LOOK: MMFF suspense thriller Nelia took 15 years to hit the big screen
“Unique siya. Hindi siya iyong typical story ng Filipino movies na napapanood natin.” [“It’s unique. It’s not the typical story that we see in Filipino movies.” This is how novice director Lester Dimaranan described his first full length film Nelia.
Produced by A and Q Films Production, Inc., Nelia revolves around the mystery of hospital room 009, where all the patients admitted to it die. A nurse working at the hospital, Nelia (played by global beauty queen and Kapuso actress Winwyn Marquez), will try to reveal the secret behind the deaths of Room 009’s patients.
Written by Atty. Melanie Honey Quiño Marquez, Nelia’s screenplay has been “15 years in the making,” according to Dimaranan. “Matagal nang nasulat ito ni Atty. Honey, 15 years ago pa. Actually, naalala ko, noong nilapitan ako ng A and Q para gumawa ng pelikula, iba dapat yung gagawin namin noon, e. ‘Tapos, nag-pandemic! Naayos na namin lahat para sa production ng pelikulang iyon tapos biglang nag-lockdown. So, nilapitan ako ni Atty. Honey, pinakita sa akin yung synopsis ng Nelia, and dun na nag-start yung pagbuo namin sa pelikula.” [“Atty. Honey wrote the screenplay for Nelia 15 years ago. Actually, I remember, when A and Q approached me to make a movie, we were supposed to do something different. Then, the pandemic happened! We’ve had everything set for the production of that film then suddenly the first lockdown was implemented. Then, Atty. Honey showed me the synopsis of Nelia, and that’s when we decided to make this film.”]
Nelia offers a different take on storytelling, and tackles themes that are not often seen in Filipino films. “Suspense thriller siya, maraming aabangan ang manonood. Maraming turn ng events na di mo akalaing gano’n pala, ganyan pala. Psychological yung movie kaya yung effect sa manonood, psychological din. Yung mga twists talaga, yung akala mong ito yung mangyayari magugulat ka na hindi pala,” [“It’s a suspense thriller that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats. It has many unexpected turns of events. The movie is psychological, so the effect on the viewer is also psychological. And the twists, just when you think the story is going in one direction, you will be surprised that it’s not,”] said Direk Lester.
Nelia is also the only film in the suspense thriller genre that has entered the upcoming 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). “Malaking pasasalamat namin talaga sa MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority) na organizer ng MMFF na isa kami sa napili nilang pelikula this year. Napakalaking bagay po nito sa amin sa A and Q dahil nabibigyan ng pag-asa ang mga baguhan at indie filmmakers na tulad namin na makapasok sa mainstream. Sana ay suportahan ng ating mga kababayan ang mga pelikulang ipapalabas sa MMFF this year, lalong lalo na ang Nelia, dahil ito po ang pagbabalik natin sa mga sinehan ngayon pandemic,” [“We are really grateful to the MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), the organizer of the MMFF, for choosing us to be part of the festival this year. This is a big thing for us at A and Q because it gives hope to novice and indie filmmakers like us to get into the mainstream. I hope our fellow Filipinos will support the films that will be screened at MMFF this year, especially Nelia, because this is our return to the cinemas during the pandemic,”] said Direk Lester.
Nelia will be screened on December 25 in select theaters across the Philippines. Aside from lead star Winwyn, the film also stars Raymond Bagatsing, Mon Confiado, Ali Forbes, Shido Roxas, and Juan Carlos Galano.