Historical film ‘Ignacio de Loyola’ takes pride as a Filipino production

An inspiring epic film has been made about the amazing life of Ignacio de Loyola better known as St. Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus. The movie entitled Ignacio de Loyola chronicles Ignatius’ transformation from a brash young soldier to a man of God. It is a production by the Jesuit Communications Foundation (JesCom), the media arm of the Philippine Jesuit Province and co-presented by the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and One Meralco Foundation. “Ignacio de Loyola” was shot on location in Spain, the home country of St. Ignatius.

In the cast are Spanish stars Javier Godino who starred in the Oscar Best Foreign Film El Secreto de Sus Ojos, Isabel Garcia Lorca of Desperately Seeking Susan (that starred Madonna), Pepe Ocio of the film Camino and Julio Perillan of Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Twenty six-year old Spanish heartthrob Andreas Muñoz plays Ignacio de Loyola. Director Paolo Dy was so thrilled to be working with a stellar cast. “There were days during the shoot when I would tell myself that I must be the luckiest director in the world to be working with such a high-quality cast… I am so happy that they were able to bring so much life to the film. I don’t hesitate to say that they brought so much magic to their roles.”

Topnotch filmmakers comprise the Filipino production team. Director Paolo Dy has made short films that have received praise in the US. Also in the crew are award-winning cinematographer Lee Briones Meily and award-winning sound engineer Mike Idioma. No less than acclaimed musician Ryan Cayabyab composed the musical score performed by the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ateneo Chamber Singers.

Although an independent production, the design of the film is first-rate. Meticulous research and careful crafting were employed in making the costumes and sets. More than 400 period costumes were used and these were all sewn by first- time costume designer Juvan Bermil and his team. Additional costumes were created by designer James Reyes. It took the production design group headed by Leo Velasco, Jr. six months to make all the sets and props.

Ignacio de Loyola also utilized the latest in CGI, sound mixing and visual balancing to come up with a stunning, world- class film. It is the first Filipino production to use the Cooke Anamorphic/i lenses which give the film a sharp, subtle and smooth look. The Cooke Anamorphic/I lenses that Ignacio de Loyola used was one of only three complete sets that were in existence at the time of filming.

Last June, the first cut, work-in-progress version was unveiled to a group of religious in the Vatican. The special screening was attended by the members of the Secretariat for Vatican Communications as well as Catholic Media. Also in the audience were the Jesuit General Rev. Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, the Superior General of Saint Paul de Chartres and his council, and Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ of the Roman Jesuit publication La Civita Cattolica who said, “I like this film so much… It is very well done. Thank you for your work!”

For Fr. Emmanuel “Nono” Alfonso SJ, head of JesCom and executive producer of Ignacio de Loyola, completing the film and showing it for theatrical release is a big blessing. He says, “When we started this project more than five years ago, we didn’t know the magnitude of the film. We were naïve! And ambitious!” he chuckles. “But support poured in and many continue to help us: friends, donors, benefactors, Jesuits from different parts of the world… all of them believe in the film’s message about change, forgiveness and the love of God.”

“Ignacio de Loyola” opens in Philippine cinemas on July 27, 2016. For updates, check out facebook.com/ignaciomovie and follow ignaciomovie on Twitter and Instagram. You may also check film’s official website: http://www.ignaciomovie.com

WATCH: First trailer for ‘Wonder Woman’ deals with superhero’s fascinating origin

“Wonder Woman” hits movie theaters around the world June 2017 when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Below is the film’s first trailer which was unveiled during the Comic-Con panel Saturday.

“Wonder Woman” marks the character’s first time headlining a feature.

Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.

The film also stars Chris Pine as Captain Steve Trevor, Robin Wright Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Ewen Bremner, Saïd Taghmaoui, Elena Anaya and Lucy Davis.

“Wonder Woman” is based on characters created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

Set to open in the Philippines in June 2017, “Wonder Woman” will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

Cinemalaya 2016 opens with free screening of Carlo Obispo’s ‘1-2-3’

Carlo Obispo’s “1-2-3” has been officially selected as the opening film for this year’s Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, happening on August 5-14 at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. The film will have its gala premiere on August 5 right after the Cinemalaya opening ceremonies.

READ MORE: GUIDE: Cinemalaya 2016

Produced by the makers of “Heneral Luna”, TBA (Tuko Film Productions, Buchi Boy Entertainment, and Artikulo Uno Productions), “1-2-3” explores the harrowing tale of human trafficking in the country. In its lead is Carlos Dala as Luis, a teenage boy from the idyllic fishing village of Silag. He goes through the issues of adolescence with his younger sister, Lulu, who busies herself by joining amateur singing contests in hopes of becoming a star. A talent manager soon discovers her singing and offers her to undergo vocal coaching in Manila, and later to join a popular TV singing contest. Lulu eagerly takes the opportunity and leaves for the city, thinking her dreams are finally coming true. However, after a few months, Lulu’s family loses communication with her. This drives Luis to go to Manila to find and save his sister.

