The Fast & The Fearful Five With Filmmaker Yam Laranas

The Fast & The Fearful Five With Filmmaker Yam Laranas
Interview with Yam Laranas, director and DP of The Road, a ghost movie.
Updated: 11-29-2011

Exclusive quick words with filmmaker Yam Laranas, director of The Road, in theaters today.

Staci: Yam! I can't believe it's been 6 years since we met and bonded over your most excellent ghost movie, The Echo. Where does the time go? Making movies, I guess… Now, you have another scary feature out (today! congrats) called The Road. Is there any concern it'll get mixed up with the Cormac McCarthy story of the same name? 

Yam: Six years! That feels like last year. So many things have happened over the past six years. Well, I remade "SIGAW" into "The Echo" in 2008.

The Road is showing today in cinemas in the Philippines and I am giddy with excitement!

I am not at all concerned if ever it gets mixed up with Cormac McCarthy's story and its film adaptation because these are two different films (plus I get a little mileage from that). I've thought about the title so many times but the story somewhat gravitated itself to The Road. It's like a child's name. You can't just change your mind just because there's another "Staci" next block!

The Road because it's two-way but you don't know if you don't know which direction you're going to.


Staci: The Road has been percolating for years. That's not at all unusual, for a movie to take awhile to get from script to screen, but I am wondering what kept you, as a filmmaker, interested in sticking with it? Did you ever feel stale on the story, or like moving on to something else?
I believed in the story so much and I fell in love with it. I couldn't focus on any other stories at that time. I want to see my film on screen. The story is told in three parts and obviously I started writing part one. I pitched part one to studios in the US and got rejected - it was clearly incomplete. So, I went back to the drawing board many many times and finally was able to work with a writing partner here in Manila last year  - his name is Aloy Adlawan. At that time I've pretty much wrote the three parts but thought that it wasn't cohesive enough. So, Aloy and I finally found ways to connect the parts and it was a "eureka" moment to me. That was around this time last year. A few weeks later I pitched to GMA Films Manila and it found its home there.


Staci: Your cinematography is excellent. Seriously, Yam. You are gifted. But so are a lot of other DPs, who've also gone into directing, but can't "direct" very well. Why do you suppose that is, and to what do you attribute your nimbleness at both crafts?
Yam: I am a cinematographer first and foremost. I can tell stories better on screen than on page. I'd rather show it than say it.

I love creating the shot - put information inside the frame and tell a story. Lighting and camera work are second nature to me. I owe this to my background in photography and my intensive research on the works of the painters Carravagio, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hopper, and a Filipino master named Fernando Amorsolo.

Staci: Please tell us a little bit about the story of The Road, and why you thought it was worth telling… because let's face it, there are lots of movies about serial killers with messed up childhoods. Why the enduring fascination with this subject?

Yam: The Road is a story of a twelve year old cold case that is reopened when three teens are missing in an abandoned road. In that road, deeper and gruesome stories of abduction and murders are discovered. The entire film crosses over three decades.

It's not a story of serial killing per se but also about the lives of the victims and the killer and how a chance meeting in a road changed everything. The story is told in reverse from 2008, 1998, to 1988 and in the span of three decades you get to be familiar with the killer and even sympathize at some point, in the story. I wanted to dig deeper into the mind of this killer.

Staci: What's next on the docket for you? What's your goal, and where do you see yourself 6 years from now? (Us, celebrating the 12th anniversary of our meeting, perhaps?)
Yam: I hope we get acquired for a US/North America and eventually worldwide distribution.

But in the meantime there is already story percolating in my head and I hope I'll finish this one on the seventh anniversary of our meeting!


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