“Mas maganda ‘to!” — JC Santos quips on ‘Dito at Doon,’ from ‘I’m Drunk, I Love You’ director

For the first time in a movie, award-winning actors JC Santos and Janine Gutierrez star in TBA Studios’ upcoming romantic off-beat comedy film, Dito at Doon (Here and There), from director JP Habac (who also directed the hit romcom I’m Drunk, I Love You, starring Paulo Avelino and Maja Salvador).

On their virtual media conference attended by the cast, JC and Janine had these to say when asked by CinemaBravo if they feel any pressure that this is the follow-up project of Direk JP for the said studio.

Janine: “Hindi ko na naisip yon! Grabe, ngayon napaisip tuloy kami! Charot!”

JC: “Kung pressure lang, I think mas na-pressure ako sa galingan ko yung acting ko kaysa kung makikipag-kompetensya ba ako sa dating pelikula. Parang hindi ko siya na-isip na [may] pressure, business-wise. Ginalingan ko na lang! Buti na lang, magagaling yung mga kasama ko. Excited ako kasi feeling ko… mas maganda ‘to!”

The rest of the cast, including the event’s host, cheered for JC’s last statement. “Let’s claim it!” they cheered.

“Di ko pa napapanood, ha!” JC immediately quipped and he was all smiles.

On ‘new normal’ shooting of a movie

Since the beginning of quarantine brought about by the pandemic, Dito at Doon boasts in being the first Filipino film to shoot outside the pretext of video conferencing. It bravely took all means to shoot the entire movie with face-to-face interactions among its character. Following health protocols to ensure everyone’s safety, they were able to produce a movie under the setup of a “new normal.”

CinemaBravo asked the cast members about their experience collaborating with the creative team of Dito at Doon, given that they underwent a lock-in shooting for a time period.

Victor Anastacio, who plays Mark in the movie, happily shared that Direk JP let them do ad libs. “Tantiyahin mo rin kung ano ang gusto niya sa eksena. Balanse ng collaboration and obedience. Masaya [siya] katrabaho. Napaka-light. Halos natural lang. Hindi siya strict. Masaya!”

As for Yesh Burce who plays Jo, she can’t believe that it the shoot went smoothly. “Wala akong naging problema! Dahil sobrang gaan kasama ng mga tao, even [the staff], sobrang gaan kasama. Wala kaming naging problema. Dahil sobrang nag-gel na kami, parang nando’n na agad. May chemistry na kaming apat. Pero sa una, nangangapa pa kami.” She was shocked and thrilled in having the opportunity to work with her co-stars.

JC and Janine working with Direk JP

Both JC and Janine had kind words for their director, who recently helmed the popular eight-episode BL series, Juan Miguel Severo’s Gaya sa Pelikula, starring Ian Pangilinan and Paolo Pangilinan.

“Binigyan naman kami ng freedom kung paano ii-interpret ang character namin,” JC related. “Binigyan kami ng [direction] kung paano sila magsalita, kung paano sila gumalaw. Actually, ito yung pinakamasaya for me. Dahil sa lock-in [shoot]. Wala kang ibang iniisip kundi yung script mo, so minsan parang nilalakad mo na siya. Parang ikaw na siya kahit off-set. So may pag-i-internalize na siya on the spot. So sobrang natural. Buti na lang, ang light-light ng mga character, na kahit madala mo siya sa kuwarto mo, or sa kung saan, okay siya.”

He also mentioned how their shot list helped the cast understand the process of the ‘new normal’ shoot. “Masaya yung naging process. Sana ganito lagi yung process ng mga pelikula ko.”

“Naging open si Direk JP. Ako, minsan, matanong din talaga ‘ko sa direktor e, sa gagawin ko, sa character ko,” added Janine. “Sobrang patient siya sa lahat ng mga tanong. At saka, bukod do’n, yung script kasi, maganda na talaga yung pagkasulat. Maiintindihan mo agad kung ano ba’ng nararamdaman ng character mo, at kami bilang magkakaibigan.”

Janine also thanked their writers for making it easy for them to understand the story “dahil sa magandang pagkakasulat.”

Grateful for working with TBA Studios

Known for high-quality contents which include the critically-acclaimed historical films Heneral Luna (starring John Arcilla) and Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral (starring Paulo Avelino), TBA Studios continues to produce films that etch to the minds and hearts of audiences all around the world—Filipinos and foreigners alike. In fact, its most recent film, Write About Love, bagged a total of eight awards at Metro Manila Film Festival 2019.

Janine expressed her gratitude to be a part of the TBA family.

“Una sa lahat, grateful akong makatrabaho ang TBA. Pangalawa, grateful ako na may trabaho tayo ngayong ganito ang sitwasyon… ng sinehan at ng telebisyon. Pero, I’ve always wanted to work with TBA, dahil nga sa sinabi mo na talagang quality palagi yung mga pelikula nila. At ako, pinupuntuhan ko talaga sa sinehan kapag may pelikula sila. I’m so grateful na mabigyan ng pagkakataon to be under TBA for this film.

Now that her latest film, Dito at Doon, is about to be shown in cinemas and on digital platforms, Janine expects the followers of TBA Studios to check out the studio’s new offering.

“At maaasahan din ng mga manonood na talagang… may flavor kasi pag sinabi mong TBA e! Sana kung meron kayong nagustuhang pelikula ng TBA, sana sadyain niyo rin ang Dito at Doon.”

About Dito at Doon

Written by Alex Gonzales and Kristin Barrameda, Dito at Doon tells the story of no-boyfriend-since-birth Len Esguerra (played by Janine), and the ever-charming and responsible Caloy Cabahug (played by JC).

As the community quarantine puts the nation on hold, a political science major (Janine) and a student working part-time as a delivery driver (JC) butt heads online —but soon find themselves falling for each other. Will their love survive once it’s taken offline.

Also in the cast are Victor Anastacio, Yesh Burce, and Ms. Lotlot De Leon. Interestingly, this is the first time that real-life mother-and-daughter Lotlot and Janine play mother-and-daughter in a movie.

Its theme includes connect-disconnect, isolation, uncertainty, and sanity. The film is styled as eclectic and voyeuristic.

Dito at Doon opens in cinemas on March 17. Two weeks later, starting March 31, it will stream on these digital platforms: KTX, iWantTFC, Cinema76@Home, and Ticket2Me. Avail of the early bird rate (with P50 off) by pre-ordering for only P300.