Home Arts & Leisure Under Parallel Skies merging cultures

Under Parallel Skies merging cultures

WITH protagonists coming from Thailand and the Philippines meeting and falling in love in Hong Kong, the romantic drama film Under Parallel Skies promises to be a heartwarming cross-cultural story.

It follows Parin (played by Thai star Win Metawin) who travels to Hong Kong to look for his missing mother. There, he meets Iris (played by Filipina actress Janella Salvador), a hotel employee who joins him on his journey.

Director Sigrid Bernardo said in a press conference on April 2 which was streamed online that having three cultures involved — Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong — reflected both in the story and in the production crew.

“It works because the right communication and mutual respect of each other’s cultures makes it work,” she said. On the two leads’ chemistry, she added, “Coming from different cultures is hard enough. It’s a romantic comedy and a love story so it’s very important to have chemistry between the actors. It helped them both a lot to do the acting workshop and bond during the shoot.”

Inspired by today’s increasingly globalized landscape, 28 Squared Studios chief executive officer and the film’s executive producer Kristhoff Cagape said that Under Parallel Skies represents their studio’s vision.

“We want to bring stories from the Philippines to Asia and beyond. With audiences’ support, we’ll definitely have more cross-country stories like this for the world to see,” he said.

As the leading lady of the film, Ms. Salvador said it was important to draw from the characters’ similarities and shared experiences rather than their differences to bring the story to life.

“No matter how different we are — because obviously our characters are from different parts of the world — we all live under the same sky. We can all just connect with each other and love each other freely,” she said.

While the creation of the film was brought about by ambitious goals, its message is actually very simple, according to Mr. Metawin.

“My character, Parin, understands that you can create your own happiness,” he said. It is also a sentiment he now shares with his character: “I always dreamed that if I had a chance, one day I would collaborate with international people. Now, my dream has come true already.”

He praised the Philippine team he worked with. “It was a very good experience working with Filipinos. Our cultures are very similar, so I didn’t have to adapt or change anything with myself,” he added.

On the other hand, the film gave Ms. Salvador a challenging role.

“Iris is very different from who I am in real life, which is what made her a bit challenging for me to portray, but I loved every bit of it. Ang dami kong natutunan kay Iris bilang OFW (I learned a lot from Iris who is an OFW). If we have a similarity, it’s that we’re both big dreamers,” she said.

Filming in Hong Kong was also a highlight for both actors. They explained that audiences will enjoy discovering underrated locations through the movie, like the small island town of Peng Chau and the fishing village of Tai O.

“They don’t have cars there and they live very simply, and it was nice to observe how different the way of living is there,” said Ms. Salvador.

Richard Juan, the film’s co-producer from 28 Squared Studios, added that those locations are meant to “showcase a different side of Hong Kong.”

“We’ve seen all the Causeway Bays, all the Centrals, all the tall buildings, but people often forget that there’s a different side [to Hong Kong],” he said.

On the film’s relatability to audiences, he told the press that it is the driving force behind making it in the first place. “The movies I resonate the most with are the ones I see are real. I prefer stories I can connect with. That’s why what you see in real life, we try to portray on the big screen.”

Under Parallel Skies had its world premiere at the 17th Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong. It will premiere in the Philippines on April 17, in Singapore on May 1, and in Thailand on May 9. — Brontë H. Lacsamana