Albee thanks Peque for helping finish movie
Before he passed away early last May, Peque Gallaga made sure that the movie’s principal photography was in the can. He and director Lore Reyes are Albee’s co-producers of the project.
Albee thanks Peque for helping finish movie
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - July 11, 2020 - 12:00am

Except for the special effects and the computer graphics, and some slight revisions in the editing, Magikland The Movie is 80 percent done. Intended for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) in December...hopefully!... the movie inspired by the Magikland Theme Park in Negros Occidental, is produced by former Rep. Albee Benitez with Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. Peque passed away at 76 in Bacolod City last May 7.

“I’m thankful to Peque because even when he was already sick, maski medyo hirap na siya, he really continued to work on the movies,” Albee told Funfare. “Medyo pinilit ko pa nga siya, eh. The movie is a fitting farewell to Peque, my fellow Bacolodnon.”

Magikland The Movie is inspired by the theme park built in Silay City by former Rep. Albee Benitez (shown with guests from Manila)

Occupying four of an 80-plus virgin lot in Silay City, 20 minutes drive from Bacolod City, Magikland has been Albee’s long-time dream project to provide an entertainment place for not only Bacolodnons but those from the neighboring places. It had a soft opening in October last year requested as a venue by the Solar Company Bio Power for its family-day event (attended by more than 1,200 employees).

“The whole park is operated by solar power,” said Albee. Then, the park was opened to the public early this year. Albee invited friends from Manila for a quick-look-see tour and the city folks were visibly impressed. With more attractions set to open in safer times, the park boasts of three sections based on Visayan legends and folklore — Mystical Zone, Magical Zone and Cultural Zone.

Albee in front of a Magikland attraction

Peque wasn’t too well when we were in Bacolod but he readily agreed to an e-mail interview.

“The Theme Park inspired the movie and the movie, in turn, inspired the Theme Park,” explained Peque who retired in Bacolod. “The genes of the movie are the same as those in my two films, Magic Temple (Star Cinema) and Magic Kingdom (Viva Films).”

It was Peque and Lore, together with the movie’s director Christian Acuna, who picked the (human) actors (some real actors and others mostly greenhorn Negrenses) in the animation scenes.

“Magikland (in the movie) is a place of fantasy in a video game for iPhones,” added Peque. “The inspiration is from Pokemon the game. The attraction to the game is for the gamers to get the highest points in order to save Magikland from an evil dictator. Then the four winners are transported to Magikland which is, indeed, in mortal danger.”

Incidentally, don’t be surprised if you find Magikland The Movie on Netflix.

“Well,” nodded Albee, “that’s the plan.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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