Issue of July 25, 2021
Mt. Province

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Film about Igorot bravery to be released soon in CAR
by Ofelia C. Empian

1941 -- A locally-produced war movie from the events in 1941 in the Cordillera  is set to be released in the coming months with the participation of a strong Cordilleran cast including Team Lakay chair Mark Sangiao, members of the Bardilleranz, Dexter Jaimee Tampoa, Peter Wasing, and National Artist Kidlat Tahimik. Executive Producer and Director Jennylyn De Los Santos-Floresca said the movie features the warrior spirit of the Cordillerans while going against the Japanese Imperial army, and is also a love story between a Japanese soldier portrayed by Mark Phillip Neumann and a local teacher (Tampoa) at the time of the war. -- Ofelia Empian

A locally produced film set in the Cordillera during the Japanese Imperial Army invasion of the Philippines, which also captured the ‘warrior spirit’ of the Cordillerans in 1941 will be released soon.

Executive producer and co-director Jennylyn De Los Santos-Floresca said the film titled: “1941: Cordillera Iti Ima Ti Gubat” is based on accounts of various individuals of the events during World War II in the region.

“The film is really about capturing the warrior spirit of the Cordillerans and how we fought for our land and freedom,” Floresca said.

Floresca said the film is a modest project with the objective of getting into the forefront, local talents as well as bringing authenticity to the 1941 war stories in the highlands.

She said she gathered her team to research on stories at the start of the Japanese Imperial Army occupation in 1941 and to present the events and the lives of the Cordillerans under the Japanese Army rule. 

The film boasts of a strong Cordilleran cast including Team Lakay fighters led by coach Mark Sangiao and calisthenics group Bardilleranz who play the role of Igorot guerillas at the time; radio personality Peter Wasing who plays a Japanese Army officer, who is essentially the villain in the film; and Dexter Jaimee Tampoa who plays a local teacher and the love interest of another Imperial army officer, Filipino-Croation actor Mark Philipp Neumann who is the lone non-Cordilleran in the main cast.

National Artist Kidlat Tahimik will also play a role in the film as one of the lead guerillas.

Sangiao said being a part of the film means so much to him and the rest of the Team Lakay as their characters in the film parallels who they are now as a team of Igorot mixed martial arts warriors. 

“The film resonates with me as I think about what our forefathers did to defend our land from the invasion. It showed their warrior spirit which Team Lakay also shows to the world every time we get into the cage,” he said. 

Co-director Perry De Guzman, the fight director of “Ang Probinsyano,” also lauded Team Lakay for their participation in the film.

“Because they are already natural fighters, it’s easier to direct them during the fight scenes and they have captured the scenes well,” De Guzman said.

With around 15 to 30 shooting days left, the team went through the region, mostly in Baguio and Benguet to shoot the needed scenes according to director of photography Atoy Devera.

Tahimik, who is no stranger to independent film production, meanwhile, challenged the filmmakers to bring out the “kapwa culture” of the locals on to the film.

Floresca said the movie also boasts of an all-original soundtrack coming from the duo “Singing Mineros” who performed the tracks Angin Ya Angep and Ginawang  during the press launching of the film. The film’s language is also mostly Kankana-ey, English and Nihonggo.

De Guzman said they are eyeing to have the film as an entry in various film competitions locally and internationally.

The film is produced under Sine Cordillera and Be Unrivaled Productions.

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