Sunday, July 20, 2008

Abangan: Kalam promotional music videos

Last Thursday and Saturday, Kalalangan Kamaru and Infomax shot the music videos of the opening and closing theme songs of Kalam, which are Alang Anggang Sugat (5 Against the Wall, Ramcos Nulud, John Canlas) and Oras (Mernuts).

Alang Anggang Sugat was shot at the Henson-Hizon heritage house in the City of San Fernando. The video reveals a subplot in Kalam, where a rape victim (played by Kalam auditions semifinalist Frency Rodriquez) resorts to witchcraft to take revenge on the two boys who took away her virginity by force, which she considers to be an eternal slash in her soul. A special cameo appearance of Aries Yap as Yubs, his character in Kalam, is something to look forward to. The character of Kool is also present in the video, albeit played by Diego Dobles, Kalam Asst. Director.

Oras, on the other hand, was shot at the lantern workshop of parol master Roland Quiambao in the same city. While the characters in the story are in no way related to Kalam, they feature five of the main cast, namely Nicolette Henson, Raco Del Rosario, Peter Danganan, Reachel Mucho, and Aries Yap. Jhaye Arzaga and Chao Chua of the Mernuts band also take part in the acting part.

Wait for their airing at Infomax-8! We will also be posting the videos on YouTube. Keep visiting this blog for updates. If you haven't heard the opening and closing theme songs of Kalam, play them below.

Alang Anggang Sugat - 5 Against the Wall feat Ramcos Nulud, John Canlas

Oras - Mernuts

Don't forget to attend the Grand Premiere of Kalam at SM City Pampanga on the 27th of August. It's totally libri.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Me keni and make way for the 1st Kapampanganovela!

August 27, 2008
SM City Pampanga

Me keni and make way for the 1st Kapampanganovela!

To the knowledge of most Filipinos, only Manila has the capability of producing teleseryes in the country, while all other dramas must have been produced by Koreans, Americans, Japanese, Mexicans, or Chinese.

But did you know that in other regions, Pinoy TV dramas are also being produced and are even employing the use of non-Tagalog languages like Cebuano? With the cultural fervor sweeping the regions, one could only be reminded that the Philippines—amidst the institutionalized belief that this archipelago only speaks Tagalog as its language while the rest are mere “dialects”—is, indeed, a diverse country, and that its diversity is bound to extend even to the field of TV dramas.

Take for example the Kapampangans, the latest Filipino ethnolinguistic group to enter the field of teleserye production. This August, which is considered the Language Month, a Kapampangan cable channel (Infomax-8) and a creative pool of Kapampangan youth (Kalalangan Kamaru) will be launching Kálam, the first ever Kapampanganovela—the term introduced to refer to kabalen-produced TV dramas—in Philippine broadcasting history.

Combining the Contemporary and Folklore

Like other Philippine regional communities, Kapampangans possess a rich and colorful collection of folklore. Apart from the usual laman labuad (“laman lupa” for the Tagalogs), Kapampangans have a diverse world of folk healers and sorcerers.

Aside from the popular mangkukulam and mambabarang, there is the magkukusim, who can project his soul from his body to bewitch people across distances; the katulunan, who can channel the spirits of various living creatures; the uple, illusion makers; the ustuang, powerful witches that can make their bodies explode and incinerate the surroundings, and many other strange, magical characters that continuously add color to our local culture, but are sadly being forgotten and replaced by foreign monsters like the Bogeyman, Big Foot, and the Loch Ness Monster.

However, in ‘Kálam’ (a Kapampangan word for “grace” or “gift”) instead of portraying these magical characters in their conventional barrio setting, they will be portrayed in the modern, urban world, dissolving the gap between science and superstition, technology and magic, and the traditional and the modern. Imagine mangkukulam, ustuang, and mangguguna (potion chemist and charms maker) living with us in the city as seemingly normal people who dress up like us, listen to the same songs we patronize, watch the latest concerts, keep Friendster accounts, occupy seats in the government, and occupy jobs in call centers and malls.

This is the universe of ‘Kálam,’ where contemporary drama meets folkloric fantasy.

More than a TV show

The producers stress that ‘Kálam’ is more than a TV show. It is also an advocacy project seeking to promote Kapampangan culture and language to the rest of the world while showcasing and enhancing the Kapampangan’s media-related skills. They dream of the day when various ethnolinguistic groups start exchanging teleseryes with one another instead of importing shows from abroad. Such cultural exchange through broadcast media will contribute to the long overdue realization of national unity for the Filipinos.

Starring an all-Kapampangan cast and written, produced, and directed by an all-Kapampangan staff and crew, ‘Kálam’ will air weeknights at Infomax-8 in Pampanga. For people outside Pampanga, keep visiting this blog for updates.

Friday, July 11, 2008

First taping day of 'Kalam'

Last July 10, the first taping day of Kalam was executed at the Holy Angel University. Amidst the technical limitations and weather nuisance, the crew was able to tape a couple of sequences.

