In the gaily flamboyant footsteps of ‘Zombadings’

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Pardon filmmaker Lemuel Lorca if he has decided to display his CineFilipino best film trophy (for “Ned’s Project”) in his bedroom - making it the last thing he sees at night and the first thing he sees in the morning.

The award is special to him because it’s his first local recognition. His previous honor, best director for “Mauban: Ang Resiko,” was from the Equality International Film Festival in California two years ago.

Moreover, the CineFilipino award is for a movie that is particularly close to his heart since it is based on the real-life struggles of a friend - a lesbian tattoo artist who wants to bear a child.

He showed the trophy to the real-life Ned during Holy Week. “Ned was thrilled to have a picture taken with the award.”

It was only apt because it was the real-life Ned who shared the movie’s story with Lorca during a drinking session.

Although not yet pregnant, the real-life Ned, he reported, “is engaged and very happy.”

Lorca follows up “Ned’s Project,” with another LGBTQ film, the horror-comedy, “Echorsis: Sabunutan Between Good and Evil.”

Just like “Ned’s Project,” the idea for “Echorsis” came from a random conversation - this time, with novelist Eros Atalia and scriptwriter Jerry Gracio on the set of his Cinemalaya entry “Intoy Syokoy ng Kalye Marino” in 2012.

They were shooting the breeze between takes and stumbled on the concept: What if a man were possessed by a gay ghost?

He feels strongly about sharing LGBTQ stories onscreen. “Every story is worth telling. You just have to be respectful. No matter how big or small the dreams and ambitions of [your movie’s] subjects, if you can’t respect them, there’s no way you’ll be able to tell their stories with honesty and integrity.”

He remains hopeful about the future. “I think we’re about to see major changes as far as equality is concerned.”

Although “Echorsis” is a comedic romp, it is, at its very core, a story “about love, acceptance and forgiveness,” Lorca clarified.

“I hope people will laugh just as hard as we did while filming,” he remarked.

Needless to say, the shoot was a riot.

He explained that he didn’t have to “motivate” his manly lead actors Alex Medina and Kean Cipriano, who had to act against type and play swishy characters in the movie.

“They were motivated enough to take on crazy roles in a crazy film,” he said. “It was just a matter of guiding them.”

It was also a joy working with John “Sweet” Lapus, who lived up to his nickname, said Lorca. “He’s very collaborative. He makes all our jobs easier. I’d love to work with Sweet again.”

Of course, he also wishes that “Echorsis,” which opens April 13, would be a commercial success as well. “I’ll be a hypocrite if I say I don’t want it to make money. It’s still a business. But, to me, more than anything, our ultimate goal is to touch people’s lives.”

“Echorsis” is being compared to another gay indie flick, “Zombadings: Patayin sa Shokot si Remington,” which crossed over and became a sleeper hit in 2011.

“‘Zombadings’ is ‘Zombadings,’” he quipped. “Although ‘Zombadings’ and ‘Echorsis’ fall under the same genre, they tell different stories. If we can get the same kind of success, in terms of audience reaction and reception, I’ll be a happy camper.”