Much has been said about the biggest film of the year but there’s one thing everybody who anticipates the historical feature agree on —it’s a must watch film not only for its scale but for the underlying messages masterfully embedded in every scene and dialogue.
Three years after the critical and box-office success of the historical film Heneral Luna, director Jerrold Tarog returns with its much-awaited follow-up, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral with Paulo Avelino still on board as the titular Gen. Gregorio del Pilar.
Set to be the Philippines’ biggest cinematic epic to date, the coming-of-age story of one of the most revered Filipino heroes of the late 19th century opens in cinemas nationwide on Sept. 5.
Set during the Filipino-American war, the film tells the story of the revolution as it marches on against the Americans after the death of Gen. Antonio Luna. The conflicted philosophies behind the heroic struggle continue and become personified in the colorful character of Gen. Gregorio “Goyo” del Pilar, one of the youngest generals of the Philippine Revolution.
TBA Studios’ executive producers Fernando Ortigas and E.A. Rocha confirm Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral is a much bigger movie compared to Heneral Luna, not only in terms of scope and production, but also in emotion.
“We expect people to get a terrific ebb and flow of emotional reactions that will deal in an indelible memory or experience,” Rocha said. “The Filipino audience can expect a world-standard, a world-class cinema I hope they appreciate and realize that we put out the necessary budget and effort to give the Filipino moviegoers the best film that we think they deserve.”
“We had to give Jerrold his vision. We knew from the beginning that Goyo had to be much bigger than Luna. It is an epic story,” Ortigas said. “As the producers, whatever Jerrold needed for the set, it was there.”
To put to life director Tarog’s vision for Goyo’s story to the big screen, production employed talents and a cast of over 2,000 and built an entire movie set to recreate a late-1800s town in Tarlac. Overall, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral was shot in 60 days in multiple locations like Tarlac, Bataan, Rizal, Batangas, and Ilocos, among others, in a span of eight months, with an extra year spent in pre-production.
When asked why the story of Gregorio del Pilar is important to be told in today’s time, the director has this to say:
“In many ways, yung kwento ni Goyo, para siyang a call to critical thinking. Kinukwestiyon niya yung sarili niya, kinukwestiyon niya kung bakit ginagawa ito. And in a way, ‘yun din ‘yung magiging tanong ng audience kapag lumabas sila ng sinehan,” Jerrold said. “Ano ba talaga yung pinaglaban ni Goyo? Pag-ibig ba? Si Aguinaldo ba? O yung bayan? I think magandang pag-isipan yun nung audience, especially ng kabataan.”
This film also marks TBA Studios’ first movie co-production with Globe Studios. Quark Henares, head of Globe Studios shares, “It’s an honor for Globe Studios to be part of a Jerrold Tarog film. I’m a big fan of Heneral Luna and Jerrold Tarog. Everyone knew there was going to be a follow-up to Heneral Luna so to be part of that is such a blessing.”
Apart from Paulo, Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral boasts of a stellar, all-star cast which includes Gwen Zamora as Remedios Nable Jose, Empress Schuck as Felicidad Aguinaldo, Carlo Aquino as Col. Vicente Enriquez, and Rafa Siguion-Reyna as Col. Julian del Pilar.
Reprising their roles from Heneral Luna are Mon Confiado as Pres. Emilio Aguinaldo, Epy Quizon as Apolinario Mabini, Arron Villaflor as Joven Hernando, Alvin Anson as Gen. Jose Alejandrino, Art Acuña as Manuel Bernal, Ronnie Lazaro as Lt. Pantaleon Garcia, Perla Bautista as Doña Trinidad Aguinaldo, and Benjamin Alves as Lt. Manuel Quezon.
Jojit Lorenzo, Tomas Santos, Carlo Cruz, Perla Bautista, Che Ramos, Matt Evans, RK Bagatsing, Karl Medina, Stephanie Sol, Miguel Faustmann, Jason Dewey, Bret Jackson, Ethan Salvador, and Robert Seña round up the ensemble cast.
Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral is supported by several government agencies from across the country, including the National Council for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Department of Education (DepEd), and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP).
Before Goyo: Ang Batang Heneral opens in theaters next week, Heneral Luna will have a special limited theatrical release in selected cinemas.
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