Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival organizers and filmmakers
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Movie with line about killing Duterte disqualified from film fest
Jan Milo Severo (Philstar.com) - February 21, 2020 - 8:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — A film critical to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's government has been disqualified from this year’s Sinag Maynila Independent Film Festival, which presents screening of new independent films in selected cinemas from March 17 to 24.

“Walang Kasarian Ang Digmaang Bayan,” a film by Joselito Altarejos starring Oliver Aquino, Arnold Reyes, Sandino Martin and Rita Avila, was disqualified from the festival known for its “Sine Lokal, Pang-International.”

According to the statement, the film will be pulled out from this year's full length category finalists because "The Executive Committee, after thorough review, found that there is substantial deviation from the submitted and approved script and the film is no longer a faithful representation of the approved screenplay."

In the film’s teaser, Rita has a scene where she said, “Kung matapang lang ako, ako mismo ang papatay kay Duterte.”

In an interview with the media, including Philstar.com, at the festival's recent launch, Altarejos clarified that his film is not singling out the current administration but also the past administrations of the country.

“I'm not singling out anything although malaki don 'yong kasalukuyang gobyerno. Pero ako ay naniniwala na ang mga nangyayari ngayon ay hindi lang naman exclusive sa kasalukuyang government. It's been happening from way, way back. Ang sa akin lang, nandito naman to sa paligid natin, naririnig natin siya, alam natin siya, nasa balita siya. Lahat ng nasa pelikula ko, nandyan siya. Kumbaga wala akong inimbento 'no?” the director said.  

When asked if he's worried for his film being criticized by the Duterte's diehard supporters, Altarejos said he’s not worried at all because the country is still a democracy.

“Wala akong worry. Kung tayo naman ay nasa sinasabi pang demokrasya, we are still free to express our opinions, whether political or personal dahil kahit anong isyu ay naapektuhan tayo dahil nga sinasabi natin na ang personal ay politikal at ang politikal ay personal. So ang nangyayari sa labas, nangyayari sa atin 'yon. Ayon ang gustong sabihin ng pelikula,” he said.  

“Sa mga hindi magkagusto sa pelikula ko, tatanungin ko lang, ang mga nangyayari ba sa paligid natin ay gusto mo? Tanungin natin ang mga sarili natin, gusto ba natin ng may mga patayan? Gusto ba natin na ang dami daming pumapasok na mga makapangyarihan? Gusto ba natin yong mga nababasa natin tapos parang idedeny na parang hindi totoo?” he added.

Now that “Walang Kasarian Ang Digmang Bayan” has been disqualified, other films included in the festival are “He Who is Without Sin” by Jason Paul Laxamana, starring Enzo Pineda and Elijah Canlas; “The Highest Peak” by Arnel Barbarona, starring Dax Alejandro and Mara Lopez; “Kintsugi” (Beautifully Broken) by Lawrence Fajardo, starring JC Santos and Japanese actress Hiro Nishiuchi; and “Latay” (Battered Husband) by Ralston Jover, starring Lovi Poe, Allen Dizon, Snooky Serna and Mariel de Leon.

Sinag Maynila is the brainchild of award-winning director Brillante Mendoza and Solar Pictures’ boss Wilson Tieng in partnership with SM Cinema.

PRES. RODRIGO DUTERTE
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