Pinoy theatre group in UK seeks support for film

By Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 26 2014 09:35 AM | Updated as of Feb 26 2014 07:40 PM

Cast members of the independent film "Migrants" read their script in preparation for their upcoming shoot. The production team behind the film aims to raise £25,000 or almost P1.9 million through crowd-funding.

LONDON—A Filipino theatre company is tapping into the power of the internet to solicit funds for its first film depicting the lives and struggles of migrants.

The 12-year-old Philippine Theatre-UK (PTUK), a group composed mostly of migrant Filipino workers in Britain, aims to raise £25,000 (almost P1.9 million) through donations via the "crowd-funding" website

"Finance is always a problem," said Morris Newbury, the group’s managing director. "It’s a crowd-funding website where people can actually provide as little as £10 (P750) to help with the funding that we need. If you are feeling generous, you can have anywhere up to £1,000, which would really help us.”

With 27 days left for the project to hit its target amount, it has reached only £190 so far.

The movie, titled "Migrants," tells the story of a Filipino migrant who overstayed in Britain and was deported to the Philippines.

There, he faces realities he soon finds difficult to confront.

“Corruption, war, forgotten faith, lack of education, betrayal and the thread of true friendship are the major elements highlighted in a tumultuous finale,” according to the film’s synopsis.

Ramon Tenoso, the group's playwright and screenwriter, said most of the film is inspired by real events—stories he had heard from fellow migrants.

“[This is] based on real stories of people, close friends of mine, stories of friends of friends,” he said. “I realized that the stories I heard 25 years ago are still happening.”

The film, targeted for release in 2015 and for competition in international film festivals, is based on PTUK's play with the same title.

The actors are UK-based Filipinos from various backgrounds, many of them professionals.

Zosimo Gonzales, a nurse who has been working in London for more than a decade now, plays the role of an illegal alien in Britain.

"He overstayed and then he became an illegal alien. But he decided to stay because he supports his family, and also to better his life and also his family’s back home,” he said.

The film has yet to be shot, and comes at a time of stricter immigration policies in the UK.

Tenoso hopes that audiences, not just migrants and Filipinos, would be able to relate to the story.

“It reflects all of us,” he said. “Whether you’re Filipino or non-Filipino, this is a story about us and being human.”