Filipino movies

What we know about the Andres Bonifacio movie starring Isko Moreno

What we know about the Andres Bonifacio movie starring Isko Moreno

'MAYPAGASA.' (L-R) Regal Entertainment producer Dondon Monteverde, Manila City mayor Isko Moreno and director Erik Matti will work together in an Andres Bonifacio biopic movie.

Regal Entertainment's Facebook page

Director Erik Matti says the movie, set to begin filming in July, will be 'relevant to the year 2021'

Regal Entertainment announced on Saturday, June 12, that an Andres Bonifacio legacy movie starring Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is in the works. 

Here’s what we know (so far) about the upcoming biopic: 

Isko Moreno was approved by Bonifacio’s relatives

In a Facebook post, Regal Entertainment said they chose Moreno because his “values and morals [are] similar” to Bonifacio. “It is Moreno’s passion, nationalism and love for the country that made him suitable to play the role,” the company said. 

Known as the Father of the Philippine Revolution, Bonifacio led the secret revolutionary movement Katipunan. 

Film director Erik Matti and producer Dondon Monteverde also said the “parallels” in the lives of Moreno and Bonifacio were a huge factor in choosing the actor-turned-politician for the role. 

“Aside from their physical resemblance, both were theater actors who hailed from Tondo, Manila. And just like Moreno, the hero’s father, Santiago Bonifacio, was a former Manila mayor,” Matti told ABS-CBN News.

Susan Meyer, the great-granddaughter of the Filipino hero, said their family is happy with the choice of Moreno playing Bonifacio. “Alam kong maka-Bonifacio si Yorme at nadarama din niya ang mga ipinaglaban ni Lolo Andres noon. Sa tingin ko magaling din siya umarte,” she said. 

(I know that Yorme is also a fan of Bonifacio and he believes in what my Lolo Andres was fighting for back then. I think he’s also good in acting.) 

Moreno said he is excited to be part of the film. “It’s going to be challenging, but I hope I can give justice to the role of Bonifacio. I hope to live to the expectations of our moviegoers,” the incumbent mayor told Manila Bulletin.

The film will present ‘new discoveries on the life’ of Bonifacio

Several biopics about Bonifacio have been made – Ang Paglilitis ni Andres Bonifacio (2010), Supremo (2012), and Ang Unang Pangulo (2014) – but producers said that the upcoming film will feature “new discoveries on the life of the fallen revolutionary.” 

“When we heard the details in Bonifacio’s life that we only heard for the first time, Dondon and I got interested. We’re interested in bringing to light new and fascinating details about a national hero that have not been depicted in the past, hoping that we could understand Bonifacio better than before,” Matti told Philippine Star.

He added, “We want to be able to tell a story about Bonifacio that hasn’t been taught in schools and has never been seen in the many Bonifacio movies made in the past. And we want to make this particular Bonifacio movie relevant to the year 2021.” 

Tentatively titled MayPagasa, a pen name used by Bonifacio, will be Matti’s first-ever period movie. 

The director said that he’s excited to start recreating lives lived in our history through his upcoming film. “We are ready to work hard and make a piece of cinema that’s worth experiencing without the feeling of being lectured upon,” Matti told ABS-CBN News.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Matti said the film would feature Bonifacio as “a man who failed to win the rebellion and how it affected him as a hero.” 

Matti said the movie’s themes would are timely to the country’s current state. “Upon looking at it, I think the divisiveness that we are having right now in the country is really what made us think that the Bonifacio movie which also was rife with divisiveness during that time they wanted to win over the Spaniards, I think those issues during that time make the whole film relevant to us nowadays,” he said. 

Matti said that the movie will start filming around July this year, and that they hope to release it as soon as it’s completed.

Campaign propaganda?

When asked by CNN Philippines if the film might be used as campaign propaganda by Moreno for the 2022 elections, Matti said: “From our end, we just want to do a movie and if he runs for higher office, I’m there for him.” 

Moreno has yet to make a comment about this matter. However, whether the movie will be released before or after the 2022 elections, the project will surely bring additional publicity for the actor-turned-politician.

While Moreno has not announced his plans for 2022, his name has been floated around as potential presidential or vice presidential candidate. He recently declined a nomination from opposition coalition 1Sambayan to be part of its possible bets for the two highest posts in the country, however.

Politics and entertainment in the Philippines are often intertwined.

In the 2019 elections, numerous celebrities who had active TV and movie projects prior to election day won their posts. Celebrities are often also tapped as endorsers and sometimes even stand as campaign proxies for politicians seeking national posts.

In the last elections, several cast members of Ang Probinsyano, one of the longest-running TV series still on air, won their electoral posts. A party-list group named after the series and endorsed by its stars even won a seat in the House of Representatives.  –