Matti makes mark

HONG KONG — Erik Matti is first Filipino to direct an episode for an HBO Asia original anthology series, the upcoming “Food Lore.”


The announcement was made in a recent media conference at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Matti was tapped for the task by Singaporean filmmaker and showrunner Eric Khoo.


“Food Lore” is an eight-episode, hour-long series that explores the human condition. The narratives are inspired by and showcased through the perspectives of Asian cuisines, weaving tales of the tastes and aromas that have filled the Asian souls – tales of longing and forbidden passion, of connection and loss, of childhood memory.


In a one-on-one interview with Bulletin Entertainment, Khoo revealed that before getting Matti, he has been “following” his works and was particularly impressed by the latter’s neo-noir crime thriller, “On The Job.”


“His ideas are right in vein. And his filmmaking art? I love it,” Khoo said.


The two first met at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival years ago. Aside from the fact that they have the same name (“only with different spelling,” Khoo pointed out), the Singaporean director became more interested in Matti for the Pinoy’s “positive aura.”


“I also met people whom he has worked with and they have nothing but good words for him. I look at Erik as someone spearheading the movement (of filmmaking), and helping young filmmakers even in the smallest possible way he knows,” he said. “When HBO Asia gave a green light to ‘Food Lore,’ I thought of him. I contacted him and I said that I’m doing an anthology series and I know he likes everything about food. I’m glad he immediately said yes.”


In a separate interview, HBO Asia’s Senior Vice President Jessica Kam described Matti as “great and practical.”


The two met in Manila few weeks ago and they had a “good chat.”


“He’s very talented,” said she, adding she can’t wait for a Filipino cuisine to be featured on HBO.


The shooting for Matti’s episode, which will be in Manila, hasn’t started yet. Khoo kept mum about which dish the Filipino director will focus on, only to promise that “it will be worth the wait.”


Joining Matti on the series are directors Don Aravind (Singapore), Billy Christian (Indonesia), Takumi Saitoh (Japan), Ho Yuhang (Malaysia), Pen-EkRatanaruang (Thailand), and Phan Dang Di (Vietnam).


“Food Lore” is sort of a “sequel” to Khoo’s six-part horror series “Folklore,” in which he also gathered directors across the region to direct stand-alone stories.


Kam revealed the project was pitched to her over wine.


“Eric and I are food lovers!” she said. “When I heard about his idea, I said yes and promised I will pitch it to our bosses. So I had dinner with my colleagues and my boss is sitting next to me, eating great food on the table. Before I could even finish my pitch, he said, ‘All done. Go for it!’ This series is the fastest green-lighted project ever in the history of HBO Asia.”




“Food Lore” is produced as part of a two-year partnership with the Info-comm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in Singapore. Through a series of workshops and collaborations with local companies and talent on HBO Asia Original productions, the partnership aims to develop the content production capabilities of Singapore’s media industry. (Manila Bulletin)