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'PASSION, RISKS, RELEVANCE': An Ounce of Marc Misa's Great Masterpieces

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

It takes the wisdom of Solomon to decide the point at which we must refuse to cooperate with evil.


Steve Jobs once said, "When you look back at your life, you see the pieces of puzzle come together." In order to complete the puzzle, we need to have the courage and determination to find its missing pieces. As we embark on our life's journey, we walk through a crossroad of choices. Important life decisions can be challenging to make. They are often complicated wherein some of them have competing interests.


Having to deal with serious situations, the hard choices are the ones between two seemingly equally good ones, or equally bad ones.


As for the short film entitled 'Crossing', a desperate robber is forced to choose whether he should become a hero to his victims or fall victim to a robbery himself.


'Crossing' is a suspense-drama film entry to the Cinemalaya 2021 directed by Marc Misa and is based on the screenplay by LC De Leon.


Forty-year-old Marc Misa is a writer and filmmaker based in Antipolo, Rizal. He produced and directed his first feature film 'Askal' in 2010 through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and Arts. He then went on to direct commercial advertisements and online content with PaperbugTV. He has also worked on various projects as a screenwriter for Star Cinema. He is currently a graphic designer for a gaming company and working on literary fiction. Whether writing stories or directing films, all his endeavors are geared toward his love for storytelling.


Marc's appreciation for the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion was very evident through his hobbies before entering college. However, filmmaking seemed to have diverted his future career into something that was very challenging. "I think it was in college because originally I always had a thing for the visual arts. I went to UP (University of the Philippines) Fine Arts thinking I’d major in painting (studio arts), but I actually signed up for the wrong thing. I ended up in Visual Communication which had advertising and filmmaking. I experienced the joys of both still and video cameras."

Marc Misa, Director of "Crossing"

"I got into film production and it became my thing. I'm 40 years old and I'm still pursuing it. It's not exactly my main bread and butter because right now filmmakers are struggling. We are having a hard time finding an outlet right for our product."


Superiority to circumstances is one of the most prominent characteristics of great men. Marc thinks that the people who are most successful (in the film industry) are also the most grounded because it takes more than the hunger of fame to really be good at something.

"To remain in the industry, I think it would always be a struggle; it would always be an uphill battle."

"My personal standards are really really high, especially for myself. Long time ago, about 10 years ago, I did a feature film for NCCA. It was sort of a bit of a mess. Just recently, 'Crossing' got into the final list of the Cinemalaya roster for short films. Even if it's just 7 minutes and 44 seconds long, I feel like it accomplished more than my feature length film way back then. It's not really about how big the project is, it is how well it was done."


Originally, 'Crossing' drew inspiration from a man named Alchie Paray, a security guard. Back in 2020, he took 60 to 70 hostages in V-Mall at Greenhills, San Juan City.


"This guy, he just went crazy because he was underpaid, overworked-- the story of the blue-collared hardworking Filipino, oppressed by the superiors he worked for. When LC (De Leon) told me about his story, based on Paray, I thought it was a very clear and straightforward narrative. Being a good guy, it's hard to survive in the Philippines if you are an honest, hard working person, which we should all strive to be. I think Gabriel Arkanghell, the protagonist of the film, embodies that. He is a frustrated Filipino worker who needs a break and is never given one. So, he ends up doing something stupid."

Film still from "Crossing" directed by Marc Misa

"In the film, we try to look into how he (Alchie Paray) got to that point. I guess they're all victims; the people that he took hostage and himself. But that does not excuse crime. There are people, I think, who really deserve hell for what they've done, but there are people who are just driven to the brink that they end up doing those things because of their situation. It's hard to tell who is really good or bad. In 'Crossing', Gabriel is actually a father who is trying to save his daughter, which was why he robbed a bus. It's a play on our concept of morality."


Difficult roads often lead to beautiful and worthwhile destinations. Just like other producers and directors, Marc also encountered challenges on producing his film wherein he struggled to get development funding. However, he knew the concept of 'If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you.'

"I've worked with LC for a long time. He tells me a lot of stories. And that one particular story really got to me because it was straightforward, it was simple, and it was feasible to shoot. I made an animated board and people seem to like it. So I decided to produce."


"People generally say that you should not use your own money for productions. I'm at that point that there's no one who could help me. All I could afford was a one-day shoot. We got friends together, we rented a bus, and we got the job done in one day, right before the lockdown. It's hard to see the feasibility of investing on a piece of storytelling, but I'm feeling it, now that it (Crossing) is in Cinemalaya. I'm happy I took that risk."


"I went through as many film fests as I could find. To tell you the truth, I was a little hesitant because I have very high standards for myself, so I was wondering if ‘Crossing’ was Cinemalaya-worthy."


It is always the small pieces of the puzzle that make the biggest picture. Before giving a piece of advice to young aspiring filmmakers and instilling words of challenge geared towards having a career that is not as easy as a piece of cake, Marc shared a portion of his life experiences which he still lives up to on his thriving career.


"Every artist, every filmmaker starts very angstful. They want to create something new and surprise everyone with material that would blow them all away. I think every young filmmaker wants to make the greatest movie that has ever been made. Until now, I know a lot of people who still keep the same mentality, and that is not necessarily a bad thing."


BTS photos from the film production of "Crossing"



"Everyone has their inspiration. We all have our favorite film, favorite director or favorite genre. I have gone through and seen commercial productions that serve the masses. It takes so much to create and get a proper production done. What comes out, whether it's for the masses or not, is still art. What's out there reflects who we are, what's out there reflects the personality of a nation. Whatever we come up with, it describes ourselves."


"My advice for young filmmakers would be to keep your mind open. Try to get into everything you can get into. Dive into the industry. Dive into your art."


"Three things that you have to keep in mind: first, do something healthy. Pursue a sport. Take care of your body. Second, do something that makes money. Take care of yourself financially. Third, do something creative.”


“I don't think you can ever really say that you've gotten to that point [of success], because when you're there, you'll see the ladder goes higher and it just never really stops. So, in the meantime, keep your art going. Keep that passion burning. Keep telling stories."


'Crossing', together with other promising short films, will premiere in the 17th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, which will take place online from August 6 until September 5 at ktx.ph platform.


Marc Misa's film is a perfect representation of the harsh yet significant reality of life where an individual will be at a junction of choices and decisions. As for Yash Mudigonda, "Life is like a jigsaw puzzle. You just have to take correct steps at the correct moments, and your life will become a beautiful masterpiece."







Watch Marc Misa's The Daily Daily video HERE.

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