British Filipino filmmaker Paris Zarcilla has revealed that the third in his ‘Rage’ trilogy of films will move from the UK to the Philippines and be titled Ocean On Fire.
It will build on his debut and the first in the series, Raging Grace, which premiered at SXSW festival in March and won best narrative feature and the Thunderbird Rising award. The drama, with elements of horror, follows an undocumented Filipina immigrant who is working to secure a better life for her daughter. Blue Finch Films revealed a raft of distribution deals last week.
As previously revealed, the second film will be titled Domestic and will follow a couple who run a café in 1990s London and covertly help rescue domestic workers from abusive employers.
The concluding part of the trilogy will shift the drama to the Philippines, where two tribes who have lived in peace for centuries are suddenly pitted against each other when one of them turns up dead. At play behind the scenes is a big company, seeking to mine natural resources from their lands.
Speaking to Screen at Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), where Raging Grace plays in the Midnight Passion stand, Zarcilla said Ocean On Fire would be an action-thriller whodunnit, He also explained that, while not based on his personal experiences, Ocean On Fire would still comes from a place of truth. ”Ocean On Fire, although it’s far more theatrical and bigger than the other ones, it’s real. All of it is real.”
However, while Zarcilla has written the treatment for Ocean On Fire, he said he wonders if he has “the energy for two more films”.
“Spending time in that place [of pain] is traumatising,” he said. “I have found systems for myself to separate how I personally feel from the material, but sometimes you let it seep through to be able to really push those scenes. But then it feels like I’ve run 10 miles.”
With Ocean On Fire, Zarcilla’s goal is to shoot in the Philippines. “I have to,” he said. “To me, it’s the one that excites me the most [of the trilogy] because it’s back on the landscape from which I come. But it feels like it’s a different kind of rage, one that feels both physical and visceral, and it feels big.
“It feels like it’s another David and Goliath story in that it’s an impossible situation, but we’re going to fight it anyway. And I feel like we need it. You need to be able to express these things safely and cinema is the best way to do it. It’s an act of rebellion, it’s an act of protest.”
Once the ‘Rage’ trilogy is complete, Zarcilla has plans for a “weird, bizarre take on romantic comedy”.
“I want to fall in love with the [filmmaking] process in the way that I thought it was going to be, where the [personal] stakes aren’t so high,” he added. “That’s what I’m really looking forward to, but that feels like a long way away.”