By Nimfa U. Rueda
LOS ANGELES – On Aug. 31, National Heroes’ Day in the Philippines, a special movie screening here will give Filipino-Americans a peek into the life of a Filipino hero who fought for the country’s independence from the United States.
“Heneral Luna,” directed by Cinemalaya 2013 Directors Showcase Best Director Jerrold Tarog, will be screened at the Krikorian Theater in Monrovia, California, before its wide release in the Philippines next month and in the US in October.
“We want to create a buzz for our kababayans back home that they have to see this movie, over any other movie,” said Fil-Am artist Eliseo Art Silva, co-producer of the Los Angeles screening.
Silva, best known for creating the famous Los Angeles Filipinotown mural that depicts Filipino and Fil-Am heroes, said he was inspired by the rave reviews received by the film.
“In this day and age, romantic comedies and Hollywood superhero flicks tend to lord it over in the box office, which is why releasing a historic film like Heneral Luna is a big gamble,” he said. “I’m very happy that it’s paying off.”
The movie was first screened in New York City on July 25 at the Asian American International Film Festival in Village East, ahead of its scheduled wide release on September 9 in the Philippines and in commercial theaters in the US mid-October.
The movie’s advance screening in the US is considered historic. Not since 1936’s “Zamboanga” has a Philippine-made feature film with Filipino stars screened first in the US.
Set during the Philippine-American war in 1898, the film is about General Antonio Luna (John Arcilla), commander of the revolutionary army who faced an enemy more formidable than the American army: his own treacherous countrymen.
General Luna wanted to fight for freedom but members of the elite would rather strike a deal with the United States.
Arthur Probadora de la Rosa, co-producer of the Aug. 31 screening, said the event will be a great opportunity for Fil-Ams, especially the younger generation, to learn about Filipino heroes and Philippine history.
The audience will get a chance to ask historian Oscar Penaranda, a professor at San Francisco State University, about the movie and the role of General Luna in Philippine history. The film is rated PG-13.
The Krikorian Monrovia Cinema is located at 419 South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia, California. The event will start at 6:30 p.m.