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 for a new era of Filipino action films penetrating the international market.
For Soberano, his main motivation is to promote Filipino martial arts in Filipino movies to the international audience. “They’ve used Filipino martial arts in blockbuster action films like ‘John Wick,’ ‘Jason Bourne,’ ‘Frankenstein,’ and a huge list of other films,” he says. “But no one knows its Filipino because it’s always portrayed by Hollywood stars. It’s about time I did.”
This film is a collaboration between two Filipino martial arts stars – Taekwondo Olympic delegate Monsour Del Rosario and Muay Thai world champion Vincent Soberano.
Del Rosario wants to inspire the young men and boys of the country to build a strong character and fighting spirit. Soberano wants to portray Filipinos to the world as powerful and formidable warriors.
Soberano’s personal interest in comic books and stories of the supernatural inspired him to combine martial arts and fantasy into an action-packed screenplay. 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.
He points out, “The martial arts action sequences are so unique and have never been seen in action cinema before. This is a big factor in the film’s success. That, and the introduction of ancient Filipino folklore and superstitions, with characters such as the Aswang, Dwende, Kapre, Multo, and Diwata. A cultural, martial arts, fantasy action film is always a great combination if done right. This is the perfect blend that we have achieved.”
For both Del Rosario and Soberano, as well as lead actress Sarah Chang, martial arts is a way of life. Del Rosario and Soberano both started training at the age of eight in their hometown of Bacolod City. They have been friends as young boys.
Chang started training Wushu at age seven in her hometown of Virginia, under the tutelage of Jet Li’s former teammate.