MMFF 2015: 5 things to know about 'Honor Thy Father'

MANILA, Philippines – After the movie Hermano Pule pulled out of the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), Erik Matti’s movie Honor Thy Father was included in this year’s line-up. 

The movie stars John Lloyd Cruz in one of his most challenging roles to date.

The movie is about a couple, Edgar (John Lloyd Cruz) and Kaye (Meryll Soriano), who must pay their debt to Kaye's co-parishioners.

Last September, the movie was shown at the Toronto Film Festival, and received good reviews. It was also shown during the Cinema One Film Festival.

Filipino viewers will get an opportunity to see the film again at the upcoming MMFF this December 25. Here are 5 things to know about Honor Thy Father.

1. Honor Thy Father is John Lloyd's first movie in the MMFF. 

John Lloyd with child star Krystal Brimner. Photo courtesy of Reality Entertainment

John Lloyd with child star Krystal Brimner.

Photo courtesy of Reality Entertainment

He may have starred in many blockbuster films, but this is the first time John Lloyd will have a movie in the film fest. The MMFF parade was held last December 23, but before that, John Lloyd shared during a December 17 press conference for the movie that he was looking forward to riding in their float.

"Hinding-hindi buo ang experience kapag wala iyon. Kaya I'm very excited na sa parada at sumakay sa float," he said. (The experience would not be complete if it didn't have that. That's why I'm very excited for the parade and to ride the float.)

2. John Lloyd Cruz was one of the producers.

During the press conference, John Lloyd joked that he was in "total darkness," as co-producer of the movie.

"Hindi ko siya makapa," John Lloyd said. "First time ko dito and hindi ko talaga alam. I realized that medyo mas mabigat pa siyang trabaho kaysa doon sa [pag-arte]."

(I'm not used to it. It was my first time and I really didn't know [anything about it]. I realized that it's a bigger job than [acting].)

Erik Matti later on explained that John Lloyd clarified with them that while he was on board as co-producer, he really did not want to confuse producing with acting, thus, another producer had to help them out. 

3. John Lloyd shaved his hair for the movie.

In one scene in the movie, John Lloyd shaves his hair in front of his on-screen daughter, played by Krystal Brimner.

John Lloyd said he knew it was needed, so he agreed to shave his hair. 

"Kailangan siya nung anak ko sa 'storya," John Lloyd said, as his character does it after his daughter's head was shaved by her captors. "It's an act of courage. Bilang ama, hindi lang yun, at saka siguro doon sa klase nung character – si Edgar, 'yung role ko dito. Baka nga mas mahirap pa magkalbo kaysa pumatay para sa kanya."

(My daughter in the story needed it. It's an act of courage. As a father, not just that, and I guess it's also the type of character – Edgar, my role in the movie. It might have even been harder to shave his head than to kill, for her.)

Photo courtesy of Reality Entertainment

4. John Lloyd is excited to see how the fans will react to the film.

Having come from the recent success of A Second Chance, John Lloyd is looking forward to how the audience will react to the movie.

"Mas interesado ako sa magiging reception ng movie goers, especially sa MMFF. Kasi malaki yung sasabihin niya, malaki yung sasabihin niya sa kung anong mga tema ng mga pelikula or klaseng pelikula ang meron tyansa sa MMFF in terms of box office," John Lloyd said. 

(I'm more interested in the reception of the movie goers, especially in the MMFF. Because it will say a lot about what themes or type of movies have a chance in the MMFF in terms of the box office.)

5. The movie was filmed before the issues regarding the Iglesia ni Cristo's leadership happened in July.

Asked if they were worried about feedback since one of the movie's themes is problems in the Church, John Lloyd said no.

Photo courtesy of Reality Entertainment

"It's film. It should be given total freedom...siguro nagkakataon lang kasi to be perfectly honest about it, nagkataon-taon lang naman...nauna yung filming namin bago pumutok yung isang isyu sa isang sikat na congregation na simbahan. Nagkataon iyon talaga," he said.

(I guess it was just timing to be perfectly honest about, it was coincidental... the film started before the issue of a famous congregation exploded. It was really just a coincidence.)

Co-star Meryll Soriano added: "Fictional naman yung nakasulat sa church sa pelikula. (The Church in the film is fictional.) So it doesn't really address any particular church." 

Honor Thy Father opens on December 25. – Rappler.com