Jesuit Communications (JesCom), the media arm of the Philippine province of the Society of Jesus, has announced that they have begun work on “GomBurZa,” a new film based on the lives of Catholic priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora who were executed by Spanish authorities through garrote on February 17, 1872; the three were falsely accused of treason.
“GomBurZa” is JesCom’s second major motion picture after 2016’s acclaimed “Ignacio de Loyola,” the biopic of Society of Jesus founder St. Ignatius of Loyola.
JesCom Executive Director Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, SJ, and JesCom Creative Director Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin have assembled a topnotch team to give life to “GomBurZa.” They include Venice International Film Festival Orrizonti Prize director Pepe Diokno, celebrated screenwriter Rody Vera and award-winning cinematographer Carlo Mendoza and award-winning production designer Ericson Navarro.
The endeavor is JesCom’s contribution to the Filipino Catholic Church that marked its quincentenary in 2021. Fr. Alfonso explains, “In many places, Christianity failed to bloom. But here in the Philippines, the Christian faith grew and is now giving back to the Church all over the world. Five hundred years, therefore, is a big deal… As ‘Ignacio’ was JesCom’s gift to the Jesuits, ‘GomBurZa’ is our gift to the Philippine Church and all patriotic Filipinos.”
JesCom’s “GomBurZa” will also highlight the impact of the three priests on the country’s political history. “Their martyrdom in the 19th century inspired many of our heroes, including Jose Rizal,” Fr. Alfonso says of GomBurZa. “Without a doubt, the Church has been part of the emergence of the Philippine nation,” he points out.
With 30-something Pepe Diokno at the helm of the movie, the story of Fathers Gomez, Burgos and Zamora will have a new and youthful approach. Fr. Alfonso says, “We want our film to speak to the young and to the world they live in today. It is only right then that they lead us in this project. Scripture says, ‘Your young men will see vision.’ We are excited to discover and be amazed by those visions.”
For these reasons, Diokno was a right fit. Saltarin expounds, “We are impressed with Pepe’s achievements and his vision. Since the execution of the three priests happened 150 years ago, it will be quite a challenge to make it relevant today. We would like the story to be relatable to our young audience and we are confident Pepe and the rest of the team will be able make an excellent film, one that will make a lasting impact on the Filipino audience.”
For details and updates about “GomBurza,” like the Jesuit Communications Facebook page or visit jescom.ph.