• Bertubin film tackles Down Syndrome

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    RICKY CALDERON

    RICKY CALDERON

    Film director Roni Bertubin is joining this year’s Filipino Section of the World Premiere Film Festival via the film Ku’te starring former Pinoy Big Brother alumnus Johan Santos, Nico Gomez, Maya Santos, and Marielle Therese who has Down Syndrome.

    He did this film as an advocacy to raise awareness for those afflicted with the said disease, and seek equality for them.

    Johan and Marielle play siblings in this film that displays the special bond between a brother and his sister who with Down Syndrome.

    Direk Roni chose Marielle to play the part of the afflicted girl after meeting her in person. Marielle, who hails from Lipa City, has a very supportive mother who always knew she will grow up to be very special. Marielle is 18 but has the mental age of a six-year-old.

    Meanwhile, the story of Ku’Te is not a true story but is culled from stories of people whom Direk Roni happens to know, among them the sister of one of the members of his production team. This production personnel works during the day, and leaves his sister in their neighbor’s care.

    “I asked him what if one day you come home and you learn that your sister is pregnant? What will you do? He gave it some thought,” the director proposed. “What if a relative of yours who has Down Syndrome was raped? What will you do? Will you file a case? I learned of such case while doing research for the film.

     First-time actress Marielle Therese, who is afflicted with Down Syndrome stars in ‘Ku’Te’ as ‘PBB’ alumnus Johan Santos’ little sister

    First-time actress Marielle Therese, who is afflicted with Down Syndrome stars in ‘Ku’Te’ as ‘PBB’ alumnus Johan Santos’ little sister

    Direk Roni hopes the movie will open the public’s eyes to the situation of Downs Syndrome patients. “

    “We often hear people say if you have a child who has Down Syndrome, you are lucky. But if you love them then you should have a plan for them. Don’t lock them out,” he added.

    The World Premiere Film Festival will run from June 29 to July 10, and Ku’Te will have its gala premiere at SM North EDSA on July 1 at 7 p.m. The rest of its play dates are as follows: July 3 at SM North EDSA, and uly 7, 8 and 10 at SM Megamall. The movie will have its commercial run in September.

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    This seems to be the year of comeback in the music scene. Making his presence felt anew is Lloyd Umali, dubbed as the “Michael Bolton of the Philippines” who just released his new single titled “Bakit Ka Pa Bumalik,” produced by 8 TriMedia Productions. The last time he had an album was more than a decade ago in a revival album for Viva Records of hits made popular by female singers.

    Lloyd said he decided to record again after he was presented a song to his liking, and because he felt it was the right time to revive his partnership with Ima Castro. They never had a follow-up to their hit single “Nanliligaw/Naliligaw,” which they recorded under PolyEast Records in 1994.

    Nevertheless, Lloyd never turned his back on singing. He was in Japan for the longest time where he was busy doing gigs, mostly special shows. He is excited to work again with Ima, who made her mark in Miss Saigon. They are very good friends.

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