By Ricky Calderon
“Their stories are real. Even the stories of their parents that we showed in the film were based on true events.”
Louie Ignacio says he was inspired to do the movie Child Haus due to his frequent visits to the said halfway home for cancer-stricken children. “They (children) are my inspiration in doing this film and I hope that when people come to watch the movie, they will be inspired to help these children who are suffering from leukemia,” said the award-winning director.
According to him, Child Haus is real, and he is thankful to philanthropist and beauty guru Ricky Reyes (who put Child Haus some 11 years ago) for giving him the opportunity to make Child Haus and its wards as subject of this film.
“We didn’t just use Child Haus as an inspiration for the story written by Soc Villanueva. We used it as a tool to entice people to help the children in Child Haus for their needs, most especially now that Christmas is just a few weeks way,” added Direk Louie, who won Best Director at the International Film Festival Manhattan Festival for his Cinemalaya entry Asintado. Said film also won the Best Children Film at Houston.
Incidentally, Child Haus has already been invited to compete at the Dhaka International Film Festival, as well as the Bangladesh International Film Festival.
Direk Louie said the characters played by his six lead stars – Miggs Cuaderno, Therese Malvar, Mona Louise Ray, Felixia Dizon, Vincent Magbanua and Erika Yu – have their counterparts inside Child Haus. They played the role of real kids, who are suffering from cancer.
The award-winning filmmaker said he is happy with the movie’s strong message. “I am confident that we have a good story to tell. Even though this is not an expensive film (we didn’t have much budget), but just right for an indie film, but we got a lot of help from other people and our producer, Ms. Baby Go, who liked the story when we first presented it to her.”
But Direk Louie admitted it was a challenged directing kids. “After watching the movie, I wondered how I was able to pull it off. Paano ko kaya napagdugtong-dugtong at napagsama-sama ang mga bata na umaarte sila ng natural at parang wala sa harap ng kamera. I have really such a talented cast,” he explained.
What is special about Child Haus for you to be convinced as your follow up film to the award-winning Asintado?
“I’ve always told myself that if ever I will do a new film, I want something that is relevant. Since Christmas is fast approaching, I consider this film as my gift to the Lord. I hope that thru this movie we will be able to touch a lot of hearts. I am not competing with anyone. I just want to help the kids of Child Haus through this movie. Sana marami akong mahikayat na tao para tulungan sila,” he replied.
Direk Louie reiterated that his frequent visits to Child Haus brought in him the desire to help the children. “Wala silang pamasahe pauwing probinsiya, o kaya hindi na sila makabili ng gamot kaya may mga batang namamatay. Wala na kasi makuhang sponsor para sa gamot. If you are a sensitive person, you would understand the needs of these kids. The Lord has given me so much blessings and doing this film is my way of giving back the blessings to the Lord,” he added.
He is hoping that those who get to watch Child Haus will find in their heart the desire to help the children and be aware of their plight. “There are many kids who have plenty of food to eat and whose parents can afford to buy them expensive gadgets. I hope they can share even a little of what they have to the children of Child Haus. God will bless them more if they do,” he stressed.
“Hindi namin pinaiyak ang mga tao sa movie. Hindi naming` intention na paiyakin kayo. Bahala na kayo kung maiiyak kayo pero ang gusto naming ay ma-touch ang viewers at makarating sa kanila ang message ng movie. Even if you are sick, there should still hope.”
After directing variety shows and music videos, you seemed to have transformed into an actor’s director.
“I guess the time has come for me to do these kinds of movies,” he stressed. “Mahirap din naman paartehin ang mga bata but it helped that I was working with very good child actors. But it was a challenged to deal with kids.” After Child Haus, his next film is Laut, a story about the Badjaos who have been uprooted from their home in Mindanao and has found a new home in Pampanga.
“I am presenting the culture of the Badjaos in Laut. Magigising naman ang pagka-Pilipino natin sa story ng mga Badjaos,” he concluded.