Robin says ‘Marawi’ not gov’t propaganda, but…
This is not government propaganda,” said actor Robin Padilla of Sheron Dayoc’s “Children of the Lake,” a film on the Marawi siege that he is currently working on with Piolo Pascual.
“This is actually a form of peaceful revolt. Marching on the streets no longer works. It’s because we can now make movies to show to the world what really happened there,” he declared.
The actor, however, admitted that the government did promise to help out by providing military presence, especially when the cast and crew begin filming at Ground Zero in August.
“We’re thankful for the support. We hope they can help us more, by giving us an ‘A’ grade and exempting us from paying taxes,” Robin told reporters who attended a recent story conference. “This industry has been asking for recognition from the government for the longest time. Now is the time for them to act on our request. We’re not asking for too much.”
On the film’s goal, he said: “We wish for the truth to come out in this film; not just what the military or the Isis (terrorist militant group) thinks is true, but also the hostages and those trapped in between.”
Robin, who converted to Islam several years ago, also pointed out: “This war happened not in the mountains, but in a progressive Muslim city. We don’t want this to happen again, not in another Filipino community. This should be the first and the last. We will not be able to survive another attack. We will col lapse as a country. This is something that we want to avoid.”
Piolo, who has also invested in the film, said some 100 people will go to Marawi to shoot for a month.
“We will also tap capable people who are based in Mindanao. It will be a big unit,” he shared with the Inquirer.
The actor revealed that his family didn’t want him to go, “but they know me. I’m the type who always wants to try something out of the box. With this being an advocacy, it feels good to know that I’m doing this not just for myself, but to inspire more people.”
Proceeds of the film will be used to fund the rebuilding of homes and rehabilitation of the war-torn province.
It is scheduled for release on the second anniversary of the Marawi siege in 2019.
Piolo plays a soldier engaged in battle against a militant group, along with the characters of Jess Mendoza, Mark Felix, Mylene Dizon and Robin (who plays their team leader).
Own versions of truth
As part of its preparation, the group recently participated in an airsoft simulation session. They will also attend lessons on gun handling and firing.
“I feel really motivated because this is on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to portray a soldier. When this came about, I thought I was just in on it as a producer, but director Sheron (Dayoc) asked me to portray a character that I couldn’t say no to.”
As part of his research with cowriter Erika del Mundo, Sheron said he interviewed people from different sectors, including Isis members.
“But this wasn’t done in the open. We went through the proper channels,” he pointed out. “We’re doing this project not to show people what is right or wrong, because at the end of the day, we all have our own versions of the truth.
“We will be focusing on that journey. We want people to realize that what happened in Mindanao wasn’t just the fault of a specific group of people, but the wrongdoing of all,” said the award-winning indie director.
Filmmaker Joyce Bernal, who is a producer in this project, admitted that it has received mixed reactions from the Maranaos. “We listened to each of them, but decided to stick to the facts gathered from our research. We hope for this film to reflect what really happened there, including the reality that we refuse to see.”
Actress Angeli Bayani, who will be working as acting coach in this project, is responsible for some 60 actors portraying soldiers and about 100 nonactors based in Marawi.
Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Ronnie Quizon, Davao-based actress Mariam Zimadar Caranay-Raper and first-time child actor Mark Anthony Celebrado will play hostages. Sid Lucero has been tapped to portray a militant character.
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