#MMFF2016: “Saving Sally” is a Simple Story That Can’t Be Told Enough

Written in 2004, first shot in 2005, edited & animated 2006-2009, re-shot from scratch in 2010, re-edited & re-animated from 2011-2015 & finally competed in 2016. Avid Liongoren’s “Saving Sally” was indeed a hardwork for its team, the artists on and off camera. A rare feat in Philippine cinema, live-action and animation combined to tell a simple story but can’t be told enough.

 “A story that can’t be told enough,” says both director Avid Liongoren and star Rhian Ramos about Saving Sally. With its animation, the filmmakers were able to tell a story that is beyond the limits of live-action films, from creating monsters to a setting that looks extraordinary, the film presents a familiar love story but has an appearance that is rather odd but captivating to the eyes. It is more than the usual process of filmmaking as it undergoes editing and animating per frame that needs at least 500 people for a film to finish in four years.

So with less human resources and budget, the film needed to be sustained by its circle of people, trying to find someone to fund it without realizing they are almost done with it.


The Metro Manila Film Festival describes “Saving Sally,” one of the eight entries in this year’s December film festival as “an atypical youthful love story replete with child-like elements as applied through 2D animation.”

The Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) gave an A rating to the directorial debut of Avid Liongoren, a motion picture that weaves a young romantic story set in wonderful 2D animation hues.

How the film was put together is also anything but typical. You might as well call it “epic.”

“Saving Sally” was mounted by a small team of young animators let by its director Avid Liongoren who has directed for television and TV commercials. They began shooting as early as 2005 but production slowed down due to funding.

Production came into full swing in 2010 on a blue screen, which was late replaced with a stylized Manila and 2D animated monsters created by Liongoren and his team of artists at Rocketsheep. Every frame, every background, every piece of art was painstakingly made. “What we lacked in manpower, we made up for with love in every single frame. We spent countless hours checking and rechecking every detail,” shares Direk Avid.

The result is ready to be served come December 25. “Saving Sally” as director Liongoren puts it is “a familiar coming-of-age story told with super stylized visuals. The project blends live action, 2D animation an abundance of warm, fuzzy feelings to create a totally unique and lovable little film.”

Get ready to be dazzled and mesmerized, children, millennials and the young-at-heart. “Saving Sally” will make you believe in love, comic books and the monsters in our heads all over again.

Cheer on as Marty (Enzo Marcos), an aspiring comic book artist pines for his best friend Sally (played by Rhian Ramos), a gadget inventor. Sally, however, has monsters for parents and an inconsiderate boyfriend (TJ Trinidad). In Marty’s fantasies, he conjures up ways of defending the love of his life from the big bad world.

At its very heart, “Saving Sally” is a simple story about love and never, ever giving up told in a unique way that comnines live action and vivid kaleidoscope-colored animation.

“Saving Sally” stars Rhian Ramos, Enzo Marcos, TJ Trinidad, Bodjie Pascua, Carme Sanchez, Shamaine Cenetenera Buencamino and Archie Adamos.


Bringing you a tale of young love, monsters and how dreams really can come true, “Saving Sally” opens this Christmas in cinemas nationwide. Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, “Saving Sally” is rated Parental Guidance (PG) by the MTRCB.

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