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Interview de Henry Strzalkowski (page 5)

Si nous aimons rire d'un certain cinéma déviant, nous sommes très loin de mépriser les hommes et les femmes qui s'y sont impliqués ou compromis. Il nous a ainsi paru enrichissant de faire raconter le nanar et son univers par les gens qui l'ont vécu de l'intérieur. La diversité des intervenants et de leurs réponses nous a rendu encore plus proches du cinéma que nous aimons : vous découvrirez, au fil des entretiens que ces différentes vedettes ont bien voulu nous accorder, des informations précieuses pour le cinéphile et le cinéphage, des anecdotes cocasses et, en esquisse, le portrait attachant de personnages souvent hauts en couleur.
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Henry Strzalkowski (page 5)

Was your work in movies your only professional activity in the Philippines during all those years?

« Fatal Mission » (« Mission Manila », 1987).

During the years between 1983 and 1994, my work was predominantly on films. I worked in pre-production, of course, in production (in front of and behind camera), and in post-production I usually handled the dubbing or ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement). Actually, this was a skill I had developed while in university. My first professional job was voicing for Japanese robot cartoons in the mid 70's. I have had an ability to change my voice for the role. To this day, I still do ADR work with a company called Digilink that do versioning (Chinese to English). This is essentially dubbing and occasionally stripping the soundtrack either to sweeten the effects or the music. I worked with this company from 1994 till 1999 as a non-linear editor. Editing had become my new interest and I was getting too old for the physical stresses of action movies.

Did you ever contemplate leaving the Philippines in the 90's, while the Filipino industry was seriously on the wane and many of your Western pals left the country? What determined you to stay in the P.I.?

A recent photo of me, at work in the Handlebar.

I still live here in the Philippines simply because it is my home. My small family lives here. Although separated, my ex wife and I get along very well and we both remain mother and father to our young son.

With the hindsight, what look do you take at this experience in the cinema in the Philippines? What are your best and your worst memories? Do you have personal favourites in your filmography?

Upon reflection, I have no regrets whatsoever about having been in the movie business. I suppose I could have chosen a more lucrative and stable profession, but certainly would not have had the rich experiences and fun that I had. I had the opportunity to meet, work with, or at least see famous actors like Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Lawrence Fishburne, David Carradine, Jan Michael Vincent, Charlie Sheen, Willem Defoe, Tom Cruise, Tom Berenger, Robert Patrick, Lee Ermey, and many others. How many people can say that?

Henry Strzalkowski and Nick Nicholson, in "Eye of the Eagle" (1986).

My favourite film would have to be "Apocalypse Now," for the mere reason that it was the first film set I ever was on and it was what made me want to act in films. Aside from this, it is a film that I feel will stand the test of time as one of the last grand scale productions ever, in the same class as Cecile B. de Mille's great productions. Remember that this was before the age of CGI and budgets of $200 000 000 plus.

Could you tell us about your present activities? You have apparently been working on a film lately, could you tell us a bit more? Do you have other plans for the future?

Last month, after a hiatus of 10 years, I have just worked on a Cirio Santiago/Roger Corman co-production called "Crashpoint." Roger Corman's son was here in an associate producer capacity and Cirio acted as line producer. The film stars Theresa Randle, Mark Dacascos and Jeff Fahey. An American director, by the name of Henry Crum, directed, and I did a two day bit role. Again, I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

For the last few years, I have been in the Food and Beverage business. I am currently running a bar and grill here in Manila frequented by many expats, and still enjoy my memories of working in feature films back in the eighties. But lately, I have formed a small production company called BulletTooth Productions [and now named "Abstract Ranch"] which is involved in television productions. I and a few talented friends are producing a reality-based TV show that will cover the clubbing scene in Manila and around the country. It is fun, humorous, edgy and fresh, and we have high hopes for its success. I serve as associate producer and help in talent procurement, writing, shooting and editing. It is a very exciting experience as, best of all, it has revived my creative spirits, so to speak.

Well, here is the end, so, to conclude, on behalf of all the members of our team, I would like to thank you warmly for your time, and for having been so open and so friendly Mr Strzalkowski. All the best for the future!

I hope that has given you and idea of the interesting time I have had here working in films in the Philippines and I hope you enjoy this correspondence as much as I have had writing it! Bonne chance!

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