If Filipino animators have, in the past, lent their talent to Hollywood movies like Mulan, The Little Mermaid, and Finding Nemo, what’s stopping them from producing their own digital films and breathing life to Filipino-speaking characters?
The lack of funding may be one reason, but in terms of technology, Pinoys can compete, says music composer and arranger Jessie Lasaten, who heads Cutting Edge, a production studio packaging itself as a one-stop facility equipped for motion graphics, animation, editing, original music, and audio in a single Macintosh-based studio. The production outfit has ten multifunctional studios for small- and large-scale television, film, radio, and new media productions.
Cutting Edge is also the local animator behind the full-length animated film Dayo [Wanderer], among the entries to the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival.
“The Philippines has been outsourcing animation and digital works for around two decades now. It’s about time that we recognize our very own animators by creating original content that is proudly Pinoy,” says Lasaten, who believes that Pinoy animators can compete on the international scale.
Dayo combines paperless 2-D and 3-D technologies in presenting a fantasy film ripe with figures from Pinoy mythology. It tells the story of an 11-year-old kid named Bubuy (voiced by Star Circle Grand Kid Questor Nash Aguas) out to save his grandparents, who have been abducted into Elementalia, a fantasy land with strange flora and fauna.
At Elementalia, Bubuy meets Anna Manananggirl (voiced by Katrina Legaspi), a hyperactive teener with a special affection for all things human–but not of the tummy-filling kind. Their adventure takes them from massive falls teeming with gravity-defying merfolk to crystal caves housing swarms of alitubi; and from a grand old tree, home to a motherly kapre, to a majestic mountain guarded by a pack of hungry aswang.
Directed by Robert Quilao, Dayo also features the voice talents of Laurice Guillen, Peque Gallaga, Nova Villa, Noel Trinidad, Pokwang, and Michael V. Gerard Salonga does the film score, with Lea Salonga performing the theme.