MANILA – Los Angeles-based CineFocus Productions is backing “Pan de Salawal,” a Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival 2018 entry by neophyte director Che Espiritu.
“Pan de Salawal,” also written by Espiritu, will be the first of many Filipino films that CineFocus plans to support.
“I have committed to every year making two films in the Philippines as a way of saying ‘thank you my fellow Filipino friends – you have not only saved my life… you have changed my life,’” Herb Kimble, founder and executive producer of CineFocus, said in a statement.
In 2001, Kimble achieved considerable success in the call center industry in Manila.
A former stage thespian in his hometown in Chicago, Kimble established the production firm last year with his acting school buddy, CineFocus co-founder and co-producer Matthew Grant Godbey.
“Herb’s good fortune [in Manila] has enabled us to form CineFocus together, with the goal of telling great stories through the art of filmmaking,” said Godbey.
“We became involved with ‘Pan de Salawal’ because we believe it to be a compelling and emotionally moving story,” added Godbey, who appeared in various U.S. TV shows such as “Nip/Tuck” and “Charmed,” among others.
“Pan de Salawal” follows the story of Aguy, a little girl with healing powers who wanders into an ill-stricken neighborhood along the railroad tracks of Manila to cure people through a violent but magical way.
The title combines the words “pan de sal” (bread of salt), a fist-sized bread sold in Philippine bakeries, and “salawal,” a term use for underpants which threadbare may symbolize financial crisis.
“’Pan de Salawal’ is a modern-day story that shows how beautiful it is to be a Filipino. From simple joys like ‘pan de sal’ bread dipped in coffee to unwavering virtues like smiling – laughing even – in the face of illness, and a one-hundred percent faith that a loved one will be healed,” Espiritu, who holds a master’s degree in Motion Pictures Arts from Florida State University, elaborated in a statement.
The Cinemalaya entry stars Bodjie Pascua, Anna Luna, Felix Roco, Madeleine Nicolas, Soliman Cruz, and Ruby Ruiz.
“Patay na si Hesus” child star Miel Espinoza plays the role of the 7-year-old healer.
The film is set to premiere at Cinemalaya 2018, which will run from August 3 to 12 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and selected Ayala Malls cinemas.
From there, CineFocus will introduce the film to various international film festivals.
“After a little time on festival circuit, we will distribute the film to audiences in the U.S. and throughout the world,” Godbey noted.