BY: Pilar Mateo

THE Statement.

“AS lawyer who pursued my artistic passion by starting the Philippine Stagers Foundation Inc. (PSF) back in 2001 with the intent to educate as many youths as we can and train as many artists with the passion and talent for theatre, I am proud that it eventually grew into the Philippines’ premiere and biggest touring theatre company.

“The pandemic greatly affected our dedication to bring our Musical plays that at the time was averaging at least 500 performances a year. It was part of our artistic thrust to educate audiences all over the country – not only in the power of the arts but in teaching the young and old alike of the explosive force that knowledge of history has , in whatever form it will take.

“But the Arts will always have way to manifest even in times of difficulty. Last year, in the heat of the ongoing pandemic, Philstager’s Films was born as a web-based media outfit in our way to keep our passion burning and to somehow give work to some of our more displaced talents. For almost one year, with an ever-growing viewership and engagement, we believe that the time has come for our small film outfit to grow.

“What better way to do it but to magnify one of our most successful musicals into the big screen?

“KATIPS: MGA BAGONG KATIPUNERO was originally performed onstage in the year 2016, winning the ALIW AWARDS for Best Musical Performance that year. I believe that sharing the story of students fighting for freedom in the middle of a force too big for them to control would be a timely metaphorical representation about our society today as we fight against the menace that continues to eat at our freedom as human beings.

“As a WRITER, the play was written with the help of a historian to make sure the chronological accuracy of events is given justice. I support against history revisionism as a parasitic fiber that continues to gnaw at society today especially the young. As a movie, the screenplay has undergone a revamp without affecting the narrative. I did this to make sure that the film remains neutral in its political stand and only continues as a statement of facts about the realities from the 70s until the latter 80s through the eyes of fictional students who might have very well been real people in the guise of different names.

“As DIRECTOR, the film was shot using various styles. Since it’s a musical, this is incomparable to any other historical musicals that has ever been done in the country so far. Using pseudo-realistic techniques and metaphors, the movie is an exploration on how vast a filmmaker can make use of music lights, costumes, visual effects and symbolisms in order to deliver a story as poignant and as life-changing as reality, experienced first-hand will be for viewers.”

Congratulating the ensemble after the press preview, and given an all together standing ovation, sabay-sabay, eh, I told the producer, director and actor that of all the movies he starred in, dito siya pinaka-mahusay. Shared and delivered his utmost!

Number 1 pala ito sa pumasa sa panlas ng MMFF 2021 (the much awaited film festival during the Christmas season)!

Ay! It didn’t get a place sa contenders. There was an official and personal explanation that one of the jurors or the head of the Committee, Ms. Boots Anson Roa sent to Atty. Vince.

Sad sila. But looking forward to seeing the musicale do the rounds of international film festivals in their coming seasons.

No brainer if your kontrabida is an actor by the name of Mon Confiado. A method actor who believes that there are no small or big roles, and for that matter, no pangit or magandang movie that he will star in for as long as his character will be delivered as is expected.

Vince got a bevy of actors who all shone in the characters they portrayed.

The first timer in a movie, theater actress and singer, Nicole Laurel Asensio ( of course, you know where she got her talent in singing, from Iwi Laurel her Mom who made sikat the song “Special Memory”), as Lara the Balikbayan from New York, USA and is the daughter of a rebel proved that she was cutout to be Jerome Ponce’s (as Greg) Muse!

In the cast are formidable actors: Johnrey Rivas, Lou Veloso, Adelle Ibarrientos, Sachzna Laparan, Joshua Bulot, Vean Olmedo, Carla Lim, Patricia Ismael, Dexter Doria, Afi Africa, OJ Arci, Ricky Brioso, Liam Tanare, Dindo Arroyo, JP Lopez, Bernard Laxa and Nelson Mendoza.

At the after screening bonding with the cast and production people, we got to know more of Vince’s advocacy to help all artists especially in production to work.

Musical director is Pipo Cifra, associate Directoe is Alejandro “Bong” Eamos, Oj is the line-producer; his D.O.P. wa once a gaffer for a cinematographer, Manuel “Pandoy” Obanto, production designer is Roland Rubenecia, editor is Mark Jason Sucgang, continuity director isouis Archie Perez, script supervisor is Fidel Redado and the wardrobe caretaker is Kris Manubay.

Amidst the merry-making that night after a successful premier, though not a bit happy of the color grade onsceen, there were tears from most of the members of the crew who are very thankful to Vince for the chance that thry have been given.

Vince hopes to see “Katips Movie” in all cinemas soon.

“2016 pa ito ginawa as a play. Kaya do not accuse us of using this a s a propaganda against someone o para maglaban-laban ang mga tao’ng gusto’ng tumakbo. I come from a political family. There were so many stories na marami are untrue. This is part of an advocacy. Na gusto ko pa ring kung ano ‘yung totoo ang maibahagi sa kabataan. The characters in the movie were interviewed. Nagka-edad na but vividly consistent ang pagalala sa nangyari sa kanila. ‘Yun lang ‘yun. So, walang pro ganito o against kay ganyan. Nakita niyo naman ‘yan.”

And as a gestuee of reconciliation, Vince of the Tañada family and Nicole of the Laurel clan clasped hands to bury whatever has happened in the past of their families.

They made history.

Mama Dexter with her L sign (for her Presidential bet, the Leni Robredo) continues to voice out her sentiments. Though this is not a campaign for her bet.

The people involved in “Katips Movie” have different political bets. But they left that out the door when they came to see the movie.

Paglabas ng theater is another totally different story. Of how one was affected by it all!

Can we truly say that now, in this time and era, we can consider ourselves as the new Katips? O kapits lang ng kapits!? (30)

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