Filipino movies

Karl Medina as Joma Sison
Pen Medina's eldest son wins Best Actor in CineFilipino for his portrayal of CPP leader

HIS SECOND 'JOMA.' Karl as the CPP leader. Photo from 'The Guerrilla Is a Poet's' Facebook 

MANILA, Philippines – Another “Medina” is now in the showbiz spotlight and has even won a best actor award for his first feature film.

Karl Medina is the eldest son of renowned actor Pen Medina. He is the latest in the family to bring home an acting trophy for his performance as Jose Ma. Sison in the CineFilipino Film Festival entry, “The Guerrilla Is a Poet,” directed by Sari and Kiri Dalena (daughters of distinguished painter Danilo Dalena).

READ: Newcomer beats Nora Aunor as Best Actress in CineFilipino

In 2012, Pen’s 3rd son Alex won the best actor award at the Cinema One Originals for his performance in Ato Bautista’s “Palitan.” He recently starred in the Cinemalaya entry “Babagwa” (The Spider’s Lair) by Jason Paul Laxamana.

Karl said he did not expect to be a front runner for best actor at the CineFilipino festival – not even until his name was called.

“It’s pretty overwhelming. It’s hard to take it all in,” he said.

“This was a big break for me and I never really expected to get this recognition this early. This win is for my family, especially for my dad who has been my acting teacher.”


Although “Guerrilla” is Karl’s first feature film, this is his second time to portray the Communist Party of the Philippines leader, whom he first portrayed in the GMA-7 documentary “Case Unclosed” in 2008.

“I played the young Joma Sison. That was my first acting experience. Nasa college pa ako [I was still in college] that time, at UP Fine Arts. It turned out that I would also play Joma Sison in the film version.

“After playing him twice already, I got to know Joma Sison better and I knew what he was fighting for.”

The year 2013, as it comes to a close, has turned out to be a landmark year in Philippine cinema, not only for the predominant LGBT milieu but also for its politically charged films, like “Burgos: A Mother’s Love” and “Lihis” – both directed by Marcos-era political detainee Joel Lamangan. “Lihis,” on the other hand, tackles both leftist politics and the LGBT theme.

READ: Comrades, a love story in ‘Lihis’

When he’s not acting, Karl indulges in his pastimes, riding his skateboard and listening to different genres of music – classical, pop, rock, jazz.

The Dalena sisters are considering a musical for his next project.

“That would be another challenge for me,” said Karl. “Pakakantahin na raw nila ako sa [They’ll have me sing in their] next movie. Let’s see what will happen.” –

Here’s the trailer of ‘Guerrilla’ from KinoArts’ YouTube:

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