Leah Salterio

CC makes directorial debut under family-run outfit

May 21, 2024 Leah C. Salterio 121 views
CC Camarillo at the helm of the romance-drama, Chances Are, You and I
Director CC Camarillo (second from right) with the cast of Chances Are, You and I and writer Ellis Camarillo

ABS-CBN’s TV director, Catherine Camarillo, took more than two decades working at the helm of projects for the small screen. She also assisted veteran directors in their films, where she worked as assistant director.

Camarillo was commissioned to do a youth-oriented series, “Taraji” on iWant TFC that featured young talents. Her last project on TV was ABS-CBN’s drama series, “Halik” (2018).

“After that, I concentrated on my production outfit, Pocket Media Productions, which releases our debut offering, the romance-drama, Chances Are, You and I, Camarillo told ABS-CBN News. “But we finished three films already, the two others have yet to be shown.”

Chances Are, You and I, Camarillo’s directorial debut, started pre-production in 2021. November that year, the production started filming in Manila. February 2022, the production went to Seoul, Korea to film some scenes there in the end of winter.

“We really braved and battled the weather in February 2022 in Korea,” said Camarillo. There were 33 of us who went to Korea to shoot. We had seven Korean counterparts.

The Seoul Film Commission supported and assisted them while filming in Korea. “When they read our content, their enthusiasm to support us was great,” Camarillo allowed. “They e-mailed us. They gave us everything we needed. They asked us where we exactly wanted to film.”

Understandably, some of the familiar sites in Seoul, like the Namsan Tower with the lock keys, were previously used in past films. “I chose particularly the unique areas where the audience will see new sites,” Camarillo offered.

“There were other areas which have not been tapped. Those areas were what I explored in the shoot.”

Camarillo intended to showcase ‘Chances Are, You and I’ in the streaming platform initially. “But when I saw the clamor of our film industry to have a theatrical run to support the industry, we thought of braving it even if films nowadays are not really making money.

“When I saw the picture lock, the entirety of the film really deserves to be shown in big theaters. It’s really disappointing if we will not get to show Chances Are, You and I in theaters. Natawag pa akong filmmaker. Hopefully, people will appreciate it more once they see the film on the big screen.”

After the theatrical release that will start May 29, ‘Chances Are, You and I’ will also be seen on streaming platforms eventually, according to Camarillo.

It only took a matter of time for Camarillo to direct for the big screen. For a long time, she worked with veteran directors such as Chito Roño, Laurice Guillen and Joyce Bernal.

“I’m very used to watching films together with them,” Camarillo granted. “To see my film on the big screen is in my bucket list. That was why when the pandemic came and everyone stopped watching movies in theaters, that was really disappointing for me.

“No more premiere nights where people came in droves to the theaters. They were lining up for hours outside. Not seeing that anymore today really makes me sad.

“I don’t want to feel bad for our film industry. I know as long as there are passionate people who really want to make the industry alive, we will be here to support them. I join them in supporting our local film industry.”

Camarillo’s 27-year-old daughter, Ellis, wrote the story of Chances are, You and I, which surprised the mom herself.

“My daughter is a writer by heart,” Camarillo disclosed. “She really loves to write stories. When we out up our production outfit, Pocket Media Productions, I told the family, ‘Why not utilize our family members?’ I encouraged them.”

Camarillo’s family members eventually got involved working in “Chances Are, You and I.” She functions as executive producer. Her husband is the finance head, while administrative head is her sister.

Paralegal is her lawyer-son who drafted all the contracts. Third daughter, Ellis, was the screenwriter. Caterer was her eldest daughter, who is a chef. The youngest, although not involved in the production, is a performing arts major at College of St. Benilde.

“Other than ask other people to work on the outfit, let’s utilize what we have,” Camarillo said. “This film has become a family affair. Surprisingly, after I read the script, I was so amazed at the story my daughter came up with.

“I asked her where she got the story. Who inspired her. The story about two persons who have the same terminal illness. They were fated to meet teach other and then, they take their chances on how to chase their happiness in life and how to fulfill their commitment later on.”

Ellis, meanwhile, did not expect that Camarillo would interpret her daughter’s story on the big screen like the latter did. “The vision I wanted for my script was translated into visual,” the daughter said. “I thanked her and it was overwhelming to hear it from Ellis.”

The story of Chances Are, You and I hews closely to previous Hollywood releases like director Josh Boone’s The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and Justin Baldoni’s Five Feet Apart (2019).

Chances Are, You and I will be screened at the Jinseo Arigato International Film Festival on May 24 and 25 in Japan. Cast and crew are slated to leave for Japan.

“This will tackle more on the relationship of the family,” Camarillo pointed out. “It’s so different because we particularly centered on individuals who search for their peace and love among their family. This is about reconciliation of people.”

Camarillo personally handpicked her two young leads – Kelvin Miranda and Kira Balinger – to play the characters in Chances Are, You and I.

“Their vision may be two polar opposites, about love and about life,” Camarillo said. “But later on, the decision and choices that they made will really encapsulate their journey in the future. You can relate to the young couple, in a way.

“Their chemistry is undeniable. They were both very serious in their craft. They love their characters. They didn’t give me problems not a hard time. It was very easy to work with them. It didn’t become my problem to explain to them the scenes they will do.”

Camarillo made sure she injected Filipino flavor in the story even if it was shot in Korea. “In a way, a similar story is happening to somebody close to us,” the director said. “Our screenplay and our film will touch on this story and our Filipino viewers can relate.”

From the three veteran megmen Camarillo previously worked with, she shared lessons to live by when she worked with them.

From Chito Roño, direk CC learned to pay particular attention to details. From Laurice Guillen, she insisted to know the limits, the capacity and potential of her artists. From Joyce Bernal, direk CC learned to embrace the humor in the story.

“You have to at least blend everything so the scenes will be balanced, not too heavy drama or comedy,” Camarillo explained. “You have the balance everything. The three directors that I worked with, they contributed a lot to my personality.

“The way I exercise my profession right now as a director and, of course, ABS-CBN. I work with them for a long time now. That’s 25 years. I started as assistant director with Star Cinema, then I had directing jobs for TV.”

The supporting cast of Chances Are, You and I includes Ina Feleo, Al Tantay, Gian Magdangal, Tart Carlos and introducing Jinho Bae.

The film delves into the lives of young individuals grappling with terminal illness, questioning the possibility of finding happiness amid the looming specter of death.