Kagay-anon Film Marker Joe Bacus’ Markado: The Moon Devourer is the first ever full-length film to be made in Cagayan de Oro decades after Lorenzo M. de la Serna’s Sa Imong Lawas ug Dugo.
A live action film combined with doll animation, the film follows the story of Sab, a transporter for local drug cartels. Amidst an imminent war between her superiors, Sab also deals with her dying grandmother's last wish that she bear a child. When Sab learns that she's barren, this leads her to darker practices and revelations.
The film boasts a mix of drugs, dolls, and aswang folklore resembling a smorgasbord of influences and references from Bacus’ earlier works such as Ika-3 Putahi (2014), The End of War (2014), and his seminal short Happy Fiesta (2014), all of which have won awards and been programmed in national and international film festivals.
I sat down and talked to Joe Bacus about his film and how this film developed into what it is.
RV: The most striking thing to me about your film is the mixture of live action and doll stop motion scenes. Would you care to elaborate about how this came to be?
JB: It was a creative choice I had to make when we were having trouble with the live action unit. We ran short of time and some of the actors couldn’t be bothered outside the projected shooting schedule. Recasting them wasn’t a choice either since our budget couldn’t allow for reshoots. So I decided to purchase dolls as actors and shoot the remaining scenes with them in place.
RV: Would you rather have shot everything in live action?
JB: At the time of production, I would have said yes. But now, I don’t think that would be the answer. The mixture of live action and stop motion scenes seems to add another facet of meaning to watching the film and I definitely like that about Markado.
RV: So the pressure was high for you since you were about to produce Cagayan de Oro’s first full-length feature film after decades?
JB: It was high but I try not to think about it a lot. As you know, I really advocate to put Cagayan de Oro on the map in terms of filmmaking. But even then, the pressure that got to me was not about Markado being the first full-length feature film to come from CDO after decades but rather, it was more about making a film that I can be proud of showing to the world. After all, I am an artist first before being an advocate of CDO’s film scene.
RV: So I guess the last question would be what’s next for Joe Bacus?
JB: I am currently starting a homegrown film festival here in my hometown called Cine de Oro Film Festival and we are set to show Markado as the opening film in Limketkai Cinema 4 this December 15, 2019 at 10AM.
We’re selling tickets at Kanto main branch for P145 and a discounted price of P100 for students. I am really hoping we can share this film to as many Kagay-anons as we can because this is what our festival is about. I believe we can start a new wave of filmmaking here in Cagayan de Oro.
We already have some talented filmmakers here and the only thing that is lacking is our unity in making a movement. So as a Kagay-anon filmmaker, I’ll do my very best to help make that happen. Stay tuned for updates about Cine de Oro very soon.
Tickets for the screening of Markado: The Moon Devourer in Limketkai Cinema 4 on December 15, 2019 10AM are available for purchase in Kanto main branch and its off-site stall in front of Xavier University.