INTERVIEW BY GELO GONZALES
PHOTO COURTESY OF PONG IGNACIO
PHOTO COURTESY OF PONG IGNACIO
4) You once said that doing a Sugarfree music video was a dream project, which was something you fulfilled with “Hangover.” Was it a challenge to separate the fan and the filmmaker in you? Were there things about the band that you really wanted to highlight? Behind-the-scenes moments you wanted to show a bigger audience? What are they?
Actually, it was the quite the opposite. I had to stick to my fan-self in order to shoot this film. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to know what to shoot. I needed to be a fan so that I know what people wanted to see behind the curtains, and what they wanted to know about the band.
The filmmaking side of the project actually began when I sat down in the editing room, because that was where I needed to know how and where the story will go. At the same time I didn’t want to alienate those who arent big fans of Sugarfree, so when we started editing, part of our challenge was to make the film as relatable to everyone as possible.
A band breakup isn't just difficult for the fans. It’s also hard, if not harder, for Sugarfree, and this is proably what I wanted the people to see. You’ll see that in the part right before they go onstage [on their final gig]. But more than that, we really wanted to show the love that poured that night, both from the band and the fans.
There’s a scene in the film where we juxtaposed the interviews of the fans with the band’s press interview, and it was wonderful how it turned out; it really showed their mutual love for each other.
5) It has been a year since the farewell concert. What were the challenges that you faced that it took a year to release this documentary? Or was the one-year wait an intentional move to coincide with the band’s farewell anniversary?
It was both planned and unintentional, ha ha. After shooting the docu, I decided to take a step back from the whole project. The experience of shooting the documentary was so draining that we had to take a break from it. At the same time, we wanted the whole Sugarfree break-up to simmer down for a bit.
So we went on to do other online shows like Alive At The Womb, and by the time it was over I realized it’s been over 8 months since we last touched the Paalam Pilipinas footage.
So when we (atthewomb.com) were planning for 2012, we decided to make Paalam Pilipinas our first offering for the year, and it made more sense that we release it a year after their last show to commemorate that special night. We hope it becomes a reminder to everyone on how Sugarfree made such a big impact to its fans, and the music scene.
6) How much input did the members of Sugarfree have in this? Did you guys have to pitch it to them like “Hey Ebe, how about we do this documentary about your final concert?”
Actually that was what exactly happened! After I got approval to do the documentary, I called Ebe and said the exact same thing. At first, I was worried that he might not like the idea of cameras following him around, but then he really got excited about the whole thing, and even convinced the other members to participate in it.
The input during the shoot was mostly theirs, since all we did was follow them around and ask them questions every now and then. They were really open and honest the whole time, and I think it’s pretty transparent in the film. That’s something I really appreciated.
7) In one of our last interviews with them, it seemed like they were really done and over with everything, like they’d just like to move on with their own lives. Did you and your crew share any intimate moments with the band during their farewell tour or even after that that would have stated otherwise?
We did share a lot of intimate moments with the band during that day.
However based on what we saw, it was clear that they had no plans of turning back. We really saw how much they loved the band, and how difficult it was for them to perform for one last time. But despite that, they really wanted to make sure that the band say goodbye to their fans properly, and I think they did.
It was a very graceful exit for Sugarfree.
NEXT: Ebe Dancel's "interesting" email to Paalam Pilipinas director