The partnership of One Meralco Foundation (OMF) and Jesuit Communications’ (JesCom) brings JesCom’s biggest project into fruition—to bring the life story of St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Society of Jesus) to a wider audience via a full-length feature film entitled “Ignacio de Loyola.” OMF is the social responsibility arm of Meralco, and JesCom is the media arm of the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus; their collaboration brings forward both organizations’ thrust to uplift and bring light to Filipino’s lives, this time via a wide-reaching medium that conveys messages of hope and love. The film chronicles the conversion of young soldier Inigo de Loyola from a man of vice and violence to a man of God. “Ignacio de Loyola” is the first Filipino film screened at the Vatican in Rome. “Ignacio de Loyola” opens in Philippine theaters on July 27. Photo shows Meralco President and CEO Oscar S. Reyes, JesCom Executive Director Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso SJ, and One Meralco Foundation President Jeffrey Tarayao at the MOA signing.
Paolo Dy’s Sinner Movie
Andreas Muñoz’s Wolf
Speech of Fr. Nono Alfonso SJ
I have been asked three important questions concerning this ambitious film project.
First, Is it really necessary or is there really a need for it? Or is JesCom just bored or worse, just being whimsical? Did we just wake up one morning and said, enough of our TV shows, let’s aim for the stars. Let’s do something that would make us famous or popular. St. Ignatius tells us that the Jesuit goes where there is the greater need. That applies to this project and every project that JesCom does. For the past many years, our schools have been bugging us about new materials on the life of our founder Ignatius of Loyola. Apparently what is being shown in freshmen orientation days is a 1949 black and white Spanish but dubbed in English film. How sad and ironic especially in this so-called digital age. And during the time of the first Jesuit pope Pope Francis. There are existing docu-dramas on the life of Ignatius from the US but these are not feature films—being talkies, they do not seem to appeal to the young. It is therefore very clear to us, friends, why we are doing this film. The inspiring story of Ignatius must be retold again to our time and especially for our youth.
Second, why this medium? Why a film? What can it do, what impact can it have? To this set of questions, I say, Thank God for Heneral Luna. Talk of impact of a film, not only has the film earned more than 240 million pesos, but it has revived interest in history not just in schools but more importantly the general public. Even today, after almost a month of its release, radio and TV shows are still talking about the film and letting it mirror the sad plight of our country. Bayan o Sarili, Heneral Luna’s quote in the movie has now been tweeted, quoted a thousand times. On a personal note, I became a Jesuit because of many inspirations—admittedly, unabashedly, I was inspired by two movies involving Jesuits—THE MISSION and ROMERO. I am sure you can also relate to that. I am sure movies have inspired your life. That is why there are classics like the TEN COMMANDMENTS, Jesus of Nazareth or on a secular note, STAR WARS, ET, etc. Movies have that power upon us. Stories inspire us, Visuals and visions change us. We learned that from Jesus himself, the greatest of communicators, the very WORD of GOD. He simply told us parables and stories and shared with us the wonderful vision of the Kingdom of God, and yet a faith , a Church, a holy people has followed him because of that. People say we would rather give to construction of buildings because they tend to last; but movies, stories. ideas endure forever.
Finally, can you do it? P50 million is not a joke! The most expensive project we have ever done was with Marilou diaz abaya, a telemovie entitled Maging akin muli which cost us P5 million. But P50 million, wow!!! What a leap! But naively perhaps, I have faith in God’s people. First, there is our production people—actors, writers, directors, they have agreed to work on a very tight budget—God bless them all for their generosity. Secondly, there are the initial donors and benefactors who believed in our cause, who believe that we need to have quality films, religious films to educate the public and inspire the world, hopefully after today, there can be more. Finally, there is God. This is really a leap of faith for us, but since we started, despite the bumps on the road, we can feel God’s hand guiding us. We have many stories about God’s providence. Too many to share now but I do believe that that hand has brought you to us. Please help us. Please join us. Please join Ignacio.
Fr. Nono Alfonso,SJ
REMARKS FROM DIRECTOR PAOLO DY
Good afternoon everyone. I’m very happy to see so many of you who have taken the time to talk about IGNACIO DE LOYOLA with us here today. We’re honored and humbled by your presence.
I’m particularly glad that we have this opportunity, because this movie is not easy to talk about in a quick, short-cut manner. It doesn’t fit well into easily-understood genres like romance, comedy, horror. It’s not strictly an action film nor a historical film. And it’s definitely not what you would call a typical ‘religious’ film either.
Is it a saint film? I like to say it’s a sinner film. It’s a very human, very emotional take on the struggle of a man who had tremendous dreams, but was forced to abandon them and find another way to happiness. It’s about his mistaken notions, his stumbles, his awkward attempts to transform himself, to break away from the pain of his troubled childhood and the violence of his past.
It was a struggle that nearly destroyed him, and in overcoming it, he discovered an idea — a revelation that became the bedrock of the Jesuit Order that he founded, and continues to transform the lives of people to this very day.
In the end, Ignacio is everything wrong and everything right about each one of us: the vanity, the envy, the lecherousness and violence, the anger and pride and disdain. But also the hope, the capacity to change, the imagination to dream about things beyond what most people dare… the wisdom and humility to understand, even with extreme reluctance, that your life is not within your control — but it is in good hands.
And so I urge you to speak with as many of these remarkable people here as you can — my producers, my cast and crew, my amazing, wonderful, beautiful team. In making this film, each of them has gone through incredible struggles that parallel that of Ignacio de Loyola himself. Each of them has bled, has suffered, and has had to place incredible faith in the notion that we were being led, that we would in fact reach a finish line that many times looked too far away to ever reach. They all have sacrificed so much to bring this story to you, and for that I honor them, and will forever be grateful for the work of their hands, their minds, and their hearts.
Once again I thank you for gracing us with your presence today, and I hope to see you at the premiere of IGNACIO DE LOYOLA.
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