Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A new Pinoy TV series and its seven catches

Press release ya ini para keng Punto.

There is a new Pinoy TV series that tackles the lives of kulam practitioners, gayuma makers, and people who casually contact with local horror characters like the kapri and the tikbalang. As children, we have often heard and imagined their adventures happen in the rural areas, in places where nightlife belongs to characters of horror and diseases are believed to be caused by bewitchment or elf-made magic. Not in the upcoming fantaserye (if you're a Kapamilya) or telefantasya (if you're a Kapuso) aptly titled Kalam.

Below, we present seven major catches why Kalam is something to watch out for.

It's set in the city

Even though its genre is fantasy, it's urban fantasy. Imagine the local witches, monsters, and elementals 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 acquire jobs in call centers and malls. This is the universe of Kalam, where folkloric fantasy meets contemporary drama. Which brings us to the costumes and special effects. If you're a fan of the mascot-like characters you see in the primetime fantasy TV dramas, which range from mermaids to humanoid horses, Kalam could serve as an alternative, as the characters, in spite of holding magical abilities and some being innately supernatural like the aswang, do not sport out-of-this-world clothes. Witches come in school uniforms, corporate attires, tees, and jeans.

It's intellectual and entertaining

Gender, cultural, racial, moral, intellectual, and sociological sensitivity -- how much of these have you found in your local soap operas? In between the entertaining waves of action and fantasy, Kalam either subtly or aggressively tackles gender issues, cultural and philosophical issues, and social problems the youth most likely encounter everyday but fail to sense because they have been greatly institutionalized in the society to the point of blindly accepting them as "normal" already. Take for example the lead female character, Dette, who, aside from having an opened third eye (she is able to see ghostly images through the lenses of her cameras), is also a feminist. One of the main characters is the potions chemist John Joy, who is a single father proudly declaring his "greed" for money amidst the Filipino's bad (and hypocritical) attitude toward wealth. Them, and more.

It's weekly, it's one-hour

Unlike the mainstream Pinoy TV dramas, Kalam will be shown weekly in one full hour. Even though it is a series, every episode has its own subplot that generally ends within that episode as well. Each episode is distinct enough to leave the viewers something to remember, which is something not usually practiced by your favorite primetime TV dramas. If you are to be asked what happened in the sixteenth episode of Marimar, will you recall? How about the fifth episode of Kampanerang Kuba? Do you have a favorite episode, or just favorite scenes?

It's filled with new faces

If you're the typical person whose TV viewing is dictated by the popularity of the cast (e.g. "I shall watch Iisa Pa Lamang because Gabby Concepcion and Claudine Baretto are in it"), then Kalam could either disappoint you or serve as an alternative. It boasts of the appropriateness of the actors in and their ability to give life to the roles, as the story and characters were imagined first, and then the auditions. No role was created just to boost the career of a certain cast member. Aries Yap, Reachel Mucho, Alex Tiotuico, Nicolette Henson, Jayvie Dizon, Peter Danganan, Edith Chu, Raco Del Rosario -- do you know them? You might not, but we're sure you'll love their colorful characterizations. Watch out for a feature on the main cast of Kalam and the characters they animate.

It's set in Pampanga

Dyesebel and Asero shoot often in Pampanga, but you probably don't know that. Why? Because they don't mention that fact. They do not boast of it and it doesn't help the province when it comes to tourism. Kalam on the other hand is set in Pampanga and presents Pampanga proudly as a complex and developing province worth of interest. You'll see the Holy Rosary Church, the Holy Angel University, and other places in the episodes. And with the place comes the culture of the province itself with its customs and traditions -- both contemporary and folk -- Kapampangan dishes, crafts, etc. Remember: kimchi, along with other elements of Korean culture, was made popular by the Korean entertainment wave.

It's in the Kapampangan language

To the knowledge of most Filipinos, Tagalog and English are the sole languages of mass media in the Philippines. But did you know that in Cebu, they have a genre called the Cebuanovela or the Visayanovela which employs their native language (no, they're not dialects; they're languages)? With the cultural and linguistic fervor sweeping the regions, one could only be reminded that the Philippines is, indeed, a diverse country, and that its diversity is bound to extend even to the field of TV dramas. The news: Kalam, being set in Pampanga, will naturally be in the Kapampangan language. More than the me keni's and o jo, kaluguran da ka's, every episode will be in Kapampangan, some fluent, some balid, some gegege, and some in pidgin. Characters will be discussing, arguing, emoting, etc. in our Amanung Sisuan Kapampangan. As the lead antagonist, Albina, said in the first episode, Abayan mu ku at apalyari tamu ita! (Join me and we'll make it happen!)

It's a Kapampangan production

Infomax. 8, a Kapampangan cable channel based in San Fernando, and Kalalangan Kamaru, a multidisciplinary team of creative Kapampangan youth, are behind the production of Kalam, in line with their advocacy of revolutionizing Kapampangan media and living up with how we, Kapampangans, tag ourselves: excellent. The actors, if you were able to tell by their surnames, are all Kapampangan. The writer and director is Kapampangan. The producers are Kapampangan. The crew members are Kapampangan. The creative staff is Kapampangan.

What's still a lack is you, a fellow Kapampangan, who must have been used to patronizing Tagalog and foreign TV shows. Now that we have a teleserye of our own, we ask you to support this endeavor by being witness to the Primerung Pasinag or Grand Premiere of Kalam, the first ever "Kapampanganovela" in the history of Philippine broadcasting, where the first episode will be screened. It will take place at the 27th of August (the Language Month) at the Entertainment Plaza of SM Pampanga, 5 PM. Admission is free. For more information about Kalam, visit http://kalamtv.blogspot.com

No comments: