Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sky Flakes and catfood for theater actors--says Rafael Santos

This guy named "Rafael Santos," a first-time director in the Philippines specializing in independently produced films (or "indie films), is now in hot water. A few days ago, he was interviewed on local television to promote his film to be shown in a local film festival (Cinemalaya). I guess not too many people saw the interview (at least not from among theater actors concerned), and no one complained at that time of what he said in that interview. But when the same interview was recently uploaded by someone to YouTube, Filipino actors, especially theater actors, finally came to know of what Santos said there. Santos, in reply to the host's question to him on his experience of working with theater actors in his first-ever directed film, said that he found it better working with theater actors. Okay, that's good of him to say that. But then Santos didn't stop there. He continued to say that the reason that he works better with theater actors is because "they don't complain, you can feed them Sky Flakes (a brand of biscuit) three meals a day, and pay them in catfood, basically."

Link below of interview of Santos from Peparazzo's YouTube account:

Expectedly, Filipino actors and directors are now up in arms against Santos because they deem his words an insult to them. And I agree with the sentiment of these people. Santos has issued a quick apology (albeit e-mailed to the organizers of the film festival, if I understand correctly news reports up to a few hours ago, in which his film is an entry). Santos said in his apology that he didn't exactly mean what he said, that he was joking, and that he actually has high respect for these actors, especially theater actors, who sacrifice a lot just to pursue their craft in the best possible way.

Well, if you ask me, if he really respects these people as he now says, he should have chosen his words well during his interview on television. He could have said it just straightforwardly how he does respect his peers in the industry. But in his attempt to be witty and cool in describing how theater actors work hard to pursue their craft and are willing to undergo sacrifices in the process, he ended up saying rather insulting words. His words insinuated that there's no need for film producers to spend for full meals when they hire theater actors because these people will be happy even if they are fed only with biscuits during shootings (and the biscuit brand that Santos mentioned--Sky Flakes--is just about one of the lower-priced biscuits in the Philippines) and by giving them catfood (presumably to take home to their cats). What adds to the insult is that he was saying those things in indirect comparison to film and television actors who, as every showbiz fan in the Philippines knows, are pampered by film producers and television networks, especially the most popular actors.

As it is now, Santos's film-making career just picking up might just take an abrupt detour to perhaps another career where he won't have to bump into these people he has offended. Aside from his e-mailed apology to the film festival organizers, a televised apology from him is being demanded by an organization of theater actors in the Philippines.

Santos should move quickly and humbly if he still wants to save his career. Or, does he still have a career?

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