Despite the ongoing spate of controversies surrounding the 101-year-old Christian denomination Iglesia ni Cristo, its spokesman Edwil Zabala believes that the public’s interest in watching the biopic of founder Felix Manalo will remain unaffected.
“Naninidigan ako at naniniwala dito,” he said in reply to The Manila Times’ question at the movie’s first official press conference, which also had the film’s lead actors Dennis Trillo and Bella Padilla, and multi-awarded director Joel Lamangan in attendance.
According to Zabala, the INC ventured to produce the grand scale biopic not only to introduce the late Felix Manalo to this generation of Filipinos but also to give praise to the reason behind the success of a religion that has reached many parts of the world.
“Marami nang paraan ang nagamit ng INC para maipakita ang kasaysayan ni Ka Felix Manalo. Marahil ay napapanahon na isapelikula ang kanyang buhay sa ganitong paraan upang na ipakilala siya at kung sino ang tunay na na nasa likod ng tagumpay ng INC—ang Diyos na tumulong sa pagtatag ng Iglesia,” he explained.
And so in producing the Felix Manalo the movie with Viva Films, INC spared neither effort nor expense in making sure the project befits their reverence for their founder and God. A staggering P150-million budget was allotted to the star-studded epic, which will have its theatrical release on October 7.
From a very impressive trailer, Dennis Trillo portrays the role of the First Executive Minister of Iglesiani Cristo, with Bela Padilla as Honorata, Ka Felix’s wife. The monumental film traces the origins and growth of the INC church from its humble beginnings in 1914 through to the present day.
It is brilliantly framed by the life of Felix from the time of his birth in 1886 until his demise in 1963.
Shooting took all of 57 days over a period of eight months involving some of the country’s award-winning production talents whose extensive research, through the kind accommodation of INC, resulted in elaborate production sets and costumes that replicate multiple or specific time periods depicted in the movie.
Interestingly, Felix Manalo cuts across deeply rooted religions as it relays Ka Felix’s trials and tribulations in his search for the true faith. It is an excellent showcase of how one man can overcome challenges about his love of God.
The film is essentially a love story between God and man, between Ka Felix and his faith in God, Ka Felix and his wife Honorata and Ka Felix and the Iglesia ni Cristo.
Moviegoers will come to know, through the film, who Ka Felix was as it depicts him like any normal human being—a dutiful husband and a doting father.
The top-notch production names included in Lamangan’s team are director of photography Rody Lacap, costume designer Joel Marcelo Bilbao, production designer Edgar Littaua, Danny Red, set design and construction, musical director Von de Guzman and sound engineer Albert Michael Idioma.
Lending support to Dennis and Bela, meanwhile, is a cast of a hundred stars like Lorna Tolentino, Gabby Concepcion, Richard Yap, Mylene Dizon, Yul Servo and more.
Lamangan guaranteed that while the biopic is faithful to the life of its subject, he was given artistic freedom in translating it into film.
“Hindi po nila ako diniktahan, at sa tatlong dekada ko sa industriya, ngayon lang ako nakaranas ng ganitong klase ng supporta ng prodyuser upang maipakita ang buhay ng isang dakilang Pilipino na si Felix Manalo.”
For more information on the movie, log on to www.felixmanalothemovie.com.