Beyond The Reel: A Glimpse of the Grandeur of Perya De Juan

by: Pau Villarosa

December 6, 2022

The Film's director David Reasol (seated lower left) gives directions to his actors on the set of Perya De Juan. Photo by Sean Lewis 

Talagsa, ang aton makita amo man gid na ang matuod-tuod, di bala? Ugaling, sigurado bala kita sa aton nga nakit-an?


Town fairs have always been a nostalgic memory for most yet an elusive phantom for some—they always appear at the hearts of towns in a flurry of harlequin tents, twinkling lights, and lively chatter. Perya, as we call them, have always blinded us with fanfare to conceal the gambling and cheating—the corruption and the politics behind it all. The fair wants us to forget the poverty and tragedy of our daily lives in spurs and whirlwinds of laughter and merriment. Yet as swiftly and strikingly the wonder arrives, as nimble and unforeseen does it disappear right before our eyes—taking with it the illusion and leaving a trail of misgivings in its wake. It is this very core Verde Films encapsulated in their Sine Negrense: Negros Island Film Festival 2022 Best Picture Perya De Juan, directed by David Reasol.


The Lasallian-produced short film dared to defy the bounds of the Interschool Category of the annual film festival in a narrative short that bared the vile truths that have long been concealed in smokes and mirrors of the town fair that is the entrenched system of the Philippines. Perya De Juan is centered on the Guanzon cousins and their misfortunes at the town fair, specifically on the middle cousin Clara, a haciendera-turned-Tagala unica hija. The 15-minute film follows the cousins into the perya galavanting through the blinding lights, deafening cheers, and staggering scale of the town fair. What was supposed to be a happy reunion and reliving became an eerie traversing of the rickety and rust-covered fair’s shadows and skeletons—in a colorful, standout, and “high quality” rendering. Yet, as grand as the film seemed on the big screen of the Cinematheque Center, it did not come without its own rickety and rust-covered machinations.

Oliver Villavert and Kyara Salar portrays as the Guanzon cousins in Perya De Juan.  Photo by Sean Lewis

“...Establishing ownership when it comes to the vision—that was very challenging since Paula came up with the concept and the script and I had to have my vision for that, so it took some time,” Perya De Juan’s director David Reasol, who also bagged the Best Director award for the same category, expressed when asked of the greatest difficulties he faced while directing the film.


Reasol further shared that the story for the film was decided and fully-fleshed out in between classes and late night Discord calls between the members of Verde Films and their designated screenplay writer, yours truly. The story of Perya De Juan came from a literary piece—long written and adapted into a screenplay that did not only focus on what most would assume to be the government but rather on the politics and corruption rooted in the country, from the smallest of chess pieces to those holding the game in their hands.


“The other challenge was the scale of it and to overcome it was to trust every department—be there for consultation, and at the same time, have a solid directing team,” Reasol added whilst reminiscing the “fever dream” that was the production of the full length-like scale short. Conveying the sentiments of his team, Reasol said that it was their first time to shoot a film of Perya De Juan’s scale and level—working with more than 50 people on set at a time with a student-filmmaker-led crew working against the weather, elements, and time.


Verde Films, although was greatly supported by the Lasallian institution [The La Salle Film Society and The Artists’ Hub] and their mentors at Green Pelican Studios and Project Twenty-Six, worked to gather the funds they needed to produce the said short—seeking favors and pulling strings from the moment of Perya De Juan’s conception down to its first day of production. Yet, as things were slowly falling into place—the budget secured, locations booked, and the pre-production preparations nearing completion, Perya De Juan seemed within reach. However, this film subjected everyone to a first-time.

On the set of Perya De Juan. Photo by Sean Lewis 

It was Direk David and the directing team’s first time to handle a huge set of all-star cast members, students, and extras pulled from the neighborhood. The film’s Director of Photography, Rodney Jarder Jr., who also claimed a two-peat win for Best Cinematography and Best Editing in this year’s festival—along with the camera department, handled and manned new equipment for the first time during the big-scale student production. The reigning Sound Designer for two years of the festival, Raj Sugay, with his sound department and musical scorers filled in gaps in the sound design during a cut-short post production. Most of all, it was a production design-heavy and reliant film that presented a staggering challenge for Art Director, Trizia Hassim, and her art department masters and crew. The first time the delay cost the production dearly—financially and creatively. The first where much was fixed in post. Despite all of these however, Verde Films—alongside their juniors at Lime Productions, seniors in the local film industry, Lasallian community, friends, and family, was able to push through and rise above the competition.


“Communication, humility, and trust,” Reasol revealed as key to the success of Perya De Juan in the face of one challenge after another. The splendor of the film screened on the big screen may have awe-strucked many, yet like the town fairs we have in real life will always remain as a humbling experience—earning them lessons worth a lifetime.

Perya De Juan's director David Reasol (center) receives his Best Director Award during the Awards Night of Sine negrense 2022 . Also in photo is Sine Negrense Associate Programming Director Gloven Gerogalin and Jury Butch Ibanez. Photo by Mark Anthony Samorin  

Perya De Juan has granted Verde Films their two-peat victory for the said category in the annual film festival—succeeding their landslide win of last year’s Best Picture [of the same category], Diin Ka, Ramon?. It was also granted several Kadungganan sang Makina-admanon in other award categories aside from those already mentioned:

Best Musical Score (Joshua Doronilla and John Magbanua, Kamatuoran)

Best Actress (Jerianne Marie Panisales)


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