Revolutionizing Philippine animation

6:02 AM / /

Something is shaking up the local animation industry. After the release of the full-length Filipino
animated feature Urduja, here comes the first fully-digital animation with a more exciting and
contemporary story entitled Dayo.

Dayo (Wanderer) is a heartwarming story about Bubuy (voice by Nash Aguas), an 11-year-old boy from Antipolo, who takes on a journey to save his beloved grandparents abducted into Elementalia — a fantasy land thriving with strange flora and fauna and home to several enchanted creatures of Philippine mythology.

Bubuy then meets Anna Manananggirl (voice by Katrina Legaspi), a young and energetic manananggal (a winged creature that can separate her torso from her lower body) with a special fondness for all things human except to eat them. The two live out an adventure full of wild, will-testing and comical experiences all over Elementalia—from an enormous waterfalls heaving with gravity-defying merfolk to the breathtaking crystal cave dwelled by colorful alitubi (fairies) to a magnificent old tree that is home to a motherly kapre (a sort of big ogre who lives on trees and smokes cigars) and finally to a majestic mountain protected by a big pack of hungry aswangs (ghoul or vampire).

The production of Dayo is the newest flagship project of Cutting Edge Productions. The company
boasts of being the only one-stop-facility in the Philippines with the technological resources that can do online and offline video editing, motion graphics, visual effects, animation, original music and sound design in a single Macintosh-based studio. The company operates the most up-to-date digital equipment and pushes for progressive and innovative outputs. Ten multi-functional work terminals are available for small and large-scale television, film, radio and new media productions. Cutting Edge has been able to establish a strong foundation of clients that include leading multinational companies and advertising agencies since its inception in 2003.

Actual production of Dayo commenced in October 2007, but planning and pre-production already started as early as January of the same year. Currently, the film is 70 percent done and is expected to be completed by November in time for the 2008 Metro Manila Film Festival. By then, the film will have spent just almost two years to make, a period shorter than the usual three years for a traditional fulllength animation to finish.

Amounting to around $1.3 million, Dayo is considered to be relatively cheaper than doing a traditional animation project which is estimated at more than P80 million to produce. Under the direction of Cutting Edge in-house director Robert Quilao, Dayo employs both 2D and 3D technologies powered by Toon Boom using Macintosh and Linux platforms. Quilao labels the animation project as “tradigital,” meaning the drawing is done traditionally by hand, but executed directly onto a computer screen or PC tablet instead of using papers, thus making Dayo the first ever fully-digital animation in the country.

Music will be scored by Jessie Lasaten, a multi-awarded composer and arranger for Filipino films like Anak and Bata, Bata, Pa’no Ka Ginawa? among others. The score is played in full ensemble by the Philharmonic Orchestra and is conducted by Gerard Salonga, while the theme song entitled “Lipad” (Fly) will be sung by the country’s premier artist Lea Salonga.

Dayo is part of Cutting Edge’s objectives to enrich Filipino content creation. “The Philippines has been outsourcing animation and digital works for around two decades now,” states Lasaten, executive producer of Dayo and chief executive officer of Cutting Edge Productions. “It’s about time that we recognized our very own animators by creating original content that is proudly Filipino.” Lasaten constantly challenges his pool of creative minds and animators to compete on a regional and international scale by way of content creation.

Also included in the company’s mission-vision are to constantly educate budding artists through
workshops and seminars and to outsource local artists. In Dayo, some artists are even subcontracted from provinces like Camarines Sur. More than 500 freelance artists and animators from various studios poured their talents in this first mainstream venture of Cutting Edge Productions. The experienced ones took charge of the drawing foundations and character sketches, while the young ones served as the in-betweeners and clean-up artists.

According to the Animation Council of the Philippines, there is a very small number of about 8,000 artists in the country today. Lasaten attributes this to the usual notion of people who are good at drawing to take up and pursue careers in architecture, interior design and other related fields. “It is rare that they would go into animation,” explains Lasaten, “people even usually frown upon the idea.” The target of the council, with the help of Cutting Edge Productions, is to increase the number of artists to 20,000 by 2010. They hope to achieve this through endeavors such as Dayo and by working with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for the training of talents. They want to prove that there is a demand and a promising career in animation.

More than just being a Filipino creation, Dayo is out to prove that it is undeniably a cutting edge
animation project and that the Filipinos can do an ambitious and revolutionary project like this. The Animation Council of the Philippines considers Dayo as the key in transforming the local animation scene into a more promising and progressive industry.

Complementing the visual spectacle of Dayo is its official Web site where kids and adults alike can play online games, participate in forums, post on bulletin boards, and download wallpapers and other interesting stuff. The site is provided and maintained by New Media Philippines.

For more information about the movie, people can visit www.dayomovie.com

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