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Film festival season is always an exciting time for movie buffs. Given limited time and venues schedules and screenings can be difficult to squeeze into your schedule. Fortunately, for those who were unable to catch Sleepless or Patintero at the QCinema Film Fest – they are screening again at Teatrino at Promenade, Greenhills on December 12, 7pm.

Sleepless is a refreshing take on friendship between a boy and girl. Two call center agents plagued by insomnia find companionship in late night conversations. To get you in the mood, we stay up with director Prime Cruz as he answers our questions about his film starring Dominic Roco and Glaiza De Castro.

How many years has the idea of Sleepless been sitting in your head and how does it feel now that the whole process is over?

Sleepless is actually my girlfriend’s script. It’s an old script and she wrote the story about 7 years ago. It’s really really important to her and I’m glad I was able to help her tell this story. I really enjoyed making the film even if it meant getting a few hours of sleep every day so I’m actually kinda sad that the whole thing’s over. But we’re still doing some minor adjustments like adding additional score, making shirts, and stickers so there’s that.

The added touches of animation were a surprise element in the film. Any particular reason you wanted to give it this treatment?

During the scripting stage, many people were already telling me to cut the animated bits out. Most of the people who read the script believed the film should be a straight talkie. But for me it was a way of visualizing the silly stuff that Gem and Barry talk about. It’s their way of escape from reality and it’s what connects them both so I wanted to do something detached from the real world that only the two of them would get. Also I think it would be cool to visualize the silly stuff that me and my girlfriend talk about (the conversations from the film were based on real conversations). If we had budget I would have shot the imagined scenarios live action with super awesome special effects.

Tell us about late night conversations. It seems insomnia and their job as call center agents gave the characters a chance to only talk at night. Is there a certain thing about late night conversations that provide more intimacy than day time conversations? Is this something that was important to the film?

Jen (Prime’s girlfriend) and I both have trouble falling asleep. I actually just woke up about an hour ago and Jen is probably still asleep. Haha! There’s a certain loneliness during the night that I can’t quite explain. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the people are already asleep or that it’s quieter, or the way the cats from the street look at you. I don’t know. Night reminds us that we’re alone maybe. Having two people talk and connect in this lonely setting was a central element in the film.

The characters each had their own set of problems and gave each other the hope that they needed to work through it.  What themes were important to you in this film?

You know that feeling when you have a problem and you just sort of accept it and not do anything about it. Sometimes all we need is a little push, a little companionship to remind us that we have a problem and we need to do something about it. The film is about being stuck and about taking baby steps, important baby steps. A lot of people deal with daily shit that only they can truly understand. Some people might dismiss their problems as shallow or call them weak or say the solution is simple and right there in front of them. Still, taking the first step is hard and scary. And it really helps to have someone there with us, a shoulder to lean on, someone to talk to. These little things can give us this strength to take that first baby step. And towards the end, we’re not sure if Barry is going to find Jason. We’re not sure if Gem can find the strength to leave Vince. But the important thing is, they’ve taken the first step. Not everything may turn out the way they hoped for but they’ve taken the first step, and that’s super cool.

Last! What do you do when you have trouble falling asleep?

I watch nature documentaries, movies. I smoke, I waste time in social media and talk to my girlfriend on the phone. 🙂

To catch Sleepless you can buy tickets at P200. Buy directly at Greenhills Cinema (Promenade or Theater Mall) or Teatrino. For reservations, call Teatrino at +632 721-2949 between 10am to 5pm.

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