‘Bonifacio’ is back
PRODUCERS fervently believe that Andres Bonifacio deserves a return engagement on the big screen—especially in light of the game-changing success that was Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna.”
In time for the annual celebration of Bonifacio Day on Nov. 30, Enzo Williams’ “Bonifacio: Ang Unang Pangulo” is brought back to local cinemas.
“Bonifacio” and “Heneral Luna” were produced by the same team led by Fernando Ortigas of Tuko Films Productions and Eduardo Rocha of Buchi Boy Films.
Apart from screenings in SM cinemas (Megamall, North Edsa, Manila, Fairview and Sta. Mesa), the international version of “Bonifacio” will have its US premiere in New York City tomorrow, as well.
Screenings in Los Angeles are set in December.
When the “international version” was first shown in Barcelona, Spain earlier this year, it merited a standing ovation, the producers recounted.
“The European premiere was by invitation, sponsored by the Filipino-Spanish community with the support of the Philippine consul general,” recalled Ortigas. “About a thousand people attended the screening and appreciated the film.”
The “international version” includes English subtitles, fresh footage and additional content featuring lead star Robin Padilla, who plays Bonifacio.
Padilla traveled to Europe to do research on Bonifacio and the Philippine revolution.
Once dismissed as dusty and boring yawn-fests, historical films were given a much-needed shot in the arm by “Heneral Luna,” and “Bonifacio” could very well benefit from this renewed public interest, the producers explained.
“It is important to keep producing films on our history because we realized that many students today have very little, if no sense, of our rich history—which is sad,” Rocha said. “We respect our history, its legacy, its vestiges. But not much is left of our history, because many of the historical landmarks are being replaced by commercial establishments. And one great way to preserve our heritage is by producing films about our history.”
“Bonifacio” struggled at the tills when it was first shown at the Metro Manila Film Festival last year. It eventually won best picture at the MMFF, Famas and Star Awards.
“We realized that the MMFF is not the proper environment for historical films because December is vacation time for teachers and students,” Rocha said. “It’s Christmas time, and people are looking for lighter films. And we also feel that this new version would have attracted more viewers since it has an emotional pull.”
“Bonifacio” serves as a fitting companion piece to “Heneral Luna,” Rocha said.
“It is important for audiences to understand the environment that Gen. Antonio Luna inherited,” Rocha explained.
“The film shows how fiercely we fought for our independence from Spain. He organized the first Filipino independent government,” Ortigas pointed out. “It was the strongest stand against colonial oppression.”