YASSER Marta admits he felt bad when the pandemic suddenly stopped the telecast of “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit” last March.
“First time akong mabigyan ng male lead role, opposite Kyline Alcantara, tapos, biglang naputol agad ang airing,” he says. “It was so unexpected. Biglang nawala ‘yung momentum namin. We’re not even sure then kung matutuloy pa kami. But now, after nine months of waiting, heto at we’re back on the air na starting this Monday afternoon. Sisimulan muna with a rewind of the past episodes. This is in preparation for the airing of the fresh new episodes which we taped in a resort hotel in San Mateo, Rizal. Then by January, ipapalabas na ‘yung bagong episodes.”
So how’s life while he’s on lockdown? “I really missed taping. I missed acting, which I love doing. I missed Kyline and our co-stars kasi ang ganda ng samahan naming lahat sa show. But it paid to be hopeful and positive. May plans si Lord that we cannot explain but at least, tuloy na uli kami.”
While on lockdown, GMA Artist Center gave him a hosting job online with other Kapuso young stars in “Cool Hub”. “At least, I was able to try something new. Nalaman kong puede naman pala akong mag-host. In this life, you should always be prepared for anything unexpected, so you won’t be caught by surprise. Acting is my passion, but now, okay rin ako sa hosting. I was in second year in college when I was given a good role in ‘Love You Two’ with Shaira Diaz, tapos sumunod agad itong ‘Bilangin’ kaya tumigil muna ako sa pag-aaral. But balak kong balikan ‘yun if I’d have the time.”
In “Bilangin ang Bituin”, Yasser plays Jun, the carefree son of Zoren Legaspi as Anselmo and Ina Feleo as Margaux. He falls in love with Kyline as Maggie, who he doesn’t know, is the illegitimate child of his dad Zoren with Mylene Dizon as Magnolia, the daughter of Nora Aunor as Cedes.
Nora, Mylene and Kyline represent the three generations of women oppressed and maltreated by Zoren’s family headed by his mom, Isabel Rivas as Martina. Don’t miss the replay of the initial episodes of “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit” starring this Monday afternoon on GMA’s Afternoon Prime, directed by Laurice Guillen.
Going back to Yasser, how is it taping the show in the new normal’s lock in setup?
“At first, nakakapanibago because of the safety protocols, but you get used to it after a while,” he says. “Pero mas mabilis ang trabaho kasi nandun na kami lagi sa set, magkakasama for three weeks, so walang nade-delay sa taping and it’s easier to stay in your character. Everyday, bago matulog and when I wake up, I have much time to study the script and memorize my lines. We all became closer sa location at para na kaming isang buong family, lalo na nga’t inabot pa kami roon ng bagyo. We’re now all excited to share with the viewers ang mga eksenang pinaghirapan naming gawin so sana, panoorin nila kami araw-araw, Monday to Friday.”
Direk Joel in dilemma
DIRECTOR Joel Lamangan was congratulated by everyone after the press preview of his Metro-Manila filmfest entry, “Isa Pang Bahaghari”. Most writers agree it works as tearjerker that will surely melt the hearts of viewers with its moving story of family, love, forgiveness and acceptance that’s perfect viewing for the coming Christmas season. The acting of the entire ensemble cast cannot be faulted.
But how does Direk Joel feel that it’s going to be shown just streaming online and not in actual theaters?
“Siempre, I feel sad about it,” he admits. “E, itong ‘Isa Pang Bahaghari’, inapi nila ito, e. Noong nakaraang 2019 filmfest, they rejected it. And now, those who’ve seen it say mas maganda pa ito kaysa ‘Rainbow’s Sunset’ na siyang big winner sa 2918 filmfest. Tapos, ipinasok nila ito sa Summer filmfest daw, na dapat sana, showing noong April, pero hindi naman natuloy dahil nga nagka-pandemic. O, ngayon, tinanggap nila sa December filmfest pero on streaming naman.”
He prays viewers will still watch it even if it’s not going to be shown in actual theaters. “Pero iba pa rin siempre ang experience noong nanonood ka sa loob ng madilim na sinehan at sa malaking screen. Kung ako nga mismo, hindi ako marunong kung paano manood diyan sa streaming. Kailangan daw magbayad ka by Gcash. E, ni wala nga ako niyang Gcash na ‘yan. Siguro sa Metro-Manila, maraming manonood, but sa provinces, I doubt it, kasi ni baka walang wifi ang marami sa tagaroon.”
He has a very valid point here and we think the first thing that the people running the filmfest should do is to educate the general populace on how to access the entries by streaming. It’s already been validly observed that Pinoy viewers don’t really want to pay to watch online, since there are many content and shows available now on youtube for free.
Even Netflix, the most successful streaming platform, doesn’t have that much of a following in our country. We have the lowest Netflix viewership compared to other Asian countries as majority of Pinoys are not really keen on paying to watch something online.
Even the other local streaming networks also have low subscription. Star Cinema tried releasing their horror flick starring Kim Chiu, “U Turn”, online as a special Halloween presentation and it didn’t click with the viewing public who is still not generally used to this kind of setup.
But still, let’s hope for the best, for the sake of the ten entries that are official entries to the Metro filmfest. Again, we want to emphasize that the MMFF bosses, as well as the producers of all the entries, should be more active in the educating the public on how they will be able to watch the entries online while within the safety and comfort of their own homes.