Former supermodel Bessie Badilla is now the producer of acclaimed indie film Bakal Boys. This Ralston Jover film is currently being screened in the following cinemas: SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM North Edsa, SM Fairview, SM Southmall, and Robinsons Galleria.
Sa pamamagitan ng social networking site na Facebook ay nakapanayam ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang former Pinay supermodel na si Bessie Badilla para i-congratulate at tanungin na rin tungkol sa critically-acclaimed indie film na Bakal Boys (international title: Children Metal Divers) na umaani ng maraming parangal sa iba't ibang film festivals abroad.
Isa sa mga producers ng naturang indie film si Bessie at masayang-masaya siya dahil hindi siya nagkamali sa pagdesisyon na sumama sa pag-produce ng Bakal Boys.
"Bakal Boys is doing quite well in the international scene. I'm very proud and happy that everyone who has seen it was touched by the plight of the young metal divers of Baseco, Tondo," sabi ni Bessie.
Dagdag niya, "The film has competed in four competitions and has won an award in all four festivals: Cinemalaya 2009 (Best Picture); Tigers and Dragons Award in Vancouver, Canada (Special Mention); the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece, (Special Mention); CIPPUTTI Award in Torino, Italy (Special Mention)."
Nagkaroon din daw ng special screenings ang Bakal Boys in the following cities last year: Pusan, Korea; Stockholm, Sweden; Tallin, Estonia; London, England; Mumbai, India; Palm Springs, California, USA; and Prague, Czech Republic.
Marami pang competitions and special screenings ang naka-schedule para sa Bakal Boys ngayong 2010. Sa katunayan, pinapalabas na ito simula ngayong araw na ito, March 10, sa mga sumusunod sa sinehan: SM Megamall, SM Manila, SM North Edsa, SM Fairview, SM Southmall at Robinsons Galleria.
Last month, nakakuha ang Bakal Boys ng grade "A" mula sa Cinema Evaluation Board bukod pa sa endorsement mula sa Department of Education. (CLICK HERE to read PEP's review of Bakal Boys.)
HOW BESSIE BECAME A MOVIE PRODUCER. Tinanong ng PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) si Bessie kung paano siya na-involve sa pag-produce ng Bakal Boys. Sa pagkakaalam namin ay tahimik na namumuhay sa Connecticut, USA si Bessie kasama ang kanyang buong pamilya. Paminsan-minsan ay nagbabakasyon siya sa Pilipinas para bisitahin ang ibang family members at relatives.
"The story of my involvement is very funny. I was having my teeth whitened in Makati with our family dentist. She put contraptions in my mouth and asked me how I was coping with being a widow? Ako naman, ang God-given gift ko is to be able to talk kahit ano pang nakakabit sa bibig ko!" tawa niya.
Bessie's husband, Vicente "Bambi" del Castillo passed away last May 28, 2006 due to a massive heart attack.
"So, I told her okay naman ako, malungkot kung minsan but I do a lot of things to entertain myself like watching movies. Pati Pinoy films pinapanood ko. I told her my favorite at that moment is Kubrador because Ms. Gina Pareño is my idol and I met her in New York during the North American premiere of Kubrador in MoMa [Museum of Modern Art].
"Biglang she mentioned, Kubrador's screenwriter Ralston Jover, who happens to be her brother, is doing an indie film and looking for a producer. In less than half an hour, Ralston was in the clinic with producer Albert Almendralejo and a script of Baseco Bakal Boys for me to read," kuwento ni Bessie.
Binasa raw ni Bessie ang buong script ng Bakal Boys habang nasa eroplano siya papauwi na sa U.S.
"I went back home to Connecticut and read the script on the plane. I fell in love with the story and the characters," sabi niya. "My family suggested for me to read several other scripts before settling on the very first one I read. But my gut feeling told me, 'This is it!' And I was not wrong, the entire international film industry fell in love with Bakal Boys as well."
Hindi akalain ni Bessie na mae-engross siya nang husto sa pagiging producer ng isang indie film. Marami raw siyang natutunan sa pagiging first-time producer niya.
"Being a first-time producer was very exciting. But due to my daughter's school schedule, I was in Connecticut during the entire filming. But it was a blessing in disguise because director Ralston Jover would have thrown me out of the set or even drowned me. Being a mother, my maternal instincts would be to hoist the Bakal Boys out of the water every half hour to dry them, feed them and give them time to rest," ani Bessie.
Totoong mga batang metal-divers na taga Baseco ang kinuha upang gumanap sa naturang pelikula. Gumamit pa sila ng waterproof camera upang kunan ang mga underwater shots kung saan sinisisid ng mga bata ang mga bakal na kanilang ibebenta sa junk shop.
Ayon kay Bessie, ang unforgettable experience niya as a producer ay ang pagdalo niya sa iba't ibang international film festivals to represent the movie.
"The most exciting part of being a producer would be the film festivals. Meeting international film personalities and talking 'film.' I have a lot to learn and I listen to everyone and take in their words of wisdom," kuwento pa niya.
FIRST AND FOREMOST A MOTHER. Pero kahit nga raw naging busy siya bilang film producer, hindi niya nakalimutan ang kanyang obligasyon bilang isang ina sa kanyang mga anak.
"Being able to do all this without missing important things in life, like waking up at 6:30 AM every day to take my daughter to the bus stop and cooking dinner.
"I still had the luxury of time to travel with my sweet gay friends, dancing samba and practicing Portuguese with my Brazilian friends. Finding time to do all these is truly a blessing from God!" bulalas niya.
Sa mga hindi nakakakilala kay Bessie Badilla, isa siya sa mga early supermodels ng Pilipinas noong late '70s and throughout the '80s. Mula sa kanyang pagiging isang Tondo girl, isa siya sa mga naunang Pinay models na naka-penetrate sa Paris. Nakilala si Bessie bilang Asian model ng Balenciaga sa fashion capital of the world.
During the '80s din ay pinasok ni Tita Bessie ang pag-aartista at nadiskubre ang kanyang pagiging "babaeng bakla" sa hit sitcom noon ng IBC-13 na E, Kasi Babae! kunsaan kasama niya sina Gloria Diaz, Janice Jurado, Debbie Miller, Tiya Pusit, Buboy Garovillo, and the late Johnny Delgado.
Noong ikasal si Bessie kay Bambi del Castillo during the '90s, tinalikuran niya ang showbiz at modeling para maging isang simpleng housewife and homemaker sa Stamford, Connecticut. Nagkaroon sila ng dalawang anak: Blanca (a graduating student in Massachusetts) and Ynez (who is now in high school at Sacred Heart Convent School).
Ang anak ni Bambi sa ex-wife nitong si Hilda Koronel na si Isabel ay itinuring nang tunay na ina si Bessie. Sa Vancouver, Canada na raw ito nakatira at nagtatrabaho.