VIVA Entertainment is churning off so many new movies every week, both for the theatres and also for streaming. So it’s not surprising that they giving breaks to a lot of new directors. One of them is Rainier Brizuela who gets to meg his first Viva movie in “Video City”, showing in theaters on September 20.
Only 30 years old, he started directing while still taking up multi-media arts with Mapua, where he is now also teaching. In 2016, he made his first short film, “Dayuhan sa Perlas”, which won as best online short film in the CineFilipino Filmfest. Later that year also, he made his first full length film, “Memory Channel”. He says it’s an experimental film starring singer Gerald Santos and Eppy Quizon. It was nominated in the Filipino New Cinema Festival of the FDCP then under Briccio Santos.
In 2018, he joined Cinema One Filmfest and his entry, “Asuang” starring Alwyn Uytingco, got nominated for best picture and best direction. In 2021, during the pandemic, Viva gave him the chance to direct Janno Gibbs in the fantasy comedy, “Mang Jose”, which was streamed on Vivamax.
He also directed “Puto, the TV Series” for Viva TV starring McCoy de Leon. Now, he’s very happy that he has a movie to be shown in cinemas nationwide. How did he conceive of “Video City”, which is about time travel?
“I grew up watching movies I rented from Video City sa amin sa Navotas,” he says. “The first movie I rented was ‘Kailangan Kita’ with Robin Padilla and Regine Velasquez. Nagka-crush ako sa isang attendant doon when I was a kid and in high school, I was wondering kung nasaan na kaya siya. I was thinking ano kaya may time travel at makabalik ako sa panahong nagre-rent pa ako ng movies sa Video City na wala na ngayon. So doon, nagsimula ang concept for our movie.”
His lead character is Han, played by Ruru Madrid, a young filmmaker who presses a video player that suddenly transports him to 1995 where he meets Yassi Pressman as Ningning, an attendant in Video City then with whom he falls in love.
“The movie is a nostalgic trip down memory lane when we lived a more simple life na walang social media and other gadgets,” says Direk Raynier. “It’s a light hearted romantic drama and love story about two people who come from two different eras.”
How did he cast the film? “Si Yassi came from Viva, then when they collaborated with GMA, ibinigay sa amin si Ruru and I’m so happy kasi I think they’re just perfect for their roles.”
It’s their first time to work with each other and he is thankful that they both trusted him even if he’s a relatively new filmmaker. “Pareho silang masayang katrabaho and they both liked the simplicity of the material. They’re both so dedicated to their roles. Ang original title namin dito is ‘Be Kind, Please Rewind’, which was the original tagline ng Video City kasi yung ibang nagre-rent noon, hindi nire-rewind yung videotapes na hinihiram nila. Bagay sa story ng movie, kasi nagre-rewind kami back to the 1990s.”
Viva bosses have seen a full preview of “Video City” and are said to be happy with the finished film. No wonder they’re asking Direk Raynier to prepare more new projects for them. Also in “Video City” are Soliman Cruz and Yvette Sanchez as the parents of Ruru, and comedians Chad Kinis and TJ Valderrama as Yassi’s co-workers in the video shop.