I was asked by an independent filmmaker, Mia Buenaventura, to voice a character in her new claymation short film, entitled: “Old Big Ben the Butanding”. It’s the story of a whale shark and his seahorse friend. I’m voicing Billie, the seahorse. It’s a story about saving the seas. The film was inspired, curiously, by a news item that I distinctly remember doing for news at 17. I always make it a point to choose news on the environment or on wildlife as much as I can. The story was about a whale shark found dead, floating in the Manila Bay. When they opened its stomach, it had so much plastic and other garbage in its gut. Mia hopes to enter it in this year’s Cinemalaya, and hopefully the movie makes it. It will be done in claymation, a rarely used medium in local films, and the short film will be approximately 7 minutes long. I really hope it makes it as a finalist.
We recorded a Tagalog version, which is required by Cinemalaya, then we’ll do the English version, which was the original language to be used. We just recorded it in a room in RX and it was really fun doing a voicing again, as I used to do in the 90’s when I voiced so many commercials. I kinda missed “acting” with my voice.
Mia has done two other short films: “Leon”, starring Ronnie Lazaro and “Gantsilyo”, starring Gloria Romero. Leon won a Gawad CCP award, while “Gantsilyo” was a Cinemalaya entry and an Annie Award nominee for best short film. The story “Old Big Ben the Butanding” was also in the top ten of the “Sagip” contest c/o opf.org. Mia was invited to do a reading of the story at the Manila Ocean Park on March 13.
I’m very happy to be part of a short film that aims to spread the word on saving the seas, because of the many causes floating out there, the singular cause that’s closest to my heart is saving the lives of innocent endangered animals. They have every right to cohabit this planet that we humans have appropriated for ourselves. I’m glad to have lent my voice to a good cause, and hopefully, a good film as well.
Can’t wait for the finished product!