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To oppose or to expose? The Real Score Behind ‘Katips: The Movie’

The reality has sides but not exposed sensibly. Maybe, the films of today can do that cleverly.

As people battle for their ‘truth’ behind the Martial Law and the Marcoses, two feuding movies set during the elder Marcos era will hit the cinemas this August 3, offering contrasting viewpoints during this much-debated period.

Both controversial director Darryl Yap’s Maid in Malacañang and award-winning filmmaker Atty. Vince Tañada’s Katips: The Movie will be shown in local cinemas on the same day. One tells the story of the Marcoses’ last 72 hours in Malacañang according to the Marcos family’s narrative, while one recounts stories from the perspective of young Filipinos caught in a political conflict.

While Maid in Malacañang made headlines in July following the release of its trailer, with many decrying its alleged mistaken portrayal of the facts including the scene where a woman in yellow, apparently President Cory Aquino, instructs someone in the phone to get the Marcoses out of the Philippines, netizens are now tacitly pitting Yap’s movie against the multi-awarded Katips: The Movie which also dropped its trailer this week.

Although it was supposed to be shown last June, the plan did not push through as it was shown in Singapore during the World Film Carnival where it won Best Picture.

Katips, according to lawyer and award-winning director Tañada, is not a political film, though it explores the story of ordinary people living in a time of political turmoil. The story line allows viewers to revisit the history of the Philippines during the Martial Law era, breathing life into the struggles of student activists and martyrs and includes the nostalgia of the times as witnessed firsthand by its writer and director.

A studied narrative, confident of truth

In an interview, Tañada revealed that Katips is a narrative of the youth in their fight for their ideals, inspired by the peace and love that would sprout amid struggles of conviction during a time of oppression of freedom.

“This is a tale of the young, in their fight for their ideals, [and] how big can one get against a force too much bigger than [themselves],” he said in a social media post.

Though seemingly political, Tañada assured that the film has no political agenda as it neither has actors playing Cory Aquino or Ferdinand Marcos, Sr.; rather, it is “a means of revealing the truth in the Philippine history.” The whole production was guided, in fact, by some notable historians to ensure justice and accuracy of the events during the Martial Law period.

“This is about the truth, and nobody can invalidate my personal experience as a victim of martial law,” Tañada said.

Moreover, he highlighted that the movie is an emphasis of truth, looking back on his experience as the grandson of former senator Lorenzo Tañada, a staunch human rights defender who was put behind bars after resisting the many tyrannies in the 1970s.

From a stage play to big screen nominations

The film, which was first screened on November 27 and December 3, 2021 was an adaptation from the 2016 stage musical play Katips: Ang Mga Bagong Katipuneros.

With the creative and incomparable passion for the production, the movie is up for 17 nominations at the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards (FAMAS), the same body which will award Senator Imee Marcos for Exemplary Award on Public Service.

Katips is nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Musical Score, Best Original Song (Manhid), Best Original Song (Sa Gitna Ng Gulo), Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects.

Individually, it was nominated for Best Director, Best Actor (Vince Tañada), Best Actor (Jerome Ponce), Best Actress (Nicole Laurel), Best Supporting Actor (Mon Confiado and Johnrey Rivas), and Best Supporting Actress (Adelle Ibarrientos-Lim).

The 70th FAMAS Annual Awards Night will take place today, July 30 at the Metropolitan Theater.

Who to watch for

The movie will star Tañada himself, Jerome Ponce, Mon Confiado, Johnrey Rivas, Lou Veloso, Nicole Laurel Asensio, Adelle Ibarrientos, Joshua Bulot, Vean Olmedo, Dexter Doria, Lou Veloso, OJ Arci, Dindo Arroyo, Afi Africa, Patricia Ismael, Chris Lin, and other known artists in the Philippine film industry, together with an ensemble of film and musical theater actors of the Philippine Stagers Foundation.

Behind the direction of photography is Manuel Abanto, production design by Roland Rubenecia, music by Pipo Cifra, and editing by Mark Jason Sugcang.


Tañada, despite the competition between the rival film, said he is still hopeful that the said movies should help make the big screen patronized again in the rising interest for digital platforms.

Considering the tight competition, he bravely exclaimed that production team is positive about the end result of the movie showing as they brought out the life the simple people, in which more Filipinos could relate.

“Hindi kami takot sa kalalabasan ng pelikula namin dahil simple lang ang kuwento nito - tungkol sa mga simpleng tao na nabubuhay noon."

The darkest became visible when lighted. May we be enlighted not by the light of a lamp that gets dim as time pass due to limited oil, rather a light of truth fueled by overflowing real experiences.


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