Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan: Adapting to Changing Viewing Habits in a Streaming Era

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Director Chito Roño and producer Roselle Monteverde of “Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” recently shared their thoughts on the changing viewing habits of Filipino audiences and the decision to release the film via a streaming app. Originally planned for a theatrical release, the filmmakers recognized the impact of the pandemic on the way people consume media.

Roselle Monteverde, co-CEO of Regal Entertainment, acknowledged the shift in audience behavior, stating that people now prefer to stay at home. This change in preferences led them to choose a streaming platform as the distribution channel for the movie. The accessibility and wider reach provided by streaming apps were attractive factors, allowing viewers from different territories to enjoy the film.

While Chito Roño expressed some regret that the film would not be shown in cinemas, he recognized the evolving landscape and the powerlessness of his role in deciding where it would be exhibited. Despite his personal preference for the big screen experience, he accepted the decision and emphasized his role as the film’s director.

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Lead actor Joshua Garcia, who plays the character Galo, supported the decision to release the film through streaming platforms. He highlighted the convenience and ease of access that streaming offers, enabling viewers to watch the movie from the comfort of their homes or while on the go using various devices.

Chito Roño recalled the challenges faced during the filming of the movie in 2020, amidst strict pandemic lockdowns. The team had begun shooting before the pandemic and encountered difficulties securing shooting locations due to travel restrictions imposed by local government units. Changes had to be made, including finding a new house for the character Mama Susan, and adhering to the regulations set by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).

The director also mentioned the unfortunate passing of two cast members due to COVID-19 during the filming process. Despite these setbacks, he hoped they would be pleased with the outcome of the movie.

Chito Roño and novelist Bob Ong collaborated to make necessary changes to the story, particularly the ending. The original ending in the novel left haunting thoughts for readers, but the screenplay offered a different effect. The director found it eerie how the book, written a decade ago, seemed to predict the current circumstances.

“Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” revolves around the character Galo, a college student who finds himself entangled in increasingly terrifying scenarios described in his journal. Joshua Garcia, in his first solo lead role, mentioned drawing energy from veteran actress Angie Ferro, who plays Mama Susan. He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work with Chito Roño and Regal Entertainment.

Joshua also shared personal growth and changes in his perspective since he began working on the movie in 2019. He emphasized the importance of simplicity and taking care of loved ones, reflecting on the maturity he has gained over time. Joshua’s decision to sell his luxury vehicles demonstrates his shift towards a more practical lifestyle.

As Joshua’s career continues to progress, he remains open to new opportunities and appreciates the chance to collaborate with talented individuals like Chito Roño and Roselle Monteverde. The experience of working with Regal Entertainment has been an honor for him.

In conclusion, the article highlights the filmmakers’ adaptation to the changing viewing habits of audiences and their decision to release “Ang mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan” through a streaming app. It also touches on the challenges faced during filming and the personal growth experienced by lead actor Joshua Garcia.

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