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Let’s watch and play ‘Patintero’

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MENTORED BY – First-time director Mihk Vergara says he and more established Dan Villegas were mentored by the late Marilou Diaz Abaya in filmmaking at the Ateneo de Manila. “We were fortunate as it was the last time she taught at Ateneo.”

After which direk Marilou put up a film school in Tagaytay, where Mihk and Dan lectured every now and then. Before the lady director died, she asked Malou Santos of Star Cinema to continue running the school. Wonder whatever happened to it?

Yes, Mihk concedes that his Ateneo classmate Dan is way, way ahead of him, making one hit after the other in tandem with sweetheart Antoinette Jadaone. But Dan is very supportive of Mihk, co-producing his directorial debut, “Patintero: Ang Alamat ni Meng Patalo,” which opens Oct. 5 nationwide.

ENHANCED – Actually, “Patintero” was already shown at last year’s QCinema Film Festival to wide acclaim, winning the Audience Choice and Gender Sensitivity Awards. But the version showing next week is more enhanced, bigger and better and exciting. “Patintero” is heavily inspired by Mihk’s love for Japanese anime, comic books, and sports movies.

Mihk shares: “We didn’t change the story. It’s still the same narrative that people loved from the QCinema version.

What we found out is that kids responded really well to the movie. So what we did was to make it more palatable to them by adding more action scenes and anime-inspired graphics.”

But as the film reaches its end, action gives way to family drama, which is better watched than written about.

POSITIVE THEME & ‘PATINTERO’ – More on the movie, written by Zig Marasigan, another noted name in indie cinema.

Produced by TBA (Tuko Films, Buchi Boy Entertainment, Artikulo Uno Productions), the same behind last year’s critical and box-office hit “Heneral Luna.” “Patintero” is a fun, family-oriented film about a young girl, who learns to overcome life’s challenges through the help of her friends. Rife with coming-of-age themes of friendship, teamwork, and sportsmanship, the film also carries strong anti-bullying message.

Aside from its positive theme, the film also aims to reintroduce patintero and other Filipino games to a younger, more technology-inclined generation.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to create an entertaining film. But we’re [also] hoping that through this movie, we can start a movement for kids to go out and play. If not, then at least we hope to create awareness that we, (their parents and older siblings), once played these games,” Vergara notes.

“Patintero” boasts of a talented young cast led by Nafa Hilario Cruz (Meng), Isabel ‘Lenlen’ Frial (Nicay), William Buenavente (Shify), and Claude Adrales (Z-Boy). Katya Santos and Suzette Ranillo complete the lead cast.

Catch the cast of “Patintero” as they share games and surprises at various malls around the metro, on Oct. 2, Sunday, the kids and comic book illustrators Rob Cham, Arnold Arre, Carlorozy Clemente, and Mich Cervantes will be at SM North EDSA to promote the “Patintero: Mga Alamat ng Patalo” comic book. Later that afternoon, the cast will be at SM Fairview for a grand patintero tournament. Kids from ages 9-12 years old are encouraged to join.

The film will have its red carpet premiere today, Oct. 1, Saturday, at SM Megamall. Top celebrity families and stars from TBA films such as “Heneral Luna,” “Smaller and Smaller Circles,” “1-2-3,” and more are expected to attend this fun, family-day event.

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