'Transmigrate:' A different kind of indie

MANILA, Philippines - What is an independent film?

An indie film can take the form of a homemade video put up by a 13-year-old online, thus indicating low-cost production, and this is perhaps the commonly understood definition.

But the indie standard has changed over time and gone past the concerns of financing.

If formal definitions are in order, an indie film means to be non-mainstream or simply "out of the box," therefore, the artistic (sometimes annoying) choices of unscoring, rule of non-thirds, and shaky cinematography.

One-person enterprise, almost

An upcoming indie thriller entitled "Transmigrate: The Troubled One" might just amplify our current understanding. 

Starring newcomer Criselle Quinn, "Transmigrate" is the story of a young woman who returns to her hometown after eight years of living away, bringing with her a sense of mystery and trouble for her family.

What "Transmigrate" adds to the "indie" definition is the fact that it was almost created as a one-person enterprise. Because Criselle, the film’s lead actress, also conceptualized, wrote, and produced the movie. (But this film is directed by Andy Andico.)

“It’s almost a one-man show in order to showcase what I have as a filmmaker,” Criselle said. 

As a film newbie, she faced several difficulties yet her “passion and determination” saw this project’s delivery, she said.

Below is the official "Transmigrate" teaser:

Comfort zone

Criselle was a marketing major at the University of Santo Tomas before pursuing her dream of filmmaking.

Although she had also signed up in a film school after college, Criselle still found this project a new experience, one that entailed stepping out of her comfort zone and developing as an artist.

As for acting, she said, “I am not a theater actress, so I had to self-train. I would lock myself up in my room and [discover my character].”

As a producer, “I had to cut a lot of corners. I wouldn’t say I spent extravagantly for this movie. Even with the cast…[it was] very, very minimal.” 

Finally, as a writer, “It was very hard for me to write in Tagalog as I grew up in Western culture; that’s why I wrote the film in English. I had to be true to myself. It was more for expression.”

Aside from these adjustments, Criselle also remembers that dealing with people was also one of the difficulties she encountered. When asked how she overcame it, she said: “For people passionate about filmmaking… [it] is not an easy task. The first step is you have to be decided. You will face the darkest days, all the good and the bad."

Again: "It’s all about passion and determination.” 

Seeing the final cut was worth all the challenges for the newcomer.

Criselle hopes that her work would help redefine indie movies as a vocation of bold and creative multitasking.

"Transmigrate" falls under the psychological genre, a movie that is intended to play with audience anticipation. 

The film also stars Cris Pastor and Patrick Patawaran. - Rappler.com

The movie opens in SM cinemas on June 19.