A native of Quezon City, Ruelo Zendo is an alumnus of the Mowelfund Film Institute. He is currently a resident artist at Casa San Miguel, Zambales. He shares more about ‘Divine XY’, his gender-bending Viddsee Juree Philippines 2018 Top 10 finalist film below:
Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your team!
I’m a filmmaker based in Quezon City, Philippines. I started making my own films in 2005. My first feature, ‘Kolorete’ won the Jury Prize in the 2008 Cinema One Originals. Our team comprised of colleagues and friends whom I have worked with in previous projects.
The lead actress, played by Divine Aucina.
Q2. What is the inspiration behind this short film?
Based on research, gender correction on a birth certificate is a very tedious process, and it’s immutable for dead people. I’ve heard stories from friends and relatives who experienced the same problem. I wanted to show the nuances of dealing with this unnecessary stress, but Divine has a deeper problem and it’s beyond a piece of paper.
Q3. Could you share with us what your main challenges were in putting this together, and how did you overcome them?
The project was financed through crowdfunding. Having a tight budget, we had to adjust accordingly, from script to logistics.
A scene from ‘Divine XY’
Initially, I wanted to cast two actors (professional and non-professional/woman and transgender) who look alike to do the same role. But the other actor withdrew, much to our disappointment. So, we decided to rewrite and come up with a straight narrative film.
One last thing is the ending. We didn’t have the luxury to shoot another scene for the ending. So we thought of the use of sound to end the film.
Ruelo is one of the ten finalists of the Viddsee Juree Awards for the Philippines competition, a filmmaker community initiative to celebrate and support filmmakers and film communities in Asia. Check out the rest here.