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MMFF probes ‘Oro’ over dog slaughter scene

Irma Adlawan who starred as Kapitana in "Oro" won best actress. She tried to defend her mining community from armed groups threatening them. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry “Oro” is now under investigation upon the orders of the executive committee after it received several complaints on one of its scenes.

Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chair Liza Diño-Seguerra said she received several phone calls and text messages from various groups about Oro’s dog-killing scene, which prompted the MMFF executive committee to conduct an inquiry into the film and its filmmakers.

Diño-Seguerra said the MMFF executive committee started its inquiry at 11 a.m. on Monday to investigate the issue. She added that the production team of “Oro” and the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) were summoned to discuss and clarify the issue.

PAWS last December 31 sent an official request for investigation to the MMFF executive committee in view of the numerous reports they received that a dog was actually killed in the filming of “Oro.” The group condemned the animal cruelty and said no animal should be killed or hurt for the sake of making a movie.

“Responsible film makers should make sure of this not just because animal cruelty is a crime but because it is the right thing to do,” PAWS said.

Diño-Seguerra clarified that she saw Oro prior to its showing last December 25, and also got disturbed by the complained scene. However, she said she verified with the filmmakers the details on how the film was made and she was told that it wasn’t true.

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“I clearly remember leaving the theater right after because of a 'dog scene' that was very disturbing-- very graphic and the act of gutting the dog looked so REAL. I immediately called the representatives from ORO production to verify if real animals were harmed during the filming of the movie.They said NO---A goat was used and some prosthetics to make it look real,” Diño-Seguerra said.

“I was somehow appeased, and was also being careful about crossing the line (artistic calls of the director) so I didn't push the issue. As long as may assurance na walang pinatay na totoong aso, subjective na if the scene should be deleted, changed or replaced. Paulit-ulit kaming nagtanong, they said magaling lang ang pagkakagawa kaya nagmukhang totoo,” she added.

Despite being convinced about the filmmaker’s explanation, Diño-Seguerra said she still received complaints on the alleged animal cruelty.

“To be clear, the MMFF executive committee does not condone such acts nor allow the Festival to be the vehicle for such actions; We acted in good faith when the producers stated that there were no such incidents of animal cruelty during the filming of the movie,” the FDCP head said.

“We take these matters seriously and take action if necessary,” she assured.

“Oro” received two awards during the Gabi ng Parangal held Thursday. It won the FPJ Memorial Award for Excellence and Best Ensemble Cast while lead actress Irma Adlawan won best actress.

RELATED: FULL LIST: Winners of 42nd MMFF

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