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Dennis Trillo finds satisfaction in doing Indie Films

My “Husband’s Lover,” whether he likes it or not, would probably be the most remembered role for actor Dennis Trillo, the hugely popular drama series which shifted the ratings game during its run was a huge risk both for the network and Dennis Trillo—a gamble that thankfully paid off.

From heavy drama, Dennis Trillo now shifts to action as he stars in the CInemalaya entry The Janitor.
His third Cinemalaya film after Astig (2009) and Ang Katiwala (2012), Dennis said being part of Cinemalaya satisfies his need to explore his artistic side and tackle different and unique roles.

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“Sa mga indie na pelikula kase, doon ka makakakita ng mga projects na talagang matatapang ang tema,” Dennis told entertainment writers at a small gathering held at Luna Fresca Bistro recently.

“Nung nakwento sa akin ni Direk na gusto niyang gawin ‘to, hindi na ako nagdalawang isip..siguro yung satisfaction para sa sarili mo matutuwa ka kasi makakalayo ka na sa mga kwento na paulit-ulit…pag indie hindi ka masyadong limitado sa mga pwede mong gawin. Kaya kahit papaano nakakapageksperimento ka ng kaunti…”
One of the most memorable experiences he shared while doing the movie was getting to meet actual “Janitors” or “hitmen.”

Dennis and Director Michael “Mike” Tuviera admitted they both felt nervous about meeting actual vigilantes and discovered a lot of things during their three hour meeting.

“Nung umpisa po medyo kinakabahan kami ni Direk Mike kasi inisip namin baka delikado…pero nung nakaharap na namin sila…para silang mga normal na tao na hindi mo aakalain na ganoong trabaho ang ginagawa nila.
“Madali silang kausap. Edukado sila…doon po sa grupo nila hindi lang sila basta-basta pumapatay. Sinisiguro nila na talagang masama itong mga taong ito at salot sa lipunan…medyo surreal yung pakiramdam kasi ang mga kaharap mo marami nang napatay na mga tao….masaya lang kami na nakausap namin ang mga taong yon para makatulong ng husto dito sa pelikula na ginagawa namin…”

“Their [vigilantes] greatest weapon is that they can disappear. Yun yung mga learnings na nakuha namin mula sa kanila…nakita ko si Dennis pinapanood lang niya sila the whole time. The meeting was like three hours. Pinapanood niya yung tindig ng tao, yung pananalita. There was a certain timing to their dialogue…if you guys watch closely, in the movie pinasok ni Dennis sa character niya,” Tuviera shared.

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Direk Mike, said the Janitor was inspired by the real events of the RCBC Cabuyao branch bank robbery in 2008, one of the most gruesome crimes in Philippine History.

On May 16, 2008, the whole country was shocked upon learning the news about the massacre of the bank employees of the RCBC Cabuyao branch, what was eventually called “the Philippine’s bloodiest bank robbery.” The perpetrators behind the incident were able to escape with an estimated P9 to P15 million in cash, and killed ten bank employees in the process. All were methodically shot in the head.

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The film ‘The Janitor’ is inspired by this very story. It follows Crisanto Espina, an ex-cop, as he carries out his orders to pursue the criminals involved in the robbery/massacre. But as he obediently hunts down each suspect while dealing with his own personal demons, he begins to realize that he is being consumed by the whole circus of the investigation and begins to question the brand of justice he once revered.

The robbery is suspected to have been conducted by professionals, as they executed their plan with military precision. Wearing Moriones masks to conceal their identities, the thieves disabled the bank’s security system and held-up the bank personnel inside while waiting for the vault’s time lock to deactivate just before the usual opening time. Once they got the cash, a fatal mistake leads to an all-out bloodbath.

Pressured by the people and media to resolve the crime, the authorities secretly order Crisanto Espina, an ex-cop, to handle the case. Eager to redeem his name and earn back the respect of his family, Crisanto diligently hunts down each suspect involved in the massacre. But as he finds each name on his list, he unravels the dirty truth behind his extrajudicial duties.

The movie also stars Derek Ramsay, Raymond Bagatsing, Alex Medina, Jerald Napoles, Nicco Manalo, Sunshine Garcia, Ricky Davao, Irma Adlawan, LJ Reyes and Richard Gomez.

THE JANITOR, a Cinemalaya 2014 entry under the Directors’ Showcase Category, is written by Aloy Adlawan and directed by Michael Tuviera, DGPI.

The Janitor

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