‘Katips’ Director Hopes Famas Buzz Will Draw Large Audiences
Two films that have sparked controversy for their contrasting views on Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s regime open in theaters today.
Vincent Tañada’s musical “Katips: Ang Mga Bagong Katipunero” attempts to portray the struggle of activists in the face of martial law repression, while filmmaker Darryl Yap’s “Maid in Malacañang” is set in the final days of the Marcos at the Palace in the context of the Edsa revolution of 1986.
“Katips,” which had 17 nominations for awards from the Philippine Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Famas), scooped seven trophies at the Famas ceremony last Saturday – including top prizes for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Tañada, and Best Cinematography for Manuel Abanto.
The musical also won Best Score for Pipo Cifra, Best Original Song for “Sa Gitna ng Dulo” (written by Tañada and Cifra), and Best Supporting Actor for Johnrey Rivas.
“Maid” was not a Famas competitive entry, but the film’s top consultant, Senator Imee Marcos, received the honorary Famas Exemplary Award for Public Service.
After the success of his film’s awards night, Tañada said more theaters have now expressed interest in showing it.
“I must admit that our victory at the Famas helped the film a lot. Now I know there will be people watching it because of the interest it has generated from jurors and organizers,” said the actor-director who also produced his musical and wrote the screenplay and the libretto.
He admitted he felt “extremely stressed” at the awards night at the Metropolitan Theater because Marcos was there.
Tañada said the organizers of the awards ceremony asked her to make sure her companions did not heckle the senator, the older sister of President Marcos Jr.
“I am also a theater teacher. I had asked for…balcony tickets so my students could watch them – all 200,” he recalled. “Senator Imee arrived just before I received the trophy for best director. My students ha[d] clapped and clapped every time ‘Katips’ won [an award]. But when I left the stage, a Famas staff member approached me and said, ‘Can you please ask your audience to leave? This is because Senator Imee’s staff are concerned that the senator will [be] heckled.'”
“I was surprised by the request,” he continued, “but I replied, ‘They are my theater arts students and they mean no harm.’ I was then asked to simply speak [to] that they make sure they don’t yell at the senator when it was time for her to [accept] his price.
“They were so worried that I was approached five times by different Famas staff,” Tañada said. “To be fair, one of them was a civil servant, which I [w]I would say that was the most polite. Can you imagine how stressful that was for me? I understand why they did it, which is why I didn’t get offended.
‘Bashers and Trolls’
The director said he had “received a lot of negative comments from bashers and trolls since I announced that my film would be in competition with ‘Maid in Malacañang'”.
He also had to deny rumors that he was part of the Famas organizing committee and was himself the director of the ceremony.
“Someone posted on social media about my participation in the show last year. A screenshot of the end credits of the 2021 show, with my name as the director underlined, ha[d] were circulating online. Yes, I directed the Famas ceremony last year, but I inhibited myself this year by delicadeza, since my film was nominated,” Tañada said.
“I also swear before we got all these awards, I had no idea…who would win,” he added.
Martial law experience
Asked about the research behind his film, the director, grandson of the late Senator Lorenzo Tañada, said: “People questioned me when I said I was a victim of martial law because…I am too young. I’m 48 now. I was… in my formative years during martial law. [But] you’re a victim too, if you saw your grandfather being incarcerated.
“They said we were NPAs. Yes we were. We had no permanent address. We continued to transfer houses because we were afraid. This kind of life was difficult for a child. I may not personally have suffered torture or incarceration, I may be too young to participate in rallies in the streets, but I was truly a victim,” he added.
Tañada, who is also a lawyer, said he was “emotionally invested” in the film because he represented the 1081 claimants, a group of martial law victims who went after Marcos’ ill-gotten riches in front of the courts. courts.
“I spoke with Hilda Narciso, an inmate [who was] repeatedly raped while in detention. I have spoken with many women like her. You can’t say they’re lying because they unwittingly corroborate other people’s stories. I included their stories in my film but changed their names. It’s a multi-character, multi-plot kind of movie,” he said.
Tañada admitted that he wanted his film to be screened on the same opening day of “Malacañang”.
“Also, other Hollywood films will be released in the coming weeks. I thought it was better to fight with another locally produced film. At least we have a fighting chance,” he said. he declares.
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