Although it may not look like it at first glance, the production of the first episode is a spark of light in Kapampangan history, as it marks the very first day that Kapampangans -- from actors to producers, from camera men to production designers, from production assistants to technical directors -- engaged in the production of a TV drama that is equally kukuli king panga-Kapampangan (Kapampangan from top to bottom).

The staff and crew may have found the amount of work required in telenovela production surprising and a bit harder than usual, but in the long run, Kapampangans will get the hang of it, until we are able to perfect the craft. Then, knowing Kapampangans, once they have gotten the hang of this field, they will continually excel in it and even exceed what other peoples already deem satisfactory.

Can't get what we mean? Just look at how Kapampangans express their standard of beauty on giant lanterns. It does appear over the top to non-Kapampangans, but to us? That's just how lanterns should be.

Panyatang King Salapungan (Arriving at a Fork Road), the first episode of the Kapampanganovela, will give the viewers an idea of who Yubs, the main protagonist, is -- his being a secret magkukulam in Nursing school and how he deals with the rumors surrounding him among his peers.

Yubs will also encounter for the first time the enigmatic Albina, the mysterious ukluban who opens Yubs' eyes about his special ability and makes known to him the world of people with kalam, or gift.

Catch the premiere of Kalam on the 27th of August! Keep visiting this blog for updates! Watch this news clip (care of I-max News) about the first taping day:

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Youth contribute to Kapampangan Cultural Renaissance

The following series of videos is one full episode of Infomax' talk show Personalan which is shown weekly in Pampanga via Infomax-8 and ABSCBN Pampanga Channel 46.

In this episode, the creative production group Kalalangan Kamaru (creative producer of Kalam) was guested to send the message to fellow Kapampangan youth that denial of ethnicity, especially through rejection or concealment of mother language, is the most uncool thing in this period.

If you don't speak Kapampangan, you'll find that the videos have no subtitles but you may still want to watch to take a partial look at how Kapampangan mass media is progressing.

At the end of the show, Kalam became the topic of conversation. See the set of audition VTRs in the fifth video.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kalam @ Friendster

Kalam has a Friendster account! Please add us up!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kalam: A Gift of Our times

By Jade Pangilinan

I have always been a big fan of fantasy books and games. From JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth to CS Lewis’s Narnia; from Magic the Gathering cards to Dungeons and Dragons role-playing; from Harry Potter movies to Arnold Arre’s Mythology Class.

And coming soon in Pampanga is an urban fantasy made for tv series that is the first of its kind: Kalam. Kalam, which means “gift” in the vernacular, is something that should be close to a Kapampangan’s heart as this telenovela will tackle the supernatural and mythological in the context of contemporary times.
I have seen the sample clips of this Kapampanganovela on Youtube where they have been generating a lot of views, interesting feedbacks and comments, especially among the Kapampangan youth. Kalam is set to revolutionize Kapampangan tv.

It helps that the cast in itself is stellar as it brings together the freshest faces and most promising talents in Pampanga, such as the pretty and witty beauty queen and model Niket Henson and versatile theater actor Alex Tiotuico to name a few. I take pride in the Fernandinos who are part of the cast of characters, such as Reachel Mucho, Edith Chu (grew up in Guagua), KC Aldana (already replaced by Magalang's Peter Danganan; see Kalam blog for news) and Jayvie Dizon (grew up in Angeles City). More than the face value, more consideration was given to talent and Kapampangan language skills.

Add to this the continuing advocacy of Infomax 8 in producing Kapampangan shows that give us the heightened sense of belongingness and community spirit.

Knowing director Jason Laxamana and his passion for preserving Kapampangan heritage, especially in the linguistic and literary fields, expect Kalam to be well-researched and authentic. The fantastic characters we will meet will be straight out of the wealth of folkloric tradition that our noble Kapampangan ancestors have passed on through generations. For those who grew up in rural Pampanga, I am pretty sure that the characters will be very familiar although the story takes place in the urban setting.

Jason, at a very young age, exhibits an uncommonly keen understanding of Kapampangan culture and uses popular media such as rock music (for the breakthrough Rockapampangan project) and the telenovela to promote our often peripheralized intangible heritage in the mainstream and inculcate among the people, young and old alike, vestiges of our culture which we do not want to fade away or die.

Kalam shows promise to bring back into Kapampangan consciousness the nearly forgotten lore of old: mythical creatures of our ancestor’s imagination (e,g, elementals such as laman labuad) and folk beliefs that have been set aside as hear say and unscientific in these post-modern times, but are vital ingredients of what makes our culture truly Kapampangan.

Kalam gives us something to look forward to. It is a good way for non – Kapampangans to see for themselves and understand Kapampangan culture. More importantly, in this day and age when the use of the Kapampangan language is decreasing, Kalam just might be a gift that will give us a better sense of appreciation of what we have as a people before we totally lose it.

Check the Kalam sample sequences on youtube or visit their blog at Watch out for Kalam at Infomax 8 this coming August.