Juan Luna biopic in the works

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QC government grants producer P1-M funding
Almost two years after revolutionary hero General Antonio Luna’s epic biopic “Heneral Luna” broke Philippine box-office records, the life story of his equally famous and controversial brother Juan Luna is on its way to the big screen.

On September 12, the Quezon City government confirmed that its city council has passed a resolution authorizing a grant of P1-million for the biographical film on the life of Luna, revered painter, sculptor, and political activist of the Philippine Revolution.

Who will play the revered painter, sculptor and political activist in the upcoming biopic?

Visioncapture Media—the same film outfit behind the CineFilipino 2016 official entry “Straight to the Heart” that starred Carl Guevara and Gwen Zamora—will produce the movie. David Fabros will take the director’s chair while Rody Vera, multiple winner of the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature, will helm the screenplay.

Reaching out to Fabros for more details regarding the financial assistance from the local government, the director told The Manila Times, “I approached the QC government because of their fervent support for new filmmakers, evident in the QCinema Film Festival. They are also very keen on films and projects of historical and cultural significance, which is the direction I would like to take for the Juan Luna project.”


Fabros further noted that the grant has helped them “commence with primary research and script development here in the Philippines and abroad.”

“And we have begun the dialogue with potential co-producers and funding agencies in Europe, also with regard to marketing and releasing the film overseas,” the director added.

Fabros finally detailed that the film project is still in pre-production stage what with the screenplay only on its first draft and casting still far from their timetable.

Luna is arguably best known for his masterpiece “El Spoliarium” which won first prize in the world-renowned Exposicion de Bellas Artes Madrid in 1884.Back then, his victory was celebrated by Filipinos had been fighting for respect and esteem.

Other notable works of his include “The Parisian Life” and “The Battle of Leopanto.”

His greatness, however, was tinged with a controversy. Based on historical accounts, Luna, in a fit of jealousy and brief moment of despair shot and killed his wife, Paz and his mother-in-law Julianna in their Paris apartment in 1892.

According to the film outfit’s website visioncapturemedia.com, the upcoming biopic will be a film adaptation of Vera’s “Ang Aking Juan Luna,” 2017 Palanca Award First Prize winner in the Dulang Pampelikula (Screenplay) Category.

However, according to the initial synopsis, the movie will tell the story of Juan Luna through a contemporary fictional character, Salvacion, an overseas Filipino domestic who inherits Juan Luna’s rare portrait of Paz. Out of sheer desperation for money, she sells the painting at a much lower value. It elaborates, “The film takes thematic comparisons between a Filipino colonial artist in Europe and a devoted Filipino caregiver/domestic—both motivated by leaving their home to make good of themselves and their lives in another country; both struggling with a their sense of value, how the painter creates it in his art and gives honor and life to a national identity, and how the caregiver fails to recognize it in the face of real need; with both losing that which they truly value.”

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