The making of the indie digital full-length “The Twelve”
according to a bastardized version of Dogme95’s “Vow of Chastity”
“God spelled backwards is dog, & vice versa.” Linda Goodman
“Towards Philippines 2000.” Ex-President Fidel V. Ramos
“Ang dog. Bow.” Aiza Seguerra
“Toward an impure poetry.” Pablo Neruda
“I swear to submit to the following set of rules drawn up and confirmed by DOGMAN2000:
1. Shooting can be done anywhere. Props & sets can be brought in (if a particular prop is necessary for the story, isn’t it easier to bring the prop to the location than the other way around?).
Make the most of what you have. If you can shoot it here, why shoot it there. 90% of “The Twelve” was shot in Kamias Road, from Metrobank to 7/11, with our house in the middle. The production design was half us (built, bought, brought), half the universe (already there). RIDDLE: The film waiting to be filmed. ANSWER: The Philippines.
2. The sound can be produced apart from or together with the images. (Music can be used whether or not it occurs where the scene is being shot.)
Half of the film is pure, unadulterated live-sound. You hear what the shotgun mic heard. The other half is impure, adulterated music. You hear the songs playing in my head.
3. The camera can be hand-held. Any movement or immobility attainable in the hand is permitted. (The film can take place where the camera is standing; shooting can take place where the film takes place).
Everything was shot hand-held. Except for that moment when I threw the camera from a skyscraper to the sea, capturing the sun’s death in all its mysteries.
4. The film can be in color. Special lighting is acceptable. (If there is too little light for exposure, the scene can be cut, or use whatever is needed.)
The film is in color, black&white, 50s color, monochrome, psychedelic, & x-ray. Lights used: candles, torches, bulbs, japanese lantern, halogen. Often though, the sun single-handedly did the job.
5. Optical work & filters are allowed.
Half of the film was shot with a basic filter but left untouched during post-production. The other half was shot virgin but devirginized in post-production with multiple screens, fastforward, slow motion, rewind, fish-eye, ghosting, etc.
6. The film can contain superficial action. (Murders, weapons, etc. can occur.)
Lights…Camera….Action is action is action. The superficial & the profound are merely labels that are subjective & interchangeable, thus negligible. In other words, expect realism, magic realism, surrealism, hyperrealism, et al.
7. Temporal & geographical alienation are allowed. (That is to say that the film takes place here & now, there & then, everywhere & forever.)
Time & place are at your disposal to play with, juggle, ride, negate, ignore, subvert, deconstruct. You can do whatever with them once you’ve recognized their existence.
8. Genre movies are acceptable.
Genre movies (from the Melodrama to the Western) are like cliches. They have a ring of truth in them, yet needs to be reinvented from time to time. Genre movies are also like the archetypes. Each serves a purpose in balancing the human psyche.
9. The film format is trivial.
The good thing about digital filmmaking is it’s a whole lot cheaper than shooting in 16mm or 35mm, you can shoot as many footages as you want, & it’s broadcast quality. & if you still want to blow it up, the transfer still costs less than shooting a tightly budgeted 16mm.
10. Everyone must be credited.
Everyone is a filmmaker, from the passer-by extra to the boy who held the cable for a couple of seconds. Why, even the Indian who sold you the computer is a filmmaker. No rebel is without a crew. No filmmaker is an island.
11. Just do it, now.
With the democratization of filmmaking, you can shoot your opus in any format: video8, hi8, vhs, whatever. Your passion is your energy is your life is your art. No more excuses, alibis, delaying tactics, cynicism. Just make your film, now.
12. This is not the time for short films in the Philippines.
Due to too many good shorts collecting dust in forgotten shelves, & too many bad full-lengths that shouldn’t have been made in the first place, I prescribe: For 1 year. All full-length filmmakers make at least 12 shorts not exceeding 10 minutes. & all short filmmakers make at least 3 full-lengths not less than 70 minutes.
Furthermore, I swear as a filmmaker to be myself, whoever that self is, with personal taste & all. I am forever an artist. I swear to continue creating works, as I regard the part as important as the whole. My supreme goal is to let my characters & settings be. I swear to do so by all the means available & at no cost of any good taste & any aesthetic considerations.
Thus I make my 12 BOWOWOWS OF IMPURITY.”
Kamias, Monday, May 7, 2000
On behalf of DOGMAN2000,
Khavn De La Cruz