourself in the beautiful and the ugly, go out and meet lots of people. Open your eyes and be kind and the world will be kind to you.

STYLE FEATURE

Keita Lee

Style Inspirations: Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Rain (Bi), SHINee, Super Junior, Yuya Matsushita Shopping Spots: Topman, Zara, Uniqlo

STYLE FEATURE

Lanz Olegario FASHION INSPIRATION: David Guison, Paul Jatayna,korean fashion especially SHINee. SHOPPING SPOT: Topman and Folded & Hung

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