As writer Mario Bautista said, Director Erik Matti might have just found the perfect platform to tell his stories—and that is on HOOQ, the video on demand service, which is pioneering the production of original local content.
In HOOQ, Matti has found a new home for his Cannes Film Festival alumnus On the Job, now known simply as OTJ, which makes its comeback as an exclusive online mini-series.
“It actually struck me that with the kind of films that Reality Entertainment, Dondon Monteverde and I, have been doing over the past years… that for most may even think are crazy… stupid projects—to be so brave, to be so demanding as to what kind of stories we want to tell. We are happy HOOQ tapped us for this project. It’s in an unchartered territory. It’s going to be distributed in Southeast Asia and its an exciting format to explore, not just in terms of the kind of casting we could come up with but most especially with the kind of topics and themes we could explore in our stories. We are going to challenge the format. We are going to challenge how brave and how bold we could come up with these new mini series—and hopefully everyone would enjoy it,” Matti said at the grand reveal of the cast of OTJ the series held at the Tent of BHotel.
On The Job, the film, presented Matti’s take on corruption among cops and has been recognized as one of the best films of 2013, winning international acclaim including best actor awards for Joel Torre and earning a standing ovation at several film festivals.
The upcoming six-episode mini-series on the other hand will be shown exclusively on HOOQ, Asia’s first and biggest video-on-demand service but will also be released in other countries such as India, Thailand and Indonesia.
Matti said although the story will be different it still follows the narrative about the cop, hired killer and the corruption within the system, although this time the media is put on the spotlight. The series will have three main settings: the town of La Paz, Manila, and the jail where convicted prisoners are used as contract killers.
OTJ: The Missing 8 is really about four people--Sisoy, a corrupt local media man under the payroll of Pedring, the treacherous father of the town’s ruling political clan; Pam, a passionate and honest big network investigative journalist from Manila; and Roman, a principled hired gun regularly brought out of prison to kill. Their paths cross when eight journalists from Sisoy’s town are massacred by Roman’s group and buried without a trace a day before Christmas Eve.
Pam jumps on the case just as Sisoy discovers his connection with Pedring can’t help him find out what happened to his friends. Despite their differences, the two work together to untangle the web of lies, controversy and corruption in a media circus where the truth keeps eluding them.
Leading the cast is stage actor Teroy Guzman who plays Sisoy a media veteran in his 50s, Nonoy Froilan as Pedring, a politician, Bela Padilla as Pam, and Neil Ryan Sese is Roman, the hired gun.
Also included in the star-studded cast are Christopher De Leon, Arjo Atayde, Renz Fernandez, Smokey Manaloto, Dominic Ochoa, Levi Ignacio, Jake Macapagal, Ria Atayde, and Nafa HilarioCruz. Leo Martinez reprises his role in the film as the villainous Gen. Pacheco and will serve as the link to the two stories.
“In six episodes, we’re gonna tackle everything about media — what’s good about it, what’s not good about it, what’s scary about being a media person, what’s fulfilling about being a media person,” Matti told reporters. “We will also be looking at how news are created, how news can sometimes be distorted in favor of other implications.”
“The story starts when Christopher de Leon, a publisher of a local newspaper rejects the story written by Sisoy, the paid hack of a powerful political family. Then, eight journalists were killed on Christmas Eve. From Manila, Pam, an honest and hard hitting journalist, goes to La Paz to investigate the case,” narrates Matti.
“When HOOQ was launched in January 2015 in partnership with Globe Studios, our catalogue just showed programs from GMA, ABS-CBN, Viva and Regal. Now, we’re taking the next big step by producing our own original content with On the Job, the Series in partnership with Reality Entertainment, It is the perfect choice given the huge success of the original movie,” says HOOQ co-founder and chief content officer Krishnan Rajagopalan.
“We in Reality Entertainment are really excited with this project,” says Dondon Monteverde. “Creating a mini-series for video-in-demand is a new challenge for us that will give us the chance to explore new, unique materials that will pull in viewers who are tired of watching the usual stuff on TV. We promise to come up with something new that will be truly worth watching.”
‘‘It’s about time that we expand the themes that we started in the original On The Job movie,’’ Creating a mini-series exclusively for a video-on-demand service like HOOQ will allow us to explore unique stories that will be sure to pull in viewers who will want to get more immersed in this compelling world we’re building,” adds Matti.
For HOOQ, this is the first venture into producing original content. It is a natural alignment to HOOQ’s content strategy to differentiate its content and to play a part in growing the local content industry.
“HOOQ Originals enhance our best-in-market content offering by adding exclusive local movies and TV series that are made for SVOD, and we are very excited to partner with both Reality Films as well as Globe to produce the first HOOQ original here in the Philippines,” says Rajagopalan
“OTJ has become one of the most iconic films in recent history and we want to continue to elevate that high standard set by the movie,” says Jeffrey Remigio, director of Content at HOOQ Philippines.
Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business Dan Horan furthers, “We are very excited to finally start production of this new venture as it strengthens our commitment to provide the best content for our customers whether they are at home or on mobile. From partnering with content producers, we are now taking the next big step by co-producing all original materials, and Director Erik Matti’s OTJ series is the perfect choice given the success of its movie counterpart.”
HOOQ currently holds the largest catalogue of Filipino content of any video-on-demand service from top local studios like GMA, Viva Communications, Regal Entertainment, and ABS-CBN. It has also increased its kids content throughnew partnerships withViacom, Hasbro, MoMax, amongst others.HOOQ has also recently unveiled a mobile-first UX that enables customers to easily find movies, create playlists and discover even more content.
HOOQ, a start-up venture between Singtel, Sony Pictures Television and Warner Bros., is an award-winning service that empowers customers with unlimited online streaming access and an offline viewing option to top Hollywood and Filipino movies and television content, on any device including computers, smartphones tablets, smart TVs via Google Chromecast and now also on Airplay and mobile web.
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