Producer and director Christopher Ad Castillo, son of the late Filipino director Celso Ad Castillo, has aired his thoughts on the Cathy Molina cursing incident via social media.
In a Facebook post, Castillo begins by recounting his role in the film Ekstra, a movie that exposes the current situation of bit players (extras) in the Philippines.
He then relates the Cathy Molina incident to the example set by his father, who treated his staff with respect.
“My Father told me a long time ago that you have to be respectful to the extras and stunt people,” says Castillo. “They’re the invisible backbone of the industry and the least taken cared of. He even made it a point to eat with them on their table and joke with them.”
Castillo proceeds to air his thoughts on the cruelty of picking on bit players, saying “To pick on defenseless people is cowardice. And there’s no justification whatsoever for that. Nothing. Not one.”
He adds that directors need to protect and make extras feel part of the set – a simple act of kindness that’s part of “giving back”.
Castillo questions the silence of other mainstream director. When a similar incident happened months ago to an independent director, mainstream directors went on Facebook to air their thoughts.
However, these directors have remained silent when the issue involved a big-name director like Cathy Molina.
He ends by stressing that respect is earned, adding that real stress is something that should be handled differently in a professional environment.
“Stress is having nothing to eat. Trying to solve blocking problems on a set is not.”
Full text of Christopher Ad Castillo’s post:
In the film Ekstra, I did a cameo on the first sequence. I was the director who screamed and yelled because an extra made a mistake.
I couldn’t use the Stanislavski acting method because I don’t have experience in that. I’ve screamed on my set only to quiet everything down when people tend to forget where they are and become loud. I’ve dropped the f-bombs but those are private and behind the set.
The Cathy Molina incident is very sad in all aspects but it is symptomatic of not just the film industry but businesses in general in the Philippines.
Unfortunately, Filipinos have a subservient gene and that is quickly taken advantage by people on the higher ups. Women especially are a big target of bullies.
People have posted that sets of my father Celso Ad Castillo and his contemporaries were much worst. I can’t speak for others but I can speak for my Dad.
Yes he screamed and dropped atomic f-bombs and I even saw him punch someone. He even almost got into a fistfight with FPJ. But he only did that to the lead actors who were getting paid a lot of money to do their jobs and to his staff who were there to run the engine. He expected them to be on the set on time and prepared and fully concentrated. He never did that to people on the long end of the stick.
My Father told me a long time ago that you have to be respectful to the extras and stunt people. They’re the invisible backbone of the industry and the least taken cared of. He even made it a point to eat with them on their table and joke with them.
I have always taken that to heart and I do the same thing on my set. To pick on defenseless people is cowardice. And there’s no justification whatsoever for that. Nothing. Not one. To protect and make them feel part of the set is giving back. Plus I love talking to extras because they do this for the love and it reminds me why I do it in the first place. And I get my own coffee and stand in line for food for the most part. I don’t need anyone to do that for me. They’re not my maids. They’re my crew.
This event can be a learning experience and an opportunity for changes to be made. I don’t know the actors in this drama personally but can you imagine what they can achieve if they got together and spoke about it. Highly unlikely to happen but it’s here and now and what better time to fix a dark part of our beloved industry. I’m sure Cathy Molina is not an evil person but an apology is warranted if this went down the way it did. And her staff that reportedly laughed about the incident, they have some explaining to do.
What bothers me is when an independent director was accused of physical abuse on the set months ago, all these mainstream directors went on FB to denigrate him. The same directors are obviously quiet on this one.They know where their bread is buttered.
You end 2015 a hypocrite, you begin 2016 as one.
I’m not always the nicest person on the set. But I will always make sure respect is given back if you put it out there.
And let’s make it clear. Stress is having nothing to eat. Trying to solve blocking problems on a set is not.