Culion movie shooting day | Culion, Palawan

What to Expect from the MMFF Entry, ‘Culion’ the Movie

With the recent release of Culion’s full trailer, it can’t be deny that it has added excitement, with those who have seen it can’t wait to watch the film.

“Culion” has been creating buzz online from the moment filming was set to begin, to the release of teaser and ad campaign posters, up to the announcement of its inclusion to this year’s MMFF. The historical film has always managed to surprise everyone. It remains one of the most anticipated movies of this quarter, and netizens have been following updates, eager to know more.

But let’s dig through what we have so far. What really is it about the film that excites people?

Here’s a quick rundown of all the film’s juicy bits.

1. An Original Screenplay based on Culion’s Untold Stories

Culion leper colony palawan

“Culion” is a story of a community that lived on an isolated island in Palawan, and it is the very same island today yet the lives of the people who lived there were far different from what we see today.

These people were taken from their homes and sent to Culion to live in isolation and despair because of Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy), which was believed to be highly contagious. Those who acquired the disease were sent to the island, never to return again to their families and loved ones. From then on, their lives would revolve around a secluded community.

The movie aims to bring into the big screen the harrowing stories of these people and the how they lived then. What was the kind of life they had? How did they interact with one another? What was a typical day for them? Viewers can expect the film to focus on the human side of the disease and not the medical aspect.

The story of “Culion” was formed out of the stories of people who once lived on the island whether as a “sano” or “leproso”.

“Kwento siya na pinagtatagpi-tagpi pero galing sa totoong buhay,” the film’s scriptwriter, Ricky Lee said. These are stories that have been forgotten and buried in the crevices of history, and they are about to be told for the first time.

2. Powerful Lines from the Script 

Filipino renowned writer Ricky Lee
Award-winning scriptwriter RIcky Lee | Photo credit: Facebook/RickyLeeOfficial

Since the script was written by no less than the multi-awarded screenplay writer, Mr. Ricky Lee himself, viewers can expect nothing less than the most powerful and piercing lines.

Lee has been synonymous to some of the most memorable lines in Philippine Cinema — “Walang himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao, nasa puso nating lahat!” (Himala); “Walang kakain hangga’t hindi nakukumpleto ang quotang dapat na mahuling isda” (Muro-Ami)

Meme gods and GIF makers rejoice! We may soon have plenty of “hugot” from “Culion” very soon!

3. Superb Cinematography

Culion Alvin Yapan Neil Daza
Culion Director Alvin Yapan and Cinematographer Neil Daza looking at the scene on the screen

The art of filmmaking isn’t just all about the actors playing their roles and delivering their lines. More than anything, it’s also about how the scenes are framed and shot. After all, the first step in telling a story is capturing it correctly, and this is where cinematography comes into play.

For a period film like “Culion”, the key is to bring out the vintage “feels” of the movie. And aside from having a legendary scriptwriter, and acclaimed director, “Culion” also boasts of Master Cinematographer Neil Daza to help visualize everything on screen.

4. Heavy Drama

Culion Movie #BreaktheStigma

Since the film focuses on the struggles that the people of Culion experienced in the past, we can expect intense drama in most of its scenes. As evident in the recently released full trailer of the film, “Culion” is a tearjerker.

Expect the film to be intricately layered with emotions in their rawest and deepest form. And all thanks to Alvin Yapan —the film’s genius of a director, the powercast and ensemble were able to deliver every scene with accuracy. Yapan had to read the entire script to understand Lee’s narrative style, and interpret every line from the script to motivate each actor into giving their best dramatic performance for the film.

5. A Legion of Talented Actors and Actresses

Culion movie, MMFF 2019, Iza Calzado, Jasmine Curtis Smith, Meryll Soriano
Iza Calzado as Anna, Jasmine Curtis-Smith as Doris, and Meryll Soriano as Ditas in ‘Culion’

Director Alvin Yapan had to work with quite a number of actors to bring into life the former leper community on the silver screen, and each one of them has a vital role in establishing this epic story. Some of the cast are already household names like Iza Calzado, Meryll Soriano, Jasmine Curtis Smith, Joem Bascon, Suzette Ranillo and John Lloyd Cruz, while some are yet to make their mark in the industry. But regardless of who they are, each actor has shown their exemplary acting skills throughout the movie. It is also important to note that there are many new faces to watch out for in this movie. Be sure to remember their names because they might be the next big thing in the entertainment industry.

These are just some of the highlights that we have to look forward to from the MMFF entry, “Culion”. And, to top it all off, this film is also produced by none other than the controversial and brilliant producer, Shandii Bacolod herself and iOptions Ventures Corp. So, it goes without saying that this is definitely a film to watch out for. As an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival, “Culion” will be shown in cinemas nationwide on Christmas Day.

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