Real Florido’s 'Bakit Di Mo Sabihin' | A film about deafness that heeds to be heard
Amidst the noise of today’s content congested digital and pandemic-stricken world, it is a daunting task to tell a story that will stand out. Real Florido’s new opus entitled, Bakit ‘Di Mo Sabihin (Tell Her), an official entry to this year’s Cinemalaya Film Festival intends to cut through the clutter by telling a marriage story that speaks loud even with the absence of spoken language, a film that will bring everyone to the world of the deaf.
Bakit ‘Di Mo Sabihin is a movie about a deaf couple, Miguel and Nat who are struggling to keep their marriage. After a huge fight, Miguel leaves his wife alone in Manila and decides to live in Baler with their kids. As he starts a new life, Miguel is reminded about the reasons why he married Nat by his family’s relentless stories about how modern a woman Nat is, and how he failed in so many ways to recognize that he fell in love with a younger deaf woman. One Christmas Eve, Miguel finally makes a move to tell Nat everything she needed to know. Miguel and Nat are played by two of today’s most acclaimed actors, JC De Vera and Janine Gutierrez respectively.
Real Florido, a screenwriter, award-winning director and producer is no stranger in the Cinemalaya competitions. He had his debut film in Cinemalaya 2014 with the internationally acclaimed full-length feature, 1st Ko Si 3rd and produced Iska by director Theodore Boborol, a film that later on raked accolades in different festivals and critics groups including the Best Actress plum for Ruby Ruiz in Harlem Film Festival. After producing, directing and writing for TV for the past 13 years, Real Florido focused on managing his own production company, Firestarters.
Asked about his intentions in making Bakit ‘Di Mo Sabihin, this is what Real Florido has to say,
“It amazes me how loud the deaf people can be when they are together, an irony of how we usually define their case as people who can’t hear or speak. With this film, I’d like to dabble into that world where no word is needed to say what you want and how you feel. And at the same time, it is harder to get resolve when you can’t find the right message to convey. I would like to create a portrait of this unique story of two people. I want to make a film that shows the beauty, pain, and chaos of love where no spoken words exist.”
The film was developed in 2018 according to Real Florido. “I got intrigued by the deaf people that I encountered. I haven’t really seen a full-length movie during that time that has fully used sign language. Incidentally, I had a casual conversation with a friend about this, she is Flo Reyes who also writes for TV. I found out that her parents are both deaf. So, it sparked something inspiring there,” the director further explained.
JC De Vera plays Migs a sign language teacher
Set in the beautiful and enigmatic shores and rock formations of Baler, the film boasts of a storytelling style that involves the interaction of the characters and its environment. It is the first time that Baler will be used as a location featuring the rock formations in Diguisit together with the sleepy town of San Luiz. Apart from using Filipino Sign Language in more or less 80% of the film’s duration, the characters also used the local accent that is unique to Balerianos.
In casting for the project, the executive producers Real Florido and RJ Agustin strongly considered inclusivity by doing a year-round audition for deaf actors. Together with the help of Jon Verzosa, Senior Creative and Casting Director, they were able to find hidden gems from the deaf community. One of them is Disney Aguila, an LGBTQIA+ advocate who played the role of Janine’s friend in the film and also the official translator and Filipino Sign Language or FSL coach. “We value inclusivity in any projects that we do in Firestarters, more importantly for this film that talks about a certain sector of our society. We want to empower them and we are hoping that this project will open doors for the deaf people to find more roles in the industry whether on-cam or off-cam,” said RJ Agustin, Executive Producer from Firestarters Productions Inc.
Nat (Janine Gutierrez) and Migs (JC de Vera)
Firestarters is a content production company known for creating award-winning film projects such as Iska, Kabisera and 1st Ko Si 3rd. The company also produced original content and series such as Ampalaya Chronicles, Wattpad Series, Kumusta Bro The Series, Habangbuhay and the soon-to-be-released documentary, Pilgrim: 500 Years of Catholic Faith in the Philippines.
Bakit ‘Di Mo Sabihin (Tell Her) will have its premiere in the Cinemalaya 18 starting this August 5 to 14 in CCP Theatres; August 10-17 in select partner cinemas; Aug. 22-29 in selected regional communities; and, Oct.17-31 via CCP Vimeo account.