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Regal Studio Presents turns one: Celebrating a year of delivering feel-good stories

By Mica Rodriguez Published Sep 25, 2022 4:07 pm

Do you remember the days when families would come together on weekends to watch movies made for TV?

Through these shows, our favorite local celebrities were given the chance to showcase their acting prowess in different genres like drama, comedy, romance, fantasy, action and even horror.  

Luckily, the new generation of local TV viewers now have Regal Studio Presents, which recently celebrated their first year anniversary of showcasing feel-good stories that families and friends can watch together on Sunday afternoons. In fact, it has become a weekly habit for loyal viewers who are happy to see their favorite actors – from veterans to newbies, portray different roles and watch different stories every week.

Some of the veteran actors that have graced the program during the past year include Boots Anson-Roa, Snooky Serna, Lotlot De Leon, Pokwang, Rufa Mae Quinto, Joey Marquez, Benjie Paras and more. 

For many Pinoy TV viewers, watching something light, relatable, and heartwarming with positive vibes can be beneficial for one's mental health, as a break from the daily stresses of life.

Humble beginnings of Regal Studio Presents

Regal Entertainment Inc. COO and Vice President Roselle Monteverde told PhilSTAR L!fe that Regal has been in a long-time successful partnership with GMA in television program and movies, which inspired them to collaborate with GMA Network for the weekly show Regal Studio Presents.

"Since GMA’s standing with regards to audience reach has always been consistently high, Regal sees it a good alliance to continue this partnership to this date. It’s uniting two entities into an opportunity to explore new concepts. The creative pool from Regal finds a good opportunity to create new stories, hound new artists from Sparkle (formerly GMA Artists Center) and Regal, to discover untapped talents in the industry such as writers and directors,” Monteverde shared in an e-mail interview. 

Since producing TV or movie projects is never easy, the RSP project this past year provided important lessons for the producers behind it.

“The challenge was capturing the audience’s habit to watch a Sunday afternoon show, with different stories that would be appreciated, achieve ratings and profile audience behavior. This is a whole new game since our last TV production was during the 90s,” Monteverde added. 

Easy Ferrer, the creative manager of the program’s first two seasons also told PhilSTAR L!fe that the collaboration happened because Roselle Monteverde of Regal Entertainment Inc. and Joey Abacan of GMA wanted to revive a successful long running show in the 80's and 90's, known as Mother Studio Presents.

“It opened an opportunity to showcase different stories each week, and showcase artists from GMA-7,” said Ferrer.

But what makes Regal Studio Presents different from other drama anthologies on TV today and what were the challenges they faced during the first two seasons? 

“RSP is different in such a way that the artist combinations are fresh, and there is an entirely different story and genre each week. The most difficult challenge that had to be overcome was the actors and the stories that would be the best for them. We had to think of the best combination of cast members that we believe will be patok sa audience,” said Ferrer, who also wrote and directed a number of memorable episodes. 

Raya Sirena: Making a splash as a mini-series

In some instances, a single episode was given an opportunity to be developed into a whole mini-series. 

The well-loved sophomore episode Raya Sirena with rising Kapuso teen actress Sofia Pablo playing the title role with her onscreen partner Allen Ansay was developed into a mini-series with seven episodes that aired on GMA from April to June this year. The original episode was written by Penzer Baterna under the direction of Easy Ferrer. 

For the mini-series, director/writer Crisanto B. Aquino was in-charge of the overall direction and at the same time, he handled the third season of Regal Studio Presents, which proved to be a challenge.

“For Raya Sirena, it's the treatment that I needed to establish. I couldn't do it too much fantasy with all the CGI elements because of budget considerations so I needed to find ways to still have the feel of fantasy without using too much CGI. So I decided to make the show more human and realistic in terms of fantasy. I used camera movements, framing, blocking and maximizing the cinematography aspects. As it turned out, it was really an interesting treatment. It's more creative than what I envisioned,” Aquino told PhilSTAR L!fe.

