Director Jun Lana says his film Anino sa Likod ng Buwan has yet to be rated by the MTRCB.
"Actually, we haven't submitted the film to MTRCB [Movie and Television Review and Classification Board] for review," he revealed to PEP.ph during the October 23 Philippine premiere of his movie.
It was screened in its integral form as part of the 2015 QCinema Film Festival that is ongoing until this Saturday (October 31).
His film Anino sa Likod ng Buwan is an intellectually stimulating and sexually charged political thriller set in Marag Valley during the 1990s.
LJ Reyes is cast as an "internal refugee" who has a complex relationship with her husband Nardo (played by Anthony Falcon) and a military soldier Joel (played by Luis Alandy).
In the film, LJ has double breast exposure during an uncut 10-minute sex scene with the character of Luis.
Direk Jun said about this pivotal scene in the movie:
"Hindi siya pwede alisin kasi one-shot siya.
"Hindi ko alam ang gagawin ko kung inalis siya kasi masisira ang pelikula.
"We're hoping na kapag pina-review namin siya, medyo maiintindihan naman ng MTRCB yung vision ko bilang director.
"I won't mind an R-18 rating. Yun sana ang makuha namin."
What if they don't get an R-18 rating?
"Then that means hindi ko siya mapapalabas dito.
"I'll have to wait ten years, twenty years from now para isubmit sa MTRCB then baka mas open minded na," said Direk Jun.
Did LJ hesitate to accept this daring role since she is seen in several positions with her partner Luis?
"From the very beginning, I discussed with them kung ano ang hinihingi ng role and nagtiwala naman sila sa akin.
"Naniwala sila sa project at kung ano ang gawin ko bilang director.
"Nagpapasalamat ako na nagtiwala sila sa akin."
COMBINING THEATER AND FILM. Direk Jun envisioned the film as a one-shot movie but he pointed out that there were five cuts to signify the five acts of the story.
"Five kasi ang maximum na kayang i-record ng camera mga 15 minutes kaya kailangan naming hanapin kung paano siya magmumukhang seamless."
Did he direct the actors as if he were a helming a play?
"Yes, kasi I was looking at a different way to tell a story. I've down Bwakaw  and Barber's Tales [aka Mga Kuwentong Barbero, 2013].
"When you do a passion project, your dream project, it's a movie that you do not for the box-office.
"It intrigued me kung paano i-marry ang theater and cinema. Ang laki ng risk na gagawin ko as a filmmaker.
"Hindi ko alam kung magsa-succeed ako o hindi. I just wanted to try it and do a different kind of storytelling."
Through this method, Direk Jun is able to incorporate his two passions: filmmaking and theater.
The Palanca award-winning writer previously helmed Mga Pusang Gala for PETA (Philippine Education Theater Association).
Known internationally as Shadow Behind the Moon, it earned four major awards at the 13th Pacific Meridian Film Festival in Russia. These include Best Actress (for LJ Reyes) and Best Director.
It also bagged the Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Award and the International Critics Prize from Fipresci (International Federation of Film Critics).
The jury citation from FIPRESCI reads: “The jury was impressed by this tour de force accomplished with little means but great courage, vision and innovative abilities. The director managed to retell a historic tragedy in the shape of a play as well as a psychological and political thriller. He presented us with innovative use of the camera, a very clever script, intelligent dialogues, demanding great versatility from the actors, which they delivered seemingly effortless.”
PINOY INTERNAL REFUGEES. At the start of the movie, it is explained that during the early 1990s, the Philippine government launched several military operations in the province of Marag Valley, believed to be the seat of the communist government.
Those who were trapped in the middle of armed conflict in Marag Valley became known as "internal refugees."
These displaced persons suffered from the atrocities and human rights violations committed by the military.
Why did he choose to do a movie about this topic?
Direk Jun pointed out that he himself witnessed the unsafe conditions of internal refugees in northern Philippines.
"When I made a play twenty years ago, I actually went to Marag Valley.
"I experienced and saw for myself what is happening to those people. I was moved so I made a one-act play. Hindi pa rin tumitigil ang problema ng armed conflict.
"Just last September, the Lumad killings happened."
For past several months, indigenous tribes in Mindanao have been displaced from their homes and killings have occurred in Lumad areas of Bukidnon, Davao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.
(Read: Angel Locsin joins call to end Lumad killings in Mindanao; condemns presence of paramilitary in the Lumad community)
Direk Jun hopes his movie Anino will raise awareness about the starvation, violence, and danger being experienced by fellow Filipinos.
"Kailangan siyang gawin. Kailangan siyang pag-usapan to start a dialogue para maging aware ang mga tao sa mga nangyari."
Anino sa Likod ng Buwan will have a special screening at Robinsons Galleria this Saturday (October 31) at 9 pm.