After a hiatus on showbiz events in Doha involving Pinoy celebrities, the Filipino community here is now preparing for the shoot of the first Filipino movie to be filmed in Qatar.
It did not take much convincing for actor J C Santos to accept the lead role in the film entitled The Eventologist — the initial movie offering of Advocacy Global Studio, a Filipino production company based in Doha. Santos will be playing the role of Steven, an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who organises concerts and shows featuring top-calibre Filipino singers, bands and celebrities. The Kapampangan actor is scheduled to fly to Qatar later this year to shoot his scenes. The entire movie is inspired by real events, with principal photography to be done entirely in Qatar.
Santos is known for being a versatile actor, who is willing to tackle any challenging role – whether it is for television, film or stage. Amidst the pandemic, he accepted the offer from the Filipino filmmaker based in Qatar. He will avail himself the chance to portray an OFW working as an event organiser in a Gulf country. The actor with hit films such as 100 Tula Para Kay Stella, Miracle in Cell No. 7 (Philippine remake), and The Day After Valentine’s finds the proposition intriguing and hard to turn down.
During the film’s first virtual press conference held and hosted recently by ABS-CBN’s M J Felipe, Santos shared that he is hopeful The Eventologist will turn out to be one of the most special projects in his filmography because of the subject and because he will be collaborating with a full-fledged OFW-filmmaker. After all, the struggles of the OFWs are close to his heart. The actor’s parents are both OFWs and he himself spent several months working abroad as a singer-dancer. He said: “I’m very much familiar with the lives of OFWs, my mother used to work in Las Vegas, Nevada while my father is a seafarer. I continued their OFW legacy when I worked in Hong Kong Disneyland and at the Universal Studios in Singapore.”
In addition to his eagerness to work with local artistes who are real life characters in the events where the movie’s story was based, Santos exclaimed that he is excited to travel to Qatar and learn more about the country’s culture and attraction, making it a happy home to more than 285,000 Filipinos. He also said that he wants to fly-in at least two weeks before the shoot apart from the quarantine period, for him to be able to effectively immerse with the Filipino community here.
The brain behind the film is writer-director Oscar de Jesus Yema, a longtime OFW. Prior to working in Qatar’s TV industry, he spent more than two decades with the Philippines’ biggest TV networks, rising from researcher to executive producer. Among the Filipino programmes, Oscar handled, include ABS-CBN’s “Inside Story,” “Hoy, Gising!” “Magandang Gabi, Bayan” and GMA 7’s “Brigada Siete,” “Emergency,” Imbestigador” and “Saksi.”
When asked why he has selected the character of an OFW, the director said: “I am an OFW myself here in Qatar for the past 10 years. I have seen a lot of OFW movies in other countries but not in Qatar. But this OFW story is a different one. It’s factual and based on a true story of not a stereotypical Filipino expat. The main character is an Eventologist, a coined term for a master of event.”
Regarding what made him select Qatar as the place to shoot the film, he said: “The events all happened in Qatar. This film is my way of showing the beauty of Qatar as it will be shown in the film while the story unfolds. It is a good opportunity for the world to see Qatar before the FIFA 2022.”
The Association of Filipino Realtors & Entrepreneur Executives in Qatar (Afreeq) being one of the most active Filipino community organisations in Doha has welcomed the film project and has pledged full support. Afreeq Chairman Joseph Timothy Rivera said: “Afreeq is delighted to support “The Eventologist” movie as not only will it feature Qatar in the global silver screen on the same year of the FIFA 2022 World Cup but will also offer a breath of fresh air in promoting Filipino entrepreneurs and talents in Qatar as we all recover from Covid-19.” Rivera also added that the film’s director Oscar de Jesus Yema is a founding member of Afreeq way back in 2015 which makes the organisation proud of Yema’s latest project being a well-seasoned artiste with an advocacy that fosters OFW entrepreneurism in Qatar.
For details and updates about The Eventologist, visit Global Advocacy Studio Presents Facebook page, www.afreeq.org and www.oscaryema.com.
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