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Ventura-Cuenca: winning combination

WINNING COMBINATION – The tandem of director Diane Ventura and actor Jake Cuenca may as well be called the winning combination. Look, their collaboration, “Awaken”, won awards in two international awards.

At the International Film Festival Manhattan (IFFM) 2015, “Awaken” gave Ventura best director for global feature and Cuenca best actor. And in this year’s World Cinema Festival in Brazil, “Awaken” was cited as best narrative feature, and once again, Jake was named best actor.

Direk Diane speaks of her actor.

“Jake has been in this industry far longer than I have, yet he’s humble and gracious enough to take directions from a relatively unknown novice with admirable willingness and ease. I told him I wanted to veer away from over-the-top drama and focus on subtlety as someties it requires more strength than to release emotions. Despite the subtlety, you still feel his intensity.”

FIRST FILM – Diane is, indeed, a newbie. But then she entered filmmaking with a big bang via the short “The Rapist”, which starred Cherie Gil and the so-called “frontal nudity” king Marco Morales. (Whatever happened to him?)

“The Rapist” made it to the list of the most popular films and best shorts in 2012 along with 40 other shorts from around the world at the IFFM. It was also an official selection entry to Luang Prabang in Cambodia last year, not to mention Cinemalaya and Cinema One Originals.

Diane says she made “The Rapist” as an alternative to becoming a full-time student. “The exhorbitant fees and tuition charges prompted me to just invest in actually making a film and learn by doing instead of procuring a degree in film school.”

She eventually moved to New York for further film studies.

WHAT’S NEXT? – There’s no turning back for Diane, happy and fulfilled that the world at large receives her genre-bending films.

As of this writing, she is preparing for another feature with the working title “Deine Farbe” (“Your Color”). Diane hopes to cast talents from New York and Germany. “It’s a socio-political drama with dark comedy undertones, done pseudo-docu style.”

She hopes to finish it by 2017.

Meanwhile, “Awaken” will be shown in Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, and Winnipeg) on August 5, 6, and 7. A local commercial release later this year is in the offering.

Hopefully, in time Diane Ventura will be alongside top Filipino directors. She has the talent and determination.