• FROM THE MAKERS OF ‘HENERAL LUNA’

    ‘Patintero’ conveys themes of friendship and anti-bullying among children

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    Action-packed and anime-laden, ‘Patintero’ also carries an anti-bullying message. The young cast is led by (from left) Nafa Hilario Cruz, Isabel ‘Lenlen’ Frial, William Buenavente and Claude Adrales. Lending support are Katya Santos and Suzette Ranillo

    Action-packed and anime-laden, ‘Patintero’ also carries an anti-bullying message. The young cast is led by (from left) Nafa Hilario Cruz, Isabel ‘Lenlen’ Frial, William Buenavente and Claude Adrales. Lending support are Katya Santos and Suzette Ranillo

    Fresh from participating at the 3rd Silk Road International Film Festival in China, indie director Mihk Vergara’s Patintero: Ang Alamat Ni Meng Patalo returns to the country with a commercial run in cinemas this October.

    The film is considered as one of the best features in the 2015 QCinema Film Festival, where it won two awards in the Audience Choice and Gender Sensitivity categories.

    With the vision to reintroduce traditional Filipino games to the younger generation, Vergara thought of enhancing the film for a commercial run, giving it a livelier aura to entice this generation’s technology-inclined youths.

    “At the end of the day, our goal is to create an entertaining film. But we’re hoping that through this movie, we can start a movement for kids to go out and play. If not, then at least we hope to create awareness that we [their parents and older siblings]once played these games,” the director shared.

    Given that modern technology has always offered different types of games in just a single swipe, the 33-year-old director used this as an advantage to bridge the gap between the millennial Filipinos and the country’s forgotten arts and culture, by giving the film a version brimming with action and anime treatment.

    He said they found the children responded really well to the movie, which, in result, pushed them to re-shoot and to add more scenes that would appeal to the minds of its young audience.

    “We didn’t change the story. It’s still the same narrative that people loved from the QCinema version. So what we did is to make it more palatable to them by adding more action scenes and anime-inspired graphics,” Vergara explained.

    In the new version, a “how-to-play” segment is included to emphasize the styles of various places. He mentioned he was inspired by China’s method of introducing games with different ways of playing them. Aside from this, the action scenes are filled with a colorful background that would certainly snatch the attention of the viewers.

    Known for being a fanatic of sports movies, Japanese anime and comic books, the director revealed that the film started with a nine-page comics he and his co-creator Dave Alegre made for the Fully Booked comic-making contest. Although it was never released, both of them remained loyal to the project – Vergara refined the characters through his writing, while Alegre never stopped drawing them.

    For this reason, pushing through with the film seemed like a wish granted for the childish heart of these talented artists.

    Choosing real-life characters, the director noted they held auditions for almost four months, looking at close to a hundred kids per casting session. The lead actress, Nafa Cruz, showed up on the last day and Vergara knew she had to play the strong character of “Meng.”

    He said, “We really tried to find the right children for the film. We were in need of four lead actors, and one of them should have a strong personality and doesn’t back down so easily.”

    Patintero is a fun, family-oriented film about a young girl, who learns to overcome life’s challenges through the help of her friends. Rife with coming-of-age themes of friendship, teamwork, and sportsmanship, the film also carries an anti-bullying message.

    It is produced by TBA (Tuko Films, Buchi Boy Entertainment, Artikulo Uno Productions), the same team behind last year’s critical and box office hit Heneral Luna.

    The young cast is led by Nafa Hilario Cruz (Meng), Isabel ‘Lenlen’ Frial (Nicay), William Buenavente (Shifty), and Claude Adrales (Z-Boy). Katya Santos and Suzette Ranillo complete the cast.

    Catch them as they tour various malls around the metropolis to share games and surprises, starting September 25 at SM Southmall and October 2 at SM North Edsa.

    The film will have its red carpet premier on October 1 at SM Megamall, with the stars of Heneral Luna, Smaller And Smaller Circles, 1-2- 3 and more.

    Distributed by Quantum Films, the film is set for theatrical release nationwide on October 5.

    Meanwhile, Vergara will again showcase a high-caliber movie titled Nang Lumipad Ang Batang Agila as his entry to this year’s QCinema Film Festival.

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