Creating quality films for the Filipino moviegoers and providing jobs in the industry became the driving force for business partners and real-life couple Atty. Aldwin Alegre and Atty. Melanie Honey Quiño to produce their first-ever full-length movie in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nelia, aside from being their launching movie, is A and Q Films Production, Inc.’s entry to the 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival starring Winwyn Marquez, Raymond Bagatsing, Mon Confiado, Aly Forbes, Shido Roxas, Juan Carlos Galano, and many more.

In a grand press conference held on December 18, Atty. Honey candidly told members of the press that they are not after the profit, but to simply provide jobs to their industry partners.

“Actually po what inspired us to do this movie, to be honest po hindi kami nagisip ng profit kasi kahit sino namang producer wouldn’t take risk na mag-invest sa paggawa ng pelikula in the midst of pandemic kasi hindi nga namin alam kung kikita or hindi… Kaya lang nung tima na ginagawa namin to [Nelia], naisip namin na… marami na yung nangangailangan. Kung hindi kami magi-invest, wala kaming matutulungan. Pare-parehas tayong mawawalan.”

She added, “Anyway, ang pandemic naman ay maaring mawala. Pero ngayon, ang need ng tao na mabigyan sila ng trabaho, mapunan natin kahit kaunti, kahit papano, kahit maliit. Saka nalang namin isipin yung profit. Anyway, it will follow naman e once you produce a quality film and we know naman na unique yung aming story.”

On behalf of the entire cast and crew, Director Lester Dimaranan expressed gratitude to the producers for taking the risk and continuing on this project.

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He gleefully said, “Actually, gusto ko muna magpasalamat syempre sa dalawang producer namin na, nung time na nakita niya medyo naghihikahos kasi yung industriya noon, walang project… almost 1 year; ang galing ni Attorney, naipasok niya yung script niya na ang tagal na ng nakabangko lang so yun yung ginawa namin.”

“Nagisip si Madam ng isang pelikula na ang setting, sa isang lugar lang. Kaya very grateful kami ng buong team actually na yun nga, nagkaron kami ng project sa gitna ng pandemic. So mahirap, mahirap maghanap ng isang ospital na hindi pa nagagamit. Pero nairaos namin, walang nag-positive samin before and after ng shoot. Then yon nairaos naming ng maayos yung pelikula.”

The suspense-thriller film was shot in a hospital somewhere in Nueva Ecija.

WAITING FOR WINWYN

Atty. Honey, who’s also the screenwriter of Nelia, was vocal about handpicking the 29-year-old beauty queen to portray the titular role.

Despite being in a lock-in taping for another project during that time, the team decided to wait for Winwyn as she also expressed her desire to participate in the project.

Atty. Honey explained, “Naniniwala ako na kapag yung artista, laging kontrabida, magaling. Mahirap kasi maging kontrabida. Magagaling din naman yung mga bida talaga. Pero kasi yung mag-transform ka ng character from good to bad, medyo challenging yun e. Kaya yung nakita ko kay Winwyn, versatile actress siya… Kaya sabi ko, kaya niyang i-portray yung role ni Nelia sa movie. Kaya nung sinabi samin na naka-lock in siya, tas naisip namin na baka hindi na pwede si Winwyn, tas si Winwyn nagsabi na ‘please, hintayin niyo po ako,’ kasi lalabas na siya from lock-in. Sabi namin hintayin namin siya kasi siya talaga yung gusto namin.”

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Asked what made her commit to the role, the Kapuso actress pointed our Nelia’s unique story as the main factor.

She narrated, “The story talaga kasi nareceive ko yung script when I was in locked in for Owe My Love.  Patapos na rin kasi yung Owe My Love, few days na lang talaga and then nung nabasa ko yata… mga three times, kasi pati ako ‘wait lang, parang tama ba yung nabasa ko? Ito ba talaga yung story? Ito ba yung ending?’ So, I was hooked with the story already. And I asked naman, ‘is it possible if they can wait for me’ pero syempre kung kailangan ng gawin yung film, ok lang din naman. Pero I’m very fortunate na sila Ms. Honey waited for me talaga. Kakaiba yung story. Yun talaga, unique.”

Owe My Love was a 2021 rom-com TV series also stars Lovi Poe, Benjamin Alves, and Ai-Ai Delas Alas.

Catch Nelia and seven other MMFF films on select cinemas starting December 25, 2021.