Coco Martin on indie versus the mainstream

He was the face of Philippine independent films before he transitioned into one of the most recognisable faces in mainstream cinema

Image Credit: A.K Kallouche/Gulf News
Martin with child actor Xymon Ezekiel Pineda.
Tabloid

Before becoming a successful actor in the mainstream industry, Coco Martin was already a popular figure in the independent movie scene. In fact, he was the face of Philippine independent films before he transitioned into one of the most recognisable faces in Philippine television and mainstream cinema.

“It’s a long process transitioning from indie to mainstream, and it’s not that easy because it’s a different environment when you are in the indie industry,” said Martin. “When I was still doing indie it was just purely art. I don’t think about how much I will get paid or how much the movie will earn. What I aimed for was for the movie to be recognised abroad and in the Philippines and maybe get at least a nomination for best actor.”

Now that he is juggling TV, mainstream and indie projects, he admits he now looks at acting from a much broader perspective.

“When I entered TV I realised that it’s not just all about art, but it has a business dimension as well. You need to take care of yourself. I also learned who my viewers are. Honestly, whether in mainstream or indie, as an artist I have a big responsibility to the viewers, especially with children nowadays. As an artist, we have a big influence and we should always think if we are doing more harm than good to our viewers. We should serve as a model to them.”

Martin also offered his thoughts on this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, which drew criticism from mainstream producers for accepting mostly independent movies. One of the mainstream movies that failed to make the cut was The Super Parental Guardians, which stars Martin and comedian Vice Ganda.

“For someone coming from both indie and mainstream, I don’t like it that the movie industry is being divided. But I respect the decision of the jury. Maybe they are looking for a certain new criteria. We will try again next year.”

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