Piolo Pascual returns to the ‘teleserye’

Piolo Pascual returns to the ‘teleserye’
Piolo Pascual is now filming a TV drama series. —PHOTO FROM PIOLO PASCUAL'S INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT

Cinema is transforming, and actor-producer Piolo Pascual hopes that Filipino filmmakers are ready for the changes.

Unlike the naysayers who predict the death of the cinema, Piolo would rather view recent developments in the film industry as a transformation. Developments in technology, the economy, and the attitudes and habits of the movie-going public are dictating these changes.

“Storytelling has been there since the beginning of civilization. There will always be the hunger for stories,” Piolo said in a conversation with this writer on the set of his television drama that is being filmed in Baguio City. (Disclosure: This writer is also a member of the cast.)

What will change are the instruments and methods by which these stories are told and the platforms to view the products, he said, and then proceeded to run through the developments in technology from film cameras to tapes to the current digital cameras. 

Then, there is also the changing relationship between filmmakers and the audience, Piolo said.

“Everyone with a smartphone can vlog, upload it online for their ‘viewers’ or ‘subscribers.’ The audience has become a content creator,” the pop actor mused. “But there will always be a demand for more organized, better produced storytelling.

Back in the cinemas

Piolo cited the box-office results of the last Metro Manila Film Festival in which the film “Rewind” earned over P1 billion, making it the biggest earning movie in recent Philippine movie history. Four other films made a big leap in receipts after the awards night: the critically acclaimed historical film “GomBurZa,” the horror film “Mallari” (which stars Piolo), the family drama “Firefly,” and the Sharon Cuneta-Alden Richards starrer “Family of Two.”

The awards garnered by both “GomBurZa” and “Firefly” were instrumental in the box-office boost.

“In the past, only the top two or three films earned in the millions, but in the last festival, people came to the cinema to watch. They just wanted good content to make it worth their hard-earned money,” Piolo pointed out.

The price of an admission ticket has risen to as much as P400—“prohibitive for minimum-wage earners who comprise a large part of the movie-going public,” Piolo said. But filmmakers and producers cannot just reduce the ticket price, he said, adding that the government should initiate reforms, like removing the entertainment tax and providing incentives to filmmakers.

Piolo noted that with the emergence of streaming platforms—now making films and other audiovisual contents accessible to viewers on mobile phones and laptops at any time—the movie-going habit has been changing.

“Watching movies will then be an event. The cinema will be transformed into a huge events place—like in a premiere night—for that collective experience of being in a dark room where larger-than-life characters speak to us to share their story,” said Piolo, who co-owns the production outfit Spring Films.

Back on TV

Piolo is currently filming “Pamilya Sagrado” for Dreamscape Entertainment, his TV home studio. He was last seen in 2022 in “Flower of Evil.” 

In this teleserye, he plays a member of a fraternity entangled in conflict with his family. “It will be about fraternity, brotherhood, family.

“What will prevail—love, loyalty, or justice?” he said. “I have always wanted to do something on fraternities. There is a culture there that binds its members, almost in a way a family does.” 

According to Piolo, “Pamilya Sagrado” was the last project greenlighted by the late Deo Endrinal, who led Dreamscape until his death last February.

Piolo’s only request when he was offered the project—a request that was granted—was for it to be shot in Baguio. “Why not Baguio?” he said. “The weather is good, and the lock-in setup will help foster a stronger bond among cast members, which is necessary for the story.”

Joining him in the cast are Tirso Cruz III (the recently resigned chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines), Mylene Dizon, Kyle Echarri, John Arcilla, Carlos Siguion Reyna, Shaina Magdayao, Aiko Melendrez, and Rosanna Roces, among many others. The series is jointly directed by Law Fajardo and Andoy Ranay.

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