A huge and unexpected but welcome check on her long bucket list.
This is how 17-year-old Francine Diaz summed up her feelings about the fact that her first ever suspense thriller film, “Tenement 66” will be participating in the 25th Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival (BIFAN), under the Bucheon Choice category.
“Napakalaking blessing, napakalaking opportunity,” Francine shared.
Francine takes on the role of the quiet but angsty and dominant Lea, co-starring with Francis Magundayao and Noel Comia, in the second Rae Red-helmed flick.
“Tenement 66” follows the story of three teens, Lea (Francine) and her neighbors (Francis and Noel) execute a plan to rob the apartment of a man named Nando (Lou Veloso), whom she also caught stealing a large sum of money. But their plan takes an awry turn as their lives are put in peril, after being held hostage by the gruesome homeowner and his aid in a series of bloody and suspense-filled confrontations.
Of the many scenes for the iWantTFC film, the most challenging one, according to Francine, was when she was gagged while being tortured by Lou’s character. This has been largely due to the many shots for that scene.
However, Francine was quick to add that she especially loved that challenge.
“Kasi na-e-explore ko yung sarili ko bilang artista at kung hanggang saan ang kaya ko at kung ano ang kaya kong ibigay,” she said.
Quite interestingly, the “Huwag Ka Nang Mangamba” star never had second thoughts when the project was pitched to her.
“After nilang ibigay sakin yung kwento at yung character, sabi ko, ‘Okay po ako. Kelan po tayo magsisimula?’ Kaya talagang sobrang saya ko nung nabigay siya sakin,” she recalled.
But, what somehow got her nervous was when she found out that it was Direk Rae, who’s behind the award-winning feminist film “Babae at Baril,” that would be helming their film.
“Kasi first time ko po siyang makaka-trabaho. Napakagaling na director at open siya sa mga suggestions naming actors, kung ano ang gusto naming gawin sa characters namin. Ready siya makipag-collaborate sa mga actors,” she said.
Now that she got a taste of doing intense projects, will this be the direction of her next films?
“Yes, I think so. Like I said, I’m always down for the challenge, especially when it comes to acting,” she said. “Kasi gusto ko yung meron akong na-a-unlock na achievement or skill sa buhay ko at sa sarili ko.”
Having been in the business for only six years, Francine admits that she has a long list of dream projects and dream roles that she hopes to breathe life into.
“Gusto kong ma-try yung role na secret agent ako or ako naman yung medyo ma-action. Yung parang si Al Pacino sa Scarface tapos si Angeline Jolie sa Salt,” she said.
Despite her tender age, Francine proves that she’s got what it takes to last in this business that demands a lot of flexibility and passion from those in it.
Catch Francine in "Tenement 66" commercial-free and in high-definition on SKY Pay-Per-View from July 9 until August 9. "Tenement 66” is a co-production of Dreamscape Entertainment, an ABS-CBN entertainment unit, and Epicmedia.