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Entertainment

'Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,' 'Hayop Ka' creators collab for new values-oriented series 'Heneral Tuna'

Earl D.C. Bracamonte - Philstar.com
'Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah,' 'Hayop Ka' creators collab for new values-oriented series 'Heneral Tuna'
'Heneral Tuna' poster
NCCA / Released

MANILA, Philippines — "Heneral Tuna," the original animated series from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), will air its pilot episode - "Pagmamahal sa Pamilya" - this Friday (October 15) at 7 p.m., and succeeding Fridays thereafter, on FDCP Channel 15, its institutional partner, as well as on the Kumu platform, its social media partner.

Produced by Rocketship Studios, under the direction of Avid Llongoren, from a script penned by Carlo Vergara, "Heneral Tuna" follows the adventures of a feline soldier from another planet on a mission to conquer planet Earth. Through engine trouble, it lands in the Philippines, and into a Filipino family as a pet!

"The choice of the cat is because of its curious (and calculating) nature since the series is all about learning. It's a Philippine animation made for a Filipino audience. 'Rizal in the Future,' a robot, and a high school 'Tikbalang' were some of the other concepts considered to create the series.

"But it was the diary of a grumpy cat from an ad, and our expertise with cats, that made us choose a feline as our central character. Nagpapa 'Squid Game' ang NCCA at kami ang nanalo," intoned series director Avid Llongoren.

"The context of COVID-19 made the production team choose which of the 20 Filipino values to highlight in the series as core values. These included the values of love for family and community, faith, honesty and integrity, resilience, life and purpose of happiness, valuing culture, arts and sciences, as well as Bayanihan.

"The research of the concept values in the series is in line with the Philippine Development Plan of promoting Filipino values towards balikbayan like the application of these values in everyday life by promoting these values through extensive promotion, and creating unity in diversity. Also, the identification of kids and millennials in considering pets as family was crucial to the storytelling," informed NCCA officer Arvin Manuel Villalon.

Created with the end view of animation for use in schools, that would hopefully be anchored in DepEd's revival of the GMRC (Good Manners & Right Conduct) subject in elementary schools, the series, as well as other future creative projects, will be exploring the other remaining Filipino values that the government wants to promote and instill in young minds. 

"The main challenge in this project was to write a material for kids within the given time frame, and how to incorporate emotions to the story board - like saying 'hugot' stuff that happens in real life. So I inserted comedy even in serious situations," informed comic book writer Carlo Vergara, who also penned the fabulous "Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah."

The other 13 values, yet to be developed into forthcoming story boards, are that of attaining education, health and wellness, addressing basic needs, self development and improvement, ensuring work and livelihood, peace and development, respecting and upholding human rights, care for the environment, love for country/patriotism, good governance, upholding the rule of law, lifelong learning and adaptability, as well as creating excellence and innovation.

"There is a move to complete the remaining 13 Pinoy values. However, it is dependent on the reaction of the audiences on this series. At the NCCA, our values study is geared towards fostering common good with the intent to recapture and revisit values to hone responsive leaders and productive members of society. To communicate values contained in our programs and touch the lives of people in the process. There is no stand alone value, they're all interwoven. The Bids/Awards committee determined the appropriate studio to create the series," said Marichu Tellano, overall in-charge of the Values Education Program.

The fictional Barangay Hiraya in the series is inspired by an actual community setting in Pila, Laguna.

"If we want children to appreciate art, we need to give them access early on. After all, the simplest message can be enlightening," enthused NCCA chairman Arsenio Lizaso.

NCCA
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