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Noriel Jarito: One of the faces of regional filmmaking

In the advent of Filipino filmmaking in the millennium where there is massive formation of many movie companies, regional filmmaking is also its conduit and partner.

 

Many film factories in the provinces have been established like Ironoriel Productions and Samar Cine Sociedad, Inc. in Pambujan, Northern Samar, which are owned and managed by director Noriel Jarito. The twin productions have complete shooting and editing facilities. As a matter of fact, they have been very active in the field in Pambujan since 2012 when they produced the low budget yet ingeniously made “Rindido (Rage)” which merited a selection and a nomination ticket to the Metro Manila Film Festival New Wave category that same year. It was an auteur film. It was produced, starred, directed, written, marketed etc. by Jarito himself with fellow stars—Vic Tiro, Jek Jumawan, Chanel Latorre, among others—solely on the acting department.

 

People close to Noriel were proud and enthusiastic about the big break. As a support, his wife went to Manila all the way from Samar to lend him filial boost. She tagged along with in most of the festival activities like the Parade of Stars, awards night, meetings and other pre-event gigs. On the opening day, the couple even took the rounds of movie theaters to assess the film’s performance. It was also an education and a realization for the wife who is just a simple housewife who dabbles in an eatery management in Pambujan.

 

Although “Rindido (Rage)” didn’t win any award and had only mild reception at the box-office, it nevertheless validated Noriel’s ability in filmmaking. More importantly, it made him more judicious in his professional as well as personal decisions. He was up against the more moneyed and aggressive marketing tools but still he took in stride, he never said die.

 

When he sent off his wife to the province, Jarito stayed in Manila for a while and took his chances. However, he was still very much connected with her in social media and long distance calls to monitor the situation of their family.

 

 

As the star in the city beckoned, there were other creative opportunities laid before him but they would take some time to materialize like collaboration with other filmmakers, joining in film workshops and seminars, attending international film festivals and scholarships in filmmaking. He was always selected to participate in the enhancement of his craft in symposia and labs in respected, notable and reputable organizations like the Geothe Intitut etc. He was already having a field day rubbing elbows with the who’s who in the film industry, locally and internationally. He was euphoric with networking with fellow film aficionados. All these were happening in imperial Manila or abroad for days or months or for an indefinite period of time.

 

The late entertainment writer and talent manager Dennis Adobas was at Noriel’s beck and call. Down to the minute details and odd jobs, Dennis would do the promotion and marketing of Jarito in his capacity as a veteran showbiz insider. However, apart from the job hunt of the talent himself, it was also Adobas who would go out of his way to chase an elusive directorial dream if not even a small, modest project to put his time and effort; to gather his friends from the movie press to drumbeat; and to plan out strategies for a full-time directing and acting career, all for the filmmaker.

 

Meanwhile, in between his showbiz career Jarito and his wife would talk intently miles apart about his pursuits of rearing a family and making movies.

 

“Kailangan kong mamili. May pamilya ako. Nasa probinsiya sila. May anak akong lumalaki na kailangan ang gabay ko (I had to make a choice. I had a family. They’re in the province. I had a son who was growing up and needing my presence and guidance),” he revealed.

 

The day of reckoning had come. Jarito finally dropped the bomb to Dennis that he would just stay in the province momentarily but would come to Manila if there were certain film works.

 

Movie offers were scarce so Jarito opted to apply for a teaching job in his community. After all, he is a graduate of Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Far Eastern University and has a diploma to boot. He was eventually taken in as a regular teacher in a public high school in the coastal town. “Nagagamit ko naman ang mga natutunan ko sa pagpepelikula para ituro sa mga estudyante ko bilang bahagi ng (I am able to put to use what I’ve learned from filmmaking to teach them to my students as part of) art education,” he beamed with pride.

 

On the side, he is able to shoot films, the latest of which was a pastoral crime story which launched the acting career of a Pambujan native, Jake Pinca as a policeman in search for justice for his family. “Ako ang nakadiskubre kay Jake kaya binigyan ko agad ng proyekto (I discovered Jake so I gave him a project immediately),” recalled Noriel.

 

“Star material siya,” he claimed.

 

The blood and gore film was plainly titled “Huramentado.” It was shot entirely in Pambujan, a regional filmmaking in action. The leading actress, Maricel Balderama was imported from Manila and had to stay in Pambujan for a number of days and was accommodated well until the movie was finished.

 

Later, as directors are entitled to revise their storylines to adapt to the possibilities of changing and creating more cinematic images to a crescendo of heightened edginess, materials at hand can add color and texture to the plot no matter how fragile these are.

 

One day, Noriel went to a local film event called Cine Local in Pasay City where President Rodrigo Duterte was guest of honor. Jarito pulled out his video cam and shot footage of the President.

 

 

After a fanciful thought, the director toyed on the idea of incorporating his Duterte footage to the original “Huramentado” visual narrative. Noriel’s imagination extended to a murder of a Philippine Hitler by two rival scoundrels, thus the subtitle “Kill the President” made complex by sub-plots interspersed from the original material to the raw footage to the sequences shot in Manila’s ghettos and law enforcement agencies to the magic realism of the idyll.

 

Jarito never got tired of reediting his original reel story of running amok—instead of double-crossing rogues—and attempted a thriller by transporting it with a real scene of a President getting assassinated with a gunshot sound effect and a black screen.

 

 Revision has been the filmmaker’s approach to achieve a logically polished narrative even when he was still in the Middle East working as an OFW and shooting interesting pieces of pulsating scenes in his milieu. When occasion warrants it, the technique he passes on his students who eat up most of his academic time.    

 

Once in a while, during summer vacations and other school year day-offs, Noriel had squeezed his attendance to world film fests like in India where “Huramentado: Kill the President” competed and won Best Guerilla Movie Making Award at the 15th New Delhi International Film Festival.

 

The film is also an official entry to the virtual 16th Mindanao Film Festival and is being shown in https://filmcity.app/ which his fellow Pambujan residents are happily tuning in.

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