We have a real treat today! In Asian Spaces had the opportunity to chat with Vincent Soberano, Writer, Director and Star of Blood Hunters: Rise of the Hybrids! Vincent is an award-winning filmmaker, sports hall of fame awardee and masterful storyteller!
Let’s learn more about his latest feature film, his martial arts prowess and the Aswang of Filipino folklore culture!
In Asian Spaces: Writing/Directing and Starring in a film simultaneously is certainly a large task. How has your martial arts background aided in the shaping of the character Bolo?
Vincent Soberano: My roots are in Muay Thai and transitioned to MMA in the mid-90s. Growing up in the central region of the Philippines, I trained in arnis and eskrima. I wanted to reflect all these in the fighting skill sets of Bolo so I worked with our fight choreographer to achieve the smooth transitions from one martial art to another.
IAS: The choice to blend comic book and film was a bold, but very aesthetically pleasing one. Were there some aspects of combat that were tricky to translate on screen?
VS: The tricky part was actually getting to show the stuff that I envisioned, but with an ultra-low budget. We wanted to do extensive wire stunts, more explosions and more destruction. However, we didn’t have the budget to do all that. So, we relied on our actors to do their own stunts and forego safety in many cases just to achieve the live action fight scenes. I’m lucky to have such a badass cast of actors who are all world-class martial artists.
IAS: The set design was very ornate, and the costume design convincingly terrifying for the Aswang and hybrids. Do the various sigil in the Aswang compound lend to their power in any way?
VS: The Aswang compound is actually the former lair of native villagers. The Hybrid Aswang – being more intelligent, organized and with human-like qualities – terrorized and invade local villages as they spread their grasp all over the region. The signs and glyphs in the compound were supposed to be incantations to repel the Aswang, but didn’t work on this special breed.
IAS: This may be a silly question, but did any rumored “real life” haunted places where the mythical Aswang might dwell influence the set locations in any way?
VS: We actually filmed the movie in a haunted village – an abandoned Vietnamese refugee camp with dubious backstories. A lot of unexplained, eerie things happened during the filming. I chose that location actually because of its reputation for being haunted.
IAS: I’ve read that ‘Blood Hunters’ originated as a short film, and was expanded to a feature. Do you have any plans for a trilogy, or even a TV series?
VS: I’m working on a TV series and also a video game. Just waiting for the feature film to be released and then I’ll corroborate with game developers and pitch the series to a platform like Netflix or Amazon.
IAS: What’s next in the Blood Hunters saga onscreen for our characters Gabriella and Bolo? Could you give us any hints to what challenges will peril them next time?
VS: The TV series will actually focus on Gabriella and Bolo as a duo. Hint: some characters who seemingly died actually didn’t and will come back as antagonists. 😉
Thank you so much Vincent for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview! For more information concerning Vincent Soberano and his upcoming projects, please check out his official website here!
Starting March 17th, 2020 DarkCoast will release ‘Blood Hunters’ for viewing on digital platforms. Be sure to support the film on Amazon, Vimeo on Demand, FlixFling, Vudu, and FANDANGO!
☆ In Asian Spaces