The last premiere I attended was The Da Vinci Code (courtesy of the lovely Camille) and, as with all the premieres I've attended, it was a by-the-numbers affair. People queued at the theater entrance, swarmed in, submitted their ears to a few minutes of sponsor messages, and often got the chance to bag a few goodies, all before the lights dimmed and the projector rattled to life. Standard movie premiere fare.
So I expected pretty much the same ritual when I was invited by the Regal camp to attend the red carpet premiere of Joel Lamangan's latest film and Regal's "Mother's Gay" presentation Manay Po!
I asked Gwyn to accompany me to the event and we managed to leave work early since there wasn't anything urgent to do. When we arrived at the SM Megamall Cinemas just before 7:30pm, there were about a dozen guards and a milling crowd in front of the Cinema 7-12 lobby. A large, circular red doorway, reminiscent of those sci-fi portals, stood between us and a long red carpet stretched towards the end of the lobby where a small stage had been set up. The entire lobby seemed to have been dolled up.
Because there were so many people, I didn't know how to get in. I called up Dinno--screenwriter of Manay Po! and the Zaturnnah adaptation--who told me to stand beside the red doorway so he could easily get me and Gwyn through. When Dinno saw us, he leaned toward the "guardian of the sacred doorway"--a poker-faced man in a pink tee--pointed towards me and said, "Carlo Vergara...Zsazsa Zaturnnah." The guardian promptly let us in. I never imagined my name would be a ticket.
So Gwyn and I walked down the looooong red carpet bordered on both sides by metal fencing. A large crowd stood behind the fencing, and Gwyn and I began to feel uncomfy. People were looking at us, maybe wondering who we were. When we reached the end of the carpet, where onstage a set of gay performers kept the crowd engaged with gags and punchlines, I saw Direk Manny Valera who quickly led us inside the theater.
We sat at Manny's pre-assigned seats for about half-an-hour as members of the press trickled in. The orchestra was beginning to get filled up by fans as well. To keep ourselves occupied, Gwyn and I played games on our celphones. A lot of people walked to and fro and up and down the aisles, and thick carefree chatter clouded the air. Snacks and popcorn passed hands. People waved from one end of the theater to friends on the other end--an unbelieveable amount of activity within the confines of a rather humid movie theater, rivaling the chaos theory perfuming the lobby's atmosphere. Intimidating, yes, but later on the word piyesta came to mind. It was a red carpet premiere, a major social event. So the unintended fiesta air made sense, and the proceedings then grew more fascinating by the minute.
(to be continued)