Jesuit Communications’ (JesCom) highly-anticipated historical film, “GomBurZa”, shifted into high gear in its buildup to the 2023 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) with the staging of its Grand Media Conference last November 13 at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong.
Among those present were online news platforms PhilStar.com, Rappler, and PhilNews, with TV networks represented by ABS-CBN, GMA, and TV5. DZRV 846 (Radyo Veritas) led the Church-based media outlets covering the event, given the film’s emphasis on the integral role Filipino clergy played in the birth of the nation.
Livestreamed via the official GomBurZa Facebook page, the two-hour presser gave audiences and media members a closer look into the historical and cultural significance behind the upcoming motion picture co-produced by MQuest Ventures in cooperation with CMB Film Services.
Eagerly answering questions from the press were GomBurZa stars Mr. Dante Rivero, Cedrick Juan, Enchong Dee, alongside fellow castmates Sheenly Gener, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Tommy Alejandrino, Jaime Fabregas, Ketchup Eusebio, and Elora Españo. Joining the actors on stage were President and CEO of MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., Ms. Jane Basas, JesCom Executive Director Fr. Nono Alfonso, SJ, and GomBurZa Director and co-writer Pepe Diokno.
“We are here today to discuss the biggest historical film of the new decade. This is a landmark film because it shows in dramatic detail how the Filipino nation was born. The three principal characters of this film, Fr. Gomez, Fr.Burgos, and Fr.Zamora, were at the cutting edge of a growing movement of Filipinos seeking liberal reforms in the country in the 1860’s,” relayed Ms.Basas in her opening remarks.
Though a reportedly massive crowd of 40,000 witnessed the gruesome execution of the three priests on the fateful day of February 17, 1872, the significance of the GomBurZa story is unfortunately not well-understood by many Filipinos today. The need to bring their story to life on the big screen prompted Basas and MediaQuest to forge a partnership with JesCom and embark on a greater mission that resonates with the heart of every Filipino.
“Kami po ang lumapit sa JesCom (We were the ones who approached JesCom about the project),” Basas admitted. “We hope that this film would help our young people today better understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by our heroes in those difficult times, so that we Filipinos today can work for the betterment of our country with the same spirit and determination. For JesCom and MediaQuest Ventures, as well as CMB Film Services, this is our chance to pay forward and we hope to do more projects like GomBurZa in the future,” she later added.
Originally meant as a tribute to the Philippine Church in celebration of the 500th year of Christianity in the country, GomBurZa’s themes of equality, justice, and patriotism rose to the forefront as political tension and attacks versus truthful communication worsened in recent times.
“It’s important to tell this story, especially in a time of confusion and historical revisionism. Our Philippine Church, embodied by the three priests, played a significant role in the emergence of our nation,” underscored Fr.Nono.
“The film also acts as a social critique. Though the events depicted happened in the 19th century, their lessons still echo to this day. This is our second historical film (after Ignacio de Loyola). And while it is expensive to produce period films, we keep on doing so because history always teaches us something—yet we still fail to learn,” continued GomBurZa’s Executive Producer.
Though he believes that his team was able to “tell an emotionally compelling story” with a realistic approach, director Pepe Diokno believes that “GomBurZa’s” greatest success will be lighting the fire of patriotism in the hearts of audiences come December 25th.
“When people come into the cinema, feel what the priests felt upon their execution, feel what the crowd in Bagumbayan saw, and get inspired—that’s more than enough for me,” expressed the award-winning director.
“If they come out of the theater with tears in their eyes, more in love with the country, na mas buhay ang alab sa puso, that’s more than enough already. I really hope that’s what happens.”
For more news and updates on “GomBurZa”, follow the film’s official Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/GomBurZaFilm