If Borgy Torre’s last name sounds familiar, it’s because he is indeed related to Joel Torre, one of Philippine cinema’s finest actors. “Yes, it’s okay to be forever known as Joel Torre’s nephew because it’s the truth. I’m not really complaining, it helps me in more ways than one; it’s a good ice breaker to start conversations with during awkward moments at work,” shares the filmmaker. Borgy’s passion for film-making began when he enrolled at an extensive apprentice workshop with celebrated movie director Peque Gallaga. “I’m lucky enough that one of my classmates at that workshop was Vito Cajili, a film editor, who introduced me to Erik Matti,” tells Borgy. He worked closely with Erik for three years, assisting him with anything, but mostly, with his advertising related projects.
When asked what he likes most about working on TV commercials, he says it’s the challenge and discipline—meeting the deadline and the precision of things. “Working on TV ads helps you practice good discipline when you have to be specific about your vision—explaining the colors, the wardrobe, the set, the level of acting that you want,” he relays. “Expectation of agency from the expectation of client is very different, and then you have your own expectation. You have to marry those three to have a successful commercial.”
Two years ago, he directed and co-wrote his first full-length movie, Kabisera, a story about a fisherman father, who would do anything to keep his rule in his household. This was his entry to Cinema One Originals Digital Film Festival wherein he won best director. “Actually, Kabisera was a smooth shoot. We stayed in Zambales for two weeks and we shot for 14 calendar days. The challenge was the budget were in tranches, so what I did was empty my bank account and get a loan, so when we finished shooting, everybody would get paid.” According to him, the best parts of shooting the movie were the friendships between him and the entire production and being able to find the perfect the location for the shoot. “Finding the location was a bit tough because it had to be specific; it had to be a house with a fish pen that’s adjacent to the beach on a remote area but can be accessed by a car, and I’m glad that we were able to find it. Also, when you open the door of our hotel room, you’d be facing the beach already.” Another reason would also be the fact that he had a good ensemble of actors, which includes his uncle Joel, who won Best Actor in the said festival. He admits that he was nervous at directing him, but before the entire production even began, his uncle ran down the script with him and voiced out his concerns. “He said ‘I don’t normally do this, I don’t meddle with the script but since it’s you, I’m going to give you my ten cents worth of advice,’” recalls Borgy. “Another thing that he said was he won’t charge me for his talent fee, but I insisted.”
“Working on TV ads helps you practice good discipline when you have to be specific about your vision–explaining the colors, the wardrobe, the set, the level of acting that you want.”
When asked on what he wants to see in local cinemas, he says that it’s not really a question of what he would like to see, because there’s a lot, but it’s how people will embrace the diversity. “If you look at international and mainstream films right now, there’s still a monopoly of romantic comedies, horror, and fantasy movies. Although in film festivals, it’s likely getting more diverse. I’d really like to see conspiracy movies, like those movies done by Peque Gallaga, Mike de Leon, and Lino Brocka. I hope we can do more of those again. If I were to do three dream projects, those would be a tragic, disaster film, probably a fictional account of a sinking ship, a World War 2 movie because my grandfather is a war veteran and he has so many stories to tell, and a “booky” movie with a twist of comedy and conspiracy,” shares Borgy. For now, he’s busy finishing his second full-length and first mainstream movie; a horror flick scheduled to come out this year. From attending film workshops to writing and directing his full-length film, Borgy has indeed come a long way. He still remains optimistic that our local cinema will regain its glory.