Cast and crew of ‘Lamentasyon’ at Vox Cinemas, Grand Hyatt Cineplex, on November 15. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

The first full-length movie entirely shot and produced in Dubai by an all-Filipino expat cast and crew will be shown in Dubai starting this week.

Lamentasyon, a pychological thriller, has been a passion project by UAE-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who had to overcome great odds, including conflicting schedules with their day jobs, to complete the independent film.

Inspired by the psychological impact of working away from family, Lamentasyon looks into the common problems faced by most OFWs in the UAE. However, it casts a spotlight on these challenges from a different angle, as it explores the conflicts and struggles experienced by OFWs by looking at their psychological impact.

Lamentasyon refers to the act of expressing grief, a theme the movie adopts as it explores the plight of many Filipino expatriates in the UAE. “We titled our film Lamentasyon because we OFWs experience longingness to our loved ones and that’s what makes us grieve,” says director Archie Enriquez.

The film tells the story of Samuel, a young Filipino expatriate in Dubai who has to deal with financial obligations and a bizarre roommate, Mang Gerry. Samuel experiences strange occurrences that makes him distrustful of everyone, including himself.

Samuel is played by Dexter Dalisay, a Dubai-based industrial engineer and commercial model, while Emil Barcenilla, a well-known personality within Filipino entertainment circles in Dubai, is cast as Mang Gerry.

Lamentasyon also features other well-known personalities within the Filipino community in the UAE such as Yasmin Balajadia-Cortez, Rico Mondejar, Josie Romulo, Bengs Hyu, Carl Quion and Dannabelle Guiterrez.

Before the movie will be officially released, here are the things you should know about Lamentasyon.

• It’s the first full-length movie done entirely by Filipino expatriates in the UAE serving as cast and crew. “I think this is the first claim to fame by Lamentasyon, that this is the first feature Filipino feature film – written, produced, starred, directed, marketed and distributed by overseas Filipinos and luckily we have the Filipinos based in Dubai and the Northern Emirates spearheading this sort of programme,” says Paul Raymund Cortes, Philippine Consul-General in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

• The team started working together in February, from conceptualisation, production and down to the post-production. “We really underestimated doing a full-length movie, however, we managed to do it with the help of all the cast and crew – they put their hearts and their dedication to the project and we finished the project eventually with smiling faces,” says Enriquez, whose team developed the script in two months and conducted acting workshops for two weeks. Shooting days were usually on Fridays, the off day of most of the cast and crew.

• Enriquez is a self-taught filmmaker who has directed short films for various film festivals in Dubai, including the Dubai International Film Festival 48 Hours Film Project and the Emirates Short Film Festival. His entry this year at Emirates Film Festival, titled Kaarawan (Birthday), won Best Film and he was also awarded Best Director.

• While other films that tackle the plight of OFWs are usually heavy dramas, Lamentasyon tries to shy away from the typical with a psychological thriller genre.

• One of the film’s struggles and challenges was budget, which is not uncommon among independent filmmakers. Sometimes the cast and crew had to use their own money for their expenses doing the film.

• Scheduling the shoots was another big problem. Dexter Dalisay, who played Samuel, needed to travel from Sharjah to Dubai as most of the scenes were shot in Dubai. “I really have to sacrifice travelling,” he says. “Sometimes the shoot will be finished very late in the evening and I have to travel back to Sharjah and wake up early the next day for work – I just get two or three hours of sleep. Emil Barcenilla, who portrayed Mang Gerry, had to close his barber shop on Fridays because of the shoots. “I have to sacrifice the income for that day. Then I have to compensate the earnings I’ve lost,” says Barcenilla. “Usually Fridays have more customers because it’s the weekend here in Dubai.”

• The movie also features some tourist destinations in Dubai such as the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Miracle Garden and the Butterfly Garden.


Don’t miss it!

Lamentasyon releases in the UAE on December 6 at Vox Cinemas, City Centre Deira.