“For RSP, since I wrote most of my episodes, the focus was more on scripting. How can you tell a complete story with introduction of characters, giving problems, journey to solve the problem and resolution in the end in 25 pages? It's very short and the challenge is justify the whole story within the given limit without the feeling of "bitin ang kwento". But actually as a writer, it's a good exercise for me to sharpen my writing skills,” Aquino added. 

Memorable episodes

For the people behind the show, naming the most memorable episode posed a challenge since most were dominated by feel-good episodes that were heartwarming, family-oriented and full of kilig.

“Of course, I couldn’t forget our premier episode, That Thin Line Between - because of the premiere casting with Ken Chan and Sanya Lopez; My Favorite Son (actors carried their characters amazingly with the brilliant director and heartwarming story); Karinderiya Queens (untapped talent of Maxine Medina and Casie Banks. Both are beauty queens but was able to pull off a comedy episode with Easy Ferrer as director)," Monteverde recalled.

"Nagmamahal, Mama (this one made me cry) was another memorable episode. Again, a newbie with a respected veteran actress Boots Anson Roa proves it’s all about the story. It was concise (with a story just between two main characters, the mama and her adopted son) and Raya Sirena (we always get excited every time there is a mermaid). It just brings out the element of magic realism and somehow I still believe in mermaids. This one brings me back to being a child," she added.

She also added that Wash, Dry, Fold was "nakakakilig," I Love You More and More had a very realistic love story and Love Your Beat featured original songs and revealed that 20-year old Kapuso star Lianne Valentine could sing really well.

“Every episode was challenging because there's always a different experience. My most memorable episode is Bros B4 Rose, Raya Sirena, That Thin Line Between, The Signs, My Birthday Wish, and Ethan's Return, because they were all difficult concepts to shoot,” Ferrer shared. Most of these episodes Ferrer picked have elements of time travel and fantasy. 

For Aquino, working with Lotlot De Leon on the episode My Last Chance was the most memorable one.

“While shooting the highlight of the episode which is her confrontation with her mother which was actually a very heavy scene, after I shouted "CUT!", Ms. Lotlot couldn't stop from crying for almost a minute and I needed to appease her. Her passion towards her craft is immeasurable. Such a brilliant actress,” he shared.

The future of Regal Studio Presents

What can fans and viewers expect for the fifth season of Regal Studio Presents? 
“We will have more stories that are light, entertaining, heartwarming, and value-laden. Sunday is family day so we want the families to bond in front of the TV, as we give them stories that everyone can enjoy - mula sa bata hanggang sa Lola. So these are wholesome and fun episodes, na kapupulutan din ng aral," Noreen Capili, Creative Manager of the fourth and fifth season of the program said. 

So far, two episodes for the anniversary special have recently been aired: Love Your Beat (aired on September 11) starring Lianne Valentin and Carlo San Juan is a musical-romance episode that shows how songs and music can heal those who are hurting and broken; and Eat Must Be Love (aired on September 18) starring Jana Taladro and Bryce Eusebio with Almirah Muhlach for people who consider food as their love language. 

This Sunday, September 25, Kapuso stars Yasser Marta and Althea Ablan are paired for the first time in Win a Date, a story of a fangirl who joins a pancit canton-eating contest to win a date with her idol. The two lead stars of this episode appeared on past episodes (Ex Marks The Heart and Martha’s Place for Yasser Marta and My Boss, My Love for Althea Ablan). 

Catch Regal Studio Presents every Sunday, 4:35 PM on GMA Network. If you missed or want to re-watch an episode, you can check their official YouTube channels: Regal Entertainment Inc. and Regal Entertainment TV.

Will Regal be coming back to cinemas soon?

When will Regal be back in the cinemas? Will any of the RSP episodes be developed for the big screen soon? 

Monteverde confirmed: "Regal will be back in cinemas soon."

"It’s a good thing that slowly, we see confidence levels from cinema audiences slowly picking up. We're hoping this Christmas season, the Christmas crowd that we once had before the pandemic will be back. We are always on the lookout if an RSP episode can continue their story on the big screen," said Monteverde.

We can’t wait!