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Producer John Bryan Diamante reinvests Mallari’s earnings to boost PH cinema

Following the success of the horror flick Mallari in the Metro Manila Film Festival last December, Mentorque Productions owner John Bryan Diamante revealed that his production studio’s upcoming movie Biringan now has a planned cast.

During a media interview at the recent BarakoFest in Lipa, Batangas, Diamante smilingly declined to reveal the names of the cast members for the upcoming film.

“We have selections, but I won’t disclose them until contracts are finalized. I don’t want to make any mistakes,” he nicely explained. Diamante did confirm that Mentorque Productions aims to continue the unique path established by their blockbuster film Mallari.

“We want to carve our own track, the Mentorque way. We want to build upon the niche and market established by Mallari,” Diamante stated in a mix of Filipino and English.

The producer also shared insights gained from Warner Bros. Productions, “Our film industry is struggling, and I learned so much when we went to Hollywood.”

“I’m trying to apply, step by step, how we can further export our films. We Filipinos can make great movies – we have our domestic audience, but it’s a long-standing challenge to break out to the world,” Diamante said. “Personally, at Mentorque Productions, I’m trying to understand the world outside.”

Diamante shared that he is currently talking to a lot of Hollywood producers and even independent filmmakers for prospects and pitches. “We have a lot more work to do, but I think as long as we don’t stop, there are a lot of opportunities. Whatever we earned from Mallari, we’re reinvesting back into the industry. Aside from Biringan, we are greenlighting other films to make sure we provide more jobs.”

Adrian Lindayag shares why he bravely revealed being HIV-positive

“Yes, exactly that, turning pain into power. Also, I just felt so safe in this space, especially with my Rent family,” actor Adrian Lindayag said when asked during a rehearsal visit what prompted him to reveal that he tested positive for HIV in late 2017.” He added that his loved ones have known from the beginning and he just felt that something so important to him should be shared with others.

According to the US-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

Actor Adrian Lindayag stars as Angel in the 9Works Theatrical’s restaging of the hit Broadway musical ‘Rent’

“More than anything, I feel that it’s important for people to know that it’s possible to have a normal life even if you have HIV. That is my advocacy. You will be able to work and live a full life but the thing is, you need to get yourself tested,” Lindayag said. “There are so many people who are so afraid to know their status but you won’t be able to address it if you don’t have yourself tested.”

He emphasized the importance of knowing the modes of transmission and how you get it. Information is readily available on the internet, he said, and he doesn’t understand why there’s still so much stigma in society.

“I’ve been living in shame for the past few years and I just got so tired of it. At the same time, I was inspired by the story of Angel [in Rent],” Adrian said. The actor is set to portray the character in 9Works Theatrical’s restaging of Jonathan Larson’s Rent, a musical about poor artists struggling in Manhattan, New York City under the shadow of HIV and AIDS.

Lindayag’s portrayal of Angel in the musical stems from a deep personal connection. Like the street drummer bravely battling HIV, Lindayag understands the impact of the health status firsthand. Seeking respite from a corporate career, Adrian discovered a life-changing opportunity after his diagnosis in late 2017 when he joined Ateneo Blue Repertory’s 2018 Rent production. Despite having no prior acting experience, he took a leap of faith and embraced his newfound passion.

“This musical and my role as Angel transformed me,” Lindayag expressed. “I’m compelled to share this story’s message of resilience, particularly with young people and their families.”

Sadly, he has witnessed the consequences of fear surrounding HIV/AIDS, with friends succumbing to death because they avoided testing. Adrian emphasized that help is readily available, with clinics offering support and medication often provided free of charge.

Though his first foray into theater was with Rent, Adrian had long dreamed of returning to such a powerful production on a grander scale. Prior to this latest theater project, Adrian topbilled the Boys’ Love film The Boy Foretold by the Stars and starred in ABS-CBN series Kadenang Ginto and Marry Me, Marry You, Star Cinema’s An Inconvenient Love, Prime Video’s hit series Linlang, and Metro Manila Film Festival entry Becky & Badette.

Now, audiences can see him shine alongside a talented cast in 9Works Theatrical’s restaging of Rent – including Anthony Rosaldo (Roger), Garrett Bolden (Collins), Markki Stroem (Benny), and Guji Lorenzana (Mr. Johnson). Ian Pangilinan and Reb Atadero will take turns portraying Mark, while Molly Langley and Thea Astley will alternate in the role of Mimi. Justine Peña and Jasmine Fitzgerald will also alternate as Maureen, and Mica Fajardo and Fay Castro will rotate as Joanne. Lance Reblando will alternate with Adrian in portraying Angel.

This iconic theater production, known for its raw emotion and unforgettable music, will run at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza in Makati from April 19 until the first weekend of June (every Friday to Sunday).


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