MANILA, Philippines – Star Cinema, the movie arm of ABS-CBN, will be distributing the acclaimed independent films “Captive” by director Brillante Mendoza and “Bwakaw” by director Jun Lana.
The two films are both slated for commercial release on September 5.
Produced by Swift Entertainment Production and Centerstage Production, “Captive” is headlined by French actress Isabelle Huppert with a strong Filipino cast composed of Ronnie Lazaro, Angel Aquino, Sid Lucero, Raymond Bagatsing, Rustica Carpio, Maria Isabel Lopez, Mercedes Cabral and Timothy Mabalot.
It had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival last February.
Inspired by the Dos Palmas kidnapping of two US missionaries by the Abu Sayyaf Group which made headlines in 2001 and other similar events, “Captive”recreates the scenes that transpired during the year-long ordeal of the 20 local and foreign tourists abducted by the renegade group.
On June 27, 2002, the military managed to stage a daring rescue but by that time, only the French social worker Therese Bourgoine (played by Huppert) and the British missionary Sophie Bernstein were saved alive from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf Group.
“The script was based on my intensive research on certain kidnapping events and where they actually happened and the testimonies of survivors, captors, the military and others who witnessed and/or were part of the crisis,” Mendoza said.
Huppert was the jury president at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival where Mendoza won the Best Director trophy for “Kinatay.” She was so impressed by the Filipino’s documentary style of filmmaking that she readily agreed to collaborate on a film project with Mendoza.
“As a filmmaker, I always try to work like a journalist. I show both sides, many sides of the situations as much as possible, regardless of my personal beliefs or causes,” Mendoza said.
“Bwakaw,” meanwhile, was a bigger winner at the recent Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival bagging awards for Best Actor (for lead star Eddie Garcia), Audience Choice, and Netpac Awards in the Director’s Showcase.
It also made headlines recently as it earned nods from globally renowned movie fests including the Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival.
Rated ‘A’ by the Cinema Evalution Board, “Bwakaw” is a drama-comedy about growing old, and everyone's fear of growing old alone. It shares the life of Rene, played by Garcia, a 75-year-old man whose life suddenly turns around when a stray dog named “Bwakaw” suddenly teaches him a lesson about life.
“Istorya ito ng pagmamahalan ng aso at isang 75 years old na bading na pinaghahandaan na ang kanyang kamatayan,” Garcia said.
For Lana, his indie-turned-mainstream film was a break to go back to his roots.
“I decided to join Cinemalaya this year because I thought it was time to return to my roots. It was not an easy journey, but worth every moment. Writing, producing, and directing ‘Bwakaw’ was quite liberating. For the first time, there were no templates. All I had to focus on was the story and how to best tell it visually,” said Lana, who gained popularity for writing the acclaimed commercial films “Jose Rizal,” “Muro-Ami,” and “Bagong Buwan.”
Aside from Garcia, “Bwakaw” also stars Rez Cortez, Gardo Versoza, Bibeth Orteza, Soxie Topacio, Allan Paule, Joey Paras, Beverly Salviejo, Soliman Cruz, Bibeth Orteza, Luz Valdez, Jonathan Neri, May-I Fabros, and Armida Siguion-Reyna.
Read our review of “Bwakaw” here.