Silence in the Red Light District of Manila
Interview with Writer/Director Matthew Victor Pastor
Congratulations! Why did you make this film?
Necessity. Outside of making films I don't have much of an identity. As a Filipino who has spent most of my life in Australia I am still figuring it out, but I need to make films. I've made many films that go unseen, just for me. I do think I made this particular film for an audience though.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
The artistic director of the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema told me "the airlines should show this film on flights full to sexpats heading into South East Asia." I think that is pretty good reason people should see I am JUPITER I am the BIGGEST PLANET.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
At the heart of this film it's a mother taking care of the family. Family is the universal theme. It's a personal for me because many moons ago someone told my father to go to Manila and find a wife, after his second divorce. My Dad was discriminated against for being half white European in 1940 Malaysia, and migrating to Australia to be called a "Chink". These days he's old school Aussie, Pauline Hanson supporter and all. He's a big influence on my writing. Despite Daddy's flaws I care deeply about him, and also recognise those flaws are also mine.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
"Silence in the Red Light District of Manila", has been the running synopsis since the final edit of the film. Originally the film had dialogue but I felt cutting it out at the script stage to make the film more interesting. The result is a lot of tension because without words tension builds. Also a thematic is built, as the people abused stay silent, so do the instigators who return to their families and stay silent.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
It's my least criticised film. It was made as part of the Victorian College of the Arts prestigious Masters program along only a small handful of other narrative films for 2015. It managed to win Best Director and the New Voice Award. I had a Filipino friend walk out of the cinema shaking. I'm not sure if that's a good response, but I'll take that as feedback.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I had the toughest year of my life post completing this movie. Are these the kind of films I make? Does anyone care? Why a filmmaker? I guess the feedback set off an existential crisis.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I think I want people to know the backstory. These questions cover a lot of ground. If people watch it and are confused they might use the Google machine. On this page they can find some answers. My work has a habit of being misunderstood...
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Anyone really. I'd also like this one very specific Australian-Asian Arts and Culture Publication to check the film out. I've never received a good review from them. I'm still looking to please you guys! I probably shouldn't say the publication's name, but if you are reading this I hope you can see my film.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I just want acceptance but I don't expect everyone to like my work. A reoccurring 50/50 split has tarnished my dreams of universal acceptance. Generally people either love or hate my films. If the feedback is good I can learn. If the feedback is rubbish I don't ever have to talk to them again. With this film I want to tell a story, and move people because the issues presented are important.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why do people have milk smeared and poured over their faces in every single one of your films Matthew Victor Pastor?
Would you like to add anything else?
I've spent my whole life so far expressing these feelings. As a baby I cried and screamed. As a teenager I cried and screamed. When I found the language of cinema I used that to calm the crying, and channeled the screams onto the screen. I hope for people to find out their form of expression and do it. I hope for people in my culture to tell our story.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Andrew Leavold (Producer on Jupiter) and Daniel Palisa (Special Effects Make Up Artist on Jupiter) hot off their film The Search For Weng Weng, recently co-directed the 'The Last Pinoy Action King.' Andrew is working on a slate of new films for future release. Daniel Palisa has worked on some great films in 2016. He was the Special Effects Make Up artist on two major Filipino films directed by Lav Diaz. The first film 'A Lullaby to the Sorrowful Mystery' won the Alfred Bauer prize at the Berlin International Film Festival and 'The Woman Who Left' won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. My 2016 has been spent on a new film, I'm currently 50 minutes into a feature film which is very personal and darkly funny. We have been shooting the film on and off for this whole year, and hopefully will release it in 2017.
Interview: October 2016
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
I am JUPITER I am the BIGGEST PLANET
Silence in the Red Light District of Manila
Length: 14 minutes
Director: Matthew Victor Pastor
Producer: Andrew Leavold
About the writer, director and producer:
MVP is the director of the independent feature Made In Australia (2013). His films are bold statements focusing on unspoken truths and harsh realities.
Cult personality Andrew Leavold was the man behind Trash Video. He is also the acclaimed director of The Search For Weng Weng and The Last Pinoy Action King.
Made in association with:
Victorian College of the Arts