‘Pureza’ tackles hacenderos’ untold storyBy Rica Arevalo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
AFTER directing the feature films, “Ligaw Liham” and “Namets,” Jay Abello is excited about his first full-length documentary, “Pureza: The Story of Negros Sugar,” which examines the dying sugar industry of Negros.
Growing up, Abello, whose family is involved in the sugar industry, had a love-hate relationship with Negrense culture. He believed that the sakadas were oppressed: “When the film’s producers came to me (they were hacenderos), I asked them if they were willing to admit to their guilt. They said they wanted to tell their story.”
He further discloses, “When we started talking about the project, it became clear that nobody told the story from the inside. I thought I knew this story well. But, when I interviewed people, I realized I didn’t.”
The film shows the turbulent and extravagant lifestyles of Negros’ sugar barons. For three years, Abello shot 400 hours’ worth of footage, now narrowed down to two hours and 15 minutes for its premiere at SM Bacolod for the “Bacollywood: Cinema Rehiyon 2012.”
What is his docu’s goal? Jay replies, “I want people to rethink what a hacendero truly is. The sugar industry—we dread that it’s going to ‘die’ soon. What’s going to happen to Negros then? Having knowledge of its history will help us do something about it!”
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