Rounding up its young cast are award-winning actresses Barbara Miguel and Therese Malvar.

1-2-3 Cinemalaya movie Carlos Dala

Obispo, a native of Tarlac and a graduate from Saint Louis University, debuted in Cinemalaya 2013 with his first full-length feature, “Purok 7”, a dramedy that follows the lives of the children of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) who is facing death sentence in China. The film gained local and international recognition, including Best Full-Length Feature at the Lucas Children’s Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany.

Aside from helming “1-2-3”, Obispo also wrote the screenplay for the film. As a storyteller, he admitted he likes to make films that voice out the feelings and thoughts of the marginalized and oppressed that would have never been told in Philippine mainstream cinema.

Social media addicts vie for top spot in thriller film ‘Nerve’

Voyeurism is at its peak in this year’s most awaited movie on social media and the virtual reality people live today in “Nerve” starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco.

A shy, high school girl Vee (Roberts) is suddenly catapulted into the limelight when she breaks out of her comfort zone and impulsively signs up for Nerve, an adrenaline-fueled competition that streams live over the internet. Young thrill-seekers challenge each other to a series of dares that rapidly escalate from mildly embarrassing to downright deadly, as an anonymous community of “watchers” instigates the action.

Parallel to the virtual reality the world lives in today, “Nerve” boldly introduces the effects of social media addiction disorder – a situation in which a user becomes so obsessed with social media that they spend an inordinate amount of time watching and playing on preferred social site. As Vee is partnered with a mysterious stranger, Ian (Franco), their instant chemistry makes them online stars and fan favorites. As the night wears on, though, Vee alienates her longtime friends and puts her life on the line in pursuit of money and celebrity.

High on her success, Vee’s social media addiction disorder reflects on her growing number of friends online – as per experts, the average number of friends per user is about 250 as opposed to having thousands of “friends” which can be considered as strangers. Additionally, such disorder is accompanied with logging into your page the first thing in the morning, checking it just before sleeping, constantly updating your profile or status to get “likes” and comments, and fretting about how many “likes” or “comments” the photos you post are generating.

As Vee comfortably lives her newfound fame, who suddenly became the high-octane Cinderella, her life is at the same time being ripped apart. Making a discovery about Ian’s past, Vee finds her family’s future at risk as the tension mounts and the stakes rise, Vee must ultimately choose to win or lose to life or death.

Roberts says she thinks twice now when she uses Instagram, Twitter—or even email. “Nothing’s ever truly private. I think this movie taps into that feeling. Whatever you post can potentially be seen by anyone, whether you want it to be or not.”

Each game of Nerve lasts only 24 hours; then a winner is declared and it moves on to the next challengers. “The movie asks the audience the same question Vee asks herself,” says director Schulman. “Are you a watcher or a player? Not just in the game of Nerve, but in life itself. Vee has played it safe her whole life, but Nerve pushes her to take chances, which can be very dangerous. If you play, you may get hurt, or you may win and become a celebrity and make a lot of money. You can take the safe road, or you can take the risk. It’s all up to you.”

Produced by Allison Shearmur, p.g.a. the one behind the young adult blockbuster “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and directed by duo thrill makers Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman who also helmed “Catfish” and “Paranormal Activity 3,” “Nerve” is an action-packed urban adventure based on the popular novel by Jeanne Ryan.

Be a part of this year’s life-changing game when “Nerve” opens July 27, 2016 nationwide in cinemas from Pioneer Films.

Untitled ‘Blade Runner’ sequel unveils first-look concept art

Columbia Pictures has just revealed the first-look concept art for its Untitled Blade Runner Sequel starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

Denis Villeneuve (“Sicario,” “Prisoners”) is directing and principal photography is scheduled to begin this month. The film will be released by Warner Bros. in North America and Sony Pictures Releasing International will distribute in all media for all overseas territories.

“I’ve always been attracted to science-fiction films with strong visual signatures that lead us into unique parallel worlds and the original ‘Blade Runner’ is by far the best of all time,” said Villanueve in a statement. “Ridley Scott had the genius to blend science-fiction and film noir to create this unique exploration of human condition. The new ‘Blade Runner’ is an extension of the first movie a few decades later.”

The sequel is set several decades after the 1982 original, with Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role as Rick Deckard. The film is written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and succeeds the initial story by Fancher and David Peoples based on Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Story details are not being revealed.

Cast includes: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Carla Juri, Mackenzie Davis, Barkhad Abdi and Dave Bautista, David Dastmalchian and Hiam Abbass.

Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. Ridley Scott will also executive produce. Bill Carraro will executive produce.

The Untitled Blade Runner Sequel will be distributed in the Philippines by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.

‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ director Gavin Hood helms thriller film ‘Eye in the Sky’

Acclaimed filmmaker Gavin Hood, known for his works in worldwide hits ““X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” “Tsotsi” and “Ender’s Game” brings together Award-winning actors Helen Mirren (Oscar® and Golden Globe Award® for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in “The Queen”) and three-time Emmy Award winner Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) in the contemporary international thriller “Eye in the Sky.”

Set in the modern yet shadowy world of remotely piloted drone warfare, “Eye in the Sky” boards a top-flight ensemble cast that also includes Alan Rickman, Jeremy Northam, Iain Glen and Phoebe Fox, the film deftly explores a political, legal and moral minefield in which every decision comes at a steep price.

“Eye in the Sky” brings Helen Mirren in the midst of complicated mission as she plays UK Colonel Katherine Powell who is tracking a British national, Susan Danford (Lex King), suspected of working with the East African terrorist group Al-Shabaab. The operation is a complex and coordinated effort between different countries. On the ground, Kenyan intelligence operatives, like Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi), keep an eye on the suspects. From the air, US Air Force pilots, like Lt. Steve Watts (Paul), remotely fly drones from a Nevada bunker to provide an eye in the sky. In London, Powell coordinates these various forces, as well as communicates to a panel of government officials above her. Her supervisor, Lieutenant General Frank Benson (Rickman), observes the operation remotely with a select group tasked with providing judicial and government oversight. UK Attorney General George Matherson (McCabe) adjudicates the legality of the unfolding operation, while Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Brian Woodale (Northam) and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Angela Northam (Monica Dolan) oversee the optics and ethics of the mission. Together, these figures form the ‘kill chain’, an attack structure that co-ordinates target identification and the specific force dispatched to remove the target.

Following His 2007 film “Rendition,” director Gavin Hood returns to the realm of contemporary warfare with the tense thriller “Eye in the Sky.” The decision to destroy the targets is further complicated by the problem of collateral damage, which again has to be measured from afar. “Guy’s script created a very complex scenario,” continues filmmaker Gavin Hood, a South African filmmaker who counts the likes of “Ender’s Game” (2013), “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009) and “Tsotsi” (2005) among his directing credits. “The script is informative in the way that it sets up the landscape, the chain of command and the way modern drone warfare is used.

The collateral damage caused by a drone strike extends beyond potential human casualties. The killing of civilians, even accidentally, has a profound impact on the propaganda war. “That is a very important conversation,” says Hood. “Are drone strikes, which inevitably do result in civilian casualties, actually generating so much anti-Western sentiment that whatever success they may have in taking out a high-value individual, is offset by a growing animosity for the West? That’s a propaganda question. In war, propaganda is an extremely important tool. Are we creating negative propaganda towards the West through the use of drones?

“I think the film asks whether we really are winning when using this form of warfare. Are we really winning when using these drones? When should we use this technology? What are the consequences of using this technology? Come and see this movie and you can decide for yourself.”

“Eye in the Sky” opened July 20, 2016 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.

Discover ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ when you’re not home

Ever wonder what your pets do when you’re not around?

For their fifth fully animated feature-film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present “The Secret Life of Pets,” a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

Comedy superstars Louis C.K. (TV’s “Louie”), Eric Stonestreet (TV’s “Modern Family”) and Kevin Hart (“Central Intelligence”) make their animated feature-film debuts as Max, Duke and Snowball in “The Secret Life of Pets,” which co-stars Jenny Slate (“Zootopia”) as Gidget, Ellie Kemper (“Bridesmaids”) as Katie, Lake Bell (TV’s “Children’s Hospital”) as Chloe, Dana Carvey (“First Impressions”) as Pops, Hannibal Buress (“Neighbors”) as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) as Mel, Steve Coogan (“Minions”) as Ozone and Albert Brooks (“Finding Dory”) as Tiberius.

For one bustling Manhattan apartment building, the real day starts after the folks on two legs leave for work and school. That’s when the pets of every stripe, fur and feather begin their own nine-to-five routine: hanging out with each other, trading humiliating stories about their owners, auditioning adorable looks to get better snacks and watching Animal Planet like it is reality TV.

The building’s top dog, Max (C.K.), a quick-witted Terrier rescue who’s convinced he sits at the center of owner Katie’s (Kemper) universe, finds his pampered life turned upside down when she brings home Duke (Stonestreet), a sloppy, massive mess of a mongrel with zero interpersonal skills. When this reluctant canine duo finds themselves out on the mean streets of New York, they have to set aside their differences and unite against a fluffy, yet cunning, bunny named Snowball (Hart), who’s building an army of pets who’ve been abandoned by their owners and are out to turn the tables on humanity…all this and making it home before Katie returns at dinnertime.

Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy—who together have produced the beloved films of the “Despicable Me” franchise, as well as the blockbusters “Minions” and “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax”—produce the comedy that is directed by Chris Renaud, co-directed by Yarrow Cheney and written by Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio and Brian Lynch.

Opening across the Philippines on August 24, 2016, “The Secret Life of Pets” is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.