Film group Sutukil Sauce dishes out some serious comedy on social media
By Deneb Batucan
SUTUKIL — that’s sugba, tuwa and kinilaw — is a way of cooking that’s as Cebuano as it gets. A Cebu-based film group with an insatiable hunger for comedic artistry has given the ubiquitous Sutukil a fresher meaning.
Calling themselves Sutukil Sauce, the group not only touches on lifestyle trends in food, fashion, music and advertising, but also delves into real-life stories and issues of the everyday Filipino, with one essential ingredient: laughter.
Sutukil Sauce has tickled the funny bones of many netizens all over social media. Its finesse in producing quality stories with rich storytelling often depict the Filipino trait of always seeing something hilarious even in dire situations.
Behind these viral videos are four individuals who never run out of larger-than-life ideas, which are often sardines and coffee induced, and are equipped with the right skill sets needed to produce these larger-than-life ideas into short videos with great care in getting their point across screens.
Ted Paraiso, Maria Gigante, Chai Fonacier and Samantha Solidum — each of whom are exceptional artists and personalities — collectively have created a magical sauce that has made hundreds experience side-splitting laughter or extreme hunger or even internal realizations on community issues. This sauce — wtih all four of them as “ingredients” — has made an impact on local entertainment as their viral videos continue to make rounds online.
What led to this concoction was Sam’s winning short film, Hera, for Dakila’s online film contest, Cineminuto, in late August 2015 where the group worked together. After their collaboration on that film, they came up with several ideas for future productions, which some they have worked on and published online for their beloved fans, with a few works in progress.
Their very first viral video was #Gutomology: Kwek-kwek that satisfyingly portrays how the famous street food is prepared and made. It has over 200,000 views and counting. Along with the popularity of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Sutukil Sauce came up with Chismis sa Mga Saop ni Diniris, a spoof of the popular TV show that illustrates that lives of Queen Daenerys Targaryen’s workforce. The series of videos has over 500,000 views and counting.
Sutukil Sauce does not just make videos for laughs but they also try to use their medium in giving information and awareness to issues that we live with every day. In their first Kurdapya Jones series, they shed light on the disastrous effects of building a coal plant in Sawang Calero, a residential community in Pasil. In the three-part series, Kurdapya Jones, played by Chai Fonacier, explained the ill-effects of having a coal plant just 26 dangaws (which they actually measured using Chai’s hand) away from a school and residential area and even covered the city councilor session where the proposal of the coal plant was voted against by the city government — a win for the residents of Sawang Calero.
As a team, Sutukil Sauce embodies the spirit of the embutido. “When you put many things in one sausage and it tastes well together,” they said. As they pitch their production ideas amid a round of softdrinks at a nearby sari-sari store, the four friends often have a boisterous conversation with many kinds of voices that often becomes the characters that they portray on video.
There is no idea too vague or too out of this world for these folks.
Individually, they have roles within the film group. During production and post-production, Sam is usually the director/cinematographer/editor/screenplay writer, while Chai does the acting work and collaborations with other actors, and performs some prod manager and line producing duties. Maria does acting work and research where it is necessary (e.g. for #Gutomology, for character studies or when a topic requires it), while Ted mostly takes care of money-making schemes/production design/styling/acting.
But as they are a small group, these duties overlap when needed. They also have what they call the Sutukil Sauce Extenders, which are a group of people they often collaborate with in their productions.
As for their creative process? “Mostly it’s just loose screws in the head,” they say. But the film group produces videos that often toy with ideas in the world of film, comedy, food, advocacies, fashion, music and advertising. In the works now are projects with corporate clients like BLOQ Residences and the Mandaue LGU.
Pass the sauce, please
The passion for storytelling is the driving force behind Sutukil Sauce’s many productions. It is the want to tell stories — funny, thought-provoking stories they associate with our hometown and country — that makes them peel themselves from their unmade beds and look up at their makeshift white board (which is brown because it’s made of packaging tape) for the day’s to-do list and continue shooting, regardless of whether they have equipment or not, otherwise they work their way around their lack of gear and hardware.
Finally, Sutukil Sauce have these thoughts to relay to their countless fans:
CHAI: Laugh. Makes everything else bearable. Take what you do seriously, not yourself.
MARIA: I firmly believe that you should do well always to comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.
TED: As much as possible I want everyone to look good, presentable, and edible.
SAM: Yes. Okay wait… Yes.
Sutukil Sauce is dripping all over social media. Taste their saucy-ness at facebook.com/SutukilSauce, Twitter and Instragram (@sutukilsauce) and YouTube.
Photos: Zachary Aldave
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas
Locale: MJU Building