Filipino dancing inmates step onto the silver screen
Thursday, June 13, 2013 - 01:26
June 13 - Dancing inmates in the Philippines who found Internet fame through their performances are now playing themselves in a film about prison reforms. Tara Cleary reports.
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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Filipino prisoners turn reality into fantasy.
The nimble troupe is starring in a new film, called "Dance of the Steel Bars".
The inmates of Cebu jail first found fame through videos posted on YouTube.
Their routine set to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has been viewed more than 52 million times.
The film's plot is based on real-life reforms introduced by a security advisor at the prison.
Around 1,000 inmates were taught to dance - not just for exercise, but also to instill discipline and camaraderie.
Filmmakers shot inside the prison for seven days, with professional actors and about 750 inmates.
The inmates' acting skills impressed co-director Cesar Apolinario.
SOUNDBITE: Cesar Apolinario, co-director, "Dance of the Steel Bars", saying (English):
"I did not only see them as brilliant dancers, but they are actually brilliant actors. We didn't have problems in terms of telling them how to act, because it's really natural. When I say, 'You have to look sad here,' they show it."
The film was screened at the prison before its commercial release, drawing rave reviews from the performing inmates.
SOUNDBITE: Ruel Vender, inmate at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, saying (Filipino):
"I'm thrilled. I wouldn't have thought I'd be in a movie."
Dance of the Steel Bars", premiered in the Philippines on June 12th.
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