Last November 11, 2016, AMC 25 Theaters, Times Square, New York City, New York, USA, the prestigious Cinemax HBO Action Film Competition and the Urban Action Showcase & Expo awarded the coveted BEST SHORT FILM (2016) trophy to “Blood Hunters” a film written, produced and directed by Filipino filmmaker and martial arts action star Vincent Soberano.
This sets the stage of a new era of Filipino action films penetrating the international market.
Soberano says. “My main motivation in doing Blood Hunters is to promote Filipino martial arts in Filipino movies to the international audiences. They’ve used Filipino martial arts in blockbuster action films like John Wick, Jason Bourne, Frankenstein, and a huge list of other films. But no one knows its Filipino because its always portrayed by Hollywood stars. It’s about time I change that.”
With “Blood Hunters” Soberano started his quest to make Filipino martial arts action films with the quality and finesse that can compete on the international stage.
In a nutshell, “Blood Hunters” tells the story of a rugged band of demon hunters who capture an Aswang queen to extract her blood, which is known to bring the dead back to life. When greed and betrayal gets in the way, mayhem ensues between the hunters. The Aswang escapes to face off with them in a final, action-packed showdown.
Winning the Best Short Film award in a film festival dedicated to action films is a highly significant achievement for Soberano, who has won other awards for a documentary film he directed last year.
“Martial arts is my passion,” he declares. “And winning a best picture award for a martial arts film
that I made is like winning a world title.”
Aside from this short film, Soberano has made two other action films this year. The latest one is the full-length version of the short film starring martial arts legend Monsour Del Rosario in his return to a leading role on the silver screen.
Soberano will also star alongside Del Rosario, supported by a cast of real Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) masters and experts. This project is due to be released in 2017.
Notably, Soberano is a former Muay Thai world champion with multiple championship belts who also coaches several fighters in the UFC. Now he is mainly dedicated to representing martial arts in movies. He has recently worked on notable projects such as Jackie Chan’s “Police Story 2013” and the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter (China) – Season One” reality TV show. Soberano studied film and television arts at San Diego State University, California and currently owns IndieGo Pictures Entertainment, an independent film company based in Beijing, China.
His motivation for the films, “Monsour and I, we want to inspi re the young men and boys of the country to build strong character and fighting spirit and this can happen, if they involve themselves in martials arts. In the movies I create, I portray Filipinos as powerful and formidable warriors.”
“The action sequences are so unique and have never been seen in action cinema before, this is a big factor in the success of film,” Soberano divulges. “That, and the introduction of ancient Filipino folklore and superstitions, with characters such as the Aswang, Dwende, Kapre, Murto, and Diwata. A cultural, martial arts, fantasy action film is always a great combination if done right. This is the perfect blend that we want to achieve.”
He explains further, “Melding fantasy, action and martial arts makes a good universal theme for commercial films, judging from box-office hits like Blade, Matrix, Frankenstein, Warcraft, Assassins Creed, Man with the Iron Fist, and a slew of other hard-hitting blockbusters. Blood Hunters is set to join that list and make a mark in the international stage.”
All the positive public feedback that the film has received, is motivating Soberano to take charge in spearheading the reinassance of action films.
He enthuses, “This is a new era. Filipinos are eager to see a change in Filipino cinema, particularly with a revival of the martial arts action genre. There have been thousands of positive feedback regarding this project as the Filipino public is clamoring for a new generation of action films.”
As of the moment. the creative and artistic team of “Blood Hunters: Aswang” are, as Soberano shares, “The production team is working on casting the right female lead in a role that requires both powerful acting and intense martial arts action stunts.”
He adds, ” The fight choreography team is putting together additional potential fight sequences based on input and feedback from top experts of the various forms of Filipino martial arts. The search is also on for foreign supporting cast members from China and the US. In addition, the production design and costume design teams are collaborating on a unique, apocalyptic era look that is intrinsically Filipino.”
Soberano ends, “The result of all these will be a commercial action film with distinctly Filipino features and cultural aspects that will appeal to the international audiences.”