I am sharing this letter HENERAL LUNA‘s (2015) Executive Producer Fernando Ortigas and Screenwriter-Producer Eduardo A. Rocha, because I feel the need to make it known that there is still hope in our own cinema and in our lives. HENERAL LUNA is a film worth watching.
You can take my word for it.
This film is one reasons why I travel to Laguna once every week to teach Film. This is the reason why we try to make sense of the art that we see moving on the silver screen. This is the reason why we take time to dig and discover hidden treasures in stories and even in forgotten pasts.
In an era where movies are mostly made of romantic-sexual-mistress-filled plotlines, we are becoming a nation of filmgoers eager to see how an Anne Curtis would throw lines that are as absurd as we are. But HENERAL LUNA brings back the hope of sensibility, of utter wonderment, the magic of cinema and the art of story telling.
Love yourself and catch this film. I dare you to be the Filipino that you are, and celebrate, not just our heroes, but also the magic that our own filmmakers can bring.
Embrace our art and our history. Learn, and then fight!
Mabuhay si Heneral Antonio Luna!
Mabuhay ang mga Manonood na Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang Pelikulang Pilipino!
This is simply to take this occasion, this profound moment in time, to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for your patronage, for your support, especially to those who’ve been relentlessly plugging away on Facebook or via social media, or by text, or even in person to spread the word and promote our film to others.
We are very, very touched.
For all of us—the entire cast and crew and team behind HENERAL LUNA—this has been one of the most extraordinary experiences of our lives. To be honest, it is life changing. To constantly hear applause in different theaters at the end of the film, as the credits roll, is for us a reward that’s beyond our wildest dreams when we first ventured doing this film. Many of us ask ourselves, when was the last time we heard an audience applaud at the end of a film, Filipino or otherwise, in so many theaters? And to see your FB postings, Twitter and Instagram messages, collectively and individually (especially from those who’ve watched the film more than twice already in the first week alone) moves us so deeply, beyond any words can truly express. And there are those of us who suddenly heard from people we haven’t heard from in ages—long lost cousins, exes, former classmates or invisible FB friends who suddenly made themselves known and wanted to show their appreciation for our work, for this film. Indeed, the love that you’ve all shown us has made their way into our hearts, carving a mini-monument of sorts dedicated to the heroism of Heneral Luna and the heroes who’ve lived before us, and to those who continue to live in our midst today. This is something that will stay with us for as long as we live.
Which is perhaps why reality hurts even more. Earlier today, we’ve been advised that we will be losing more than half of our theaters—that from 101 screens, we will be down to somewhere close to 40. We know, on one hand, we should be lucky to even have those, thanks to our distributor, (and for that we’re truly grateful to all of you), but on the other hand, we’re saddened that this movie has to go away before many more of you can see it, before its full audience potential can be realized. Believe us please, when we say, that while it’s important for us that this movie recoups its investment and more, it is ultimately not about box-office, not about money.
When this movie’s initial draft was first written, it was not written at all with the thought of writing a commercial blockbuster. And when we cast the film, we merely wanted to cast the most brilliant actors who were perfect for their roles. It was not based on who’s the biggest box-office draw. And creative decisions that were made (by our genius director Jerrold Tarog) while making the film were not based on “kilig,” not on what would please the audience most, but based on what would be best for the film, artistically and narrative-wise.
Of course, the beautiful irony of it all is that, now, through some magic, we’ve been rewarded with a film that is pleasing its audiences to no end—with a film that’s entertaining, enlightening, and educational. While theaters may have pulled this movie out, we strongly believe that that this movie now has a life of its own. Yes, YOU all have given this film a life of its own. And while we may have made this movie about a slice of Philippine history, YOU now are all a part of history–our history.
So, as we say thank you once again, please keep the fires burning, please keep the spirit alive. If the film is no longer in your city, go directly to your local cinemas and ask the manager to bring it back or bring it to your movie house for the first time. Be the hero for your school, for your barangay, for your friends and family by being the one who called them or texted them and let it be known to them that this movie must play in your cinema because there are plenty of people who want to see it and must see it.
But we must not stop here. The bravado and vigilance that we all show must continue onwards in our daily lives, especially in time for next year’s election. If for nothing else, HENERAL LUNA has made you or any one person to stop and think and reflect on our nationhood’s future, then this movie would have already done its job, regardless of its final box-office gross. As one noted historian put it, “History is not meant to be memorized, but to be reflected and acted upon.”
It’s a “hugot” line that Heneral Luna himself might have been proud to say.
With our heartfelt thanks,
Fernando M. Ortigas, Executive Producer & E. A. Rocha, Screenwriter- Producer