“There’s no such thing as a winnable war. It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore,” states in Sting’s iconic anti-Cold War anthem “Russians,” which features a majestic score that haunts and resonates with us until today.
Now, giving a cinematic spin to a modern-day historic war actuality is Burracho Films, with Atty. Ferdinand Topacio as its maverick. The film outfit gives a green light to Mamasapano, written by award-winning screenplay writer Eric Ramos and with Law Fajardo, as its director.
“This movie offers a synthesis of the whole incident, based on the findings of the PNP (Philippine National Police) inquiry board led by then Police Gen. Benjamin Magalong, who’s now mayor of Baguio City, as well as the House minority report and the Senate inquiry. This is the most difficult script I’ve ever written in my life,” Ramos says.
Shooting happens soon in Batangas and Cavite. Producer Topacio shares, “60 pieces of military uniforms and secured some guns and explosives that we will be using for the battle scenes. We just received word that the SAF (Special Action Force) has granted us permission to use its insignia and name on the uniforms so that they’ll look authentic.”
Topacio assures that they would follow all safety protocols during the shoot.
“Also, the cast and crew all have health insurance. The entire team will be housed in a resort with 14 cottages with four-star accommodations,” he shares.
More than “economics,” lead stars Aljur Abrenica and JC de Vera declare the major reason why they agreed to be part of the film.
“It’s a story that needs to be told. It’s a meaningful film, “Abrenica avers. “The soldiers who were part of it must be remembered as heroes. I don’t want their sacrifices na parang mentioned lang in a book. What they did must not be trivialized. You know, we all get to sleep peacefully at night because these soldiers are doing their vocation.”
“I’m ready for anything, just so I can get back to work. The new system in filming excites me, too, especially when the details about what’s going to happen on set were explained to us,” he carries on.
JC echoes the same sentiment: “When I read the script of Sir Eric, I visualized how it was like to be in the situation…all these soldiers experience. It’s tough. And it has been five years and for most of the families na naiwan, the healing is a continuous process. We sincerely hope that this film gives them some kind of closure and that the people will not forget these brave men.”
Other stars in the movie are Edu Manzano, Ritz Azul, Tonton Gutierrez, and Claudine Barretto.
Burracho Films intends to submit the finished film, with the hope that it will be selected, to the December Metro Manila Film Festival.