Laguna Governor ER Ejercito and director Amable "Tikoy" Aguiluz VI enter the Year of the Dragon with a clean slate.
After dealing with controversies buffetting their film, Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga, Governor ER issued a public apology while Direk Tikoy sent his apologies via a text message.
In his acceptance speech, ER asked for Tikoy’s forgiveness even though the director was not present during the MMFF’s Gabi ng Parangal.
Part of ER’s speech went: "Direk Tikoy worked hard for this film. He labored for nine months, for 40 shooting days... You’re one of the best and brightest directors in the country. Pasensiya ka na. There were decisions the producers had to make to improve the film."
Produced by Scenema Concepts, the period film about the life of an infamous gangster is set in Tondo during the 1950s.
Asiong Salonga bagged 11 trophies at the 37th Metro Manila Film Festival, including Best Picture and Best Director.
In a phone interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) earlier today, January 4, Direk Tikoy admitted that he made the effort to reach out to the politician-actor.
He said, "Nakita ko ang wife niya [Maita Sanchez].
"Nag-text kami [ni ER] at binati ko siya ng Happy New Year.
"Di ba, nag-sorry siya [Governor ER] nung awards nights?
"Siyempre, sinagot ko yun. Sinabi niya when he received the trophy, ’Pasensiya ka na.’"
The lead actor of Asiong Salonga initially rejected the idea of removing the name of Tikoy as the director of the movie.
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NON-ATTENDANCE AT HEARING. Last December 23, Friday, the Intellectual Property Office issued a 72-hour Temporary Restraining Order to compel producers to remove the name of Direk Tikoy in the promotional materials and film credits of the movie.
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Upon his lawyer’s advice, Direk Tikoy did not attend the recent hearing for the case that he filed at the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office against the film’s producer.
The case was for violating Republic Act 8293, or the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines.
According to Direk Tikoy, "The lawyers are talking with Scenema Concepts...mukhang magkakaroon na ng agreement, but the lawyers told me that it looks good.
"Sila nag-usap so I’m not privy [to what was talked about]."
Why was he unable to attend the hearing?
"In-advise ako ng lawyer ko since there are initial talks for a compromise agreement.
"So, hindi na kailangan akong pumunta."
PETITION FOR "UNCUT AND UNALTERED" VERSION. Since Scenema Concepts re-shot some scenes and re-edited Direk Tikoy’s version of Asiong Salonga, the veteran filmmaker said he will continue to lobby for the release of a Director’s Cut.
"Firm kami sa aming stand that I should get a Director’s Cut.
"Based sa limited experience ko in film, lagi namang may compromise between the director and the producer.
"Hindi naman puwedeng director lang ang masusunod or ang producer lang lagi ang masusunod.
"I’m very optimistic na mabibigyan ako ng Director’s Cut kasi meron nang clamor.
"One thousand people na ang nag-sign sa petition," he disclosed.
Direk Tikoy is referring to the online petition asking the producers to release the director’s version of Asiong Salonga "uncut and unaltered."
The petition can be visited at: www.change.org/petitions/pinoy-cinephiles-release-the-directors-cut-of-manila-kingpin-the-asiong-salonga-story
DIREK TIKOY’S GOAL. Direk Tikoy stressed: "Gusto ko lang ipakita ang pelikula.
"Sana magkaroon ng non-commercial screening dito sa Philippines, then sana ipakita sa foreign film festivals.
"Yun naman ang unang deal namin."
Direk Tikoy has already finished six shooting days for Governor ER’s upcoming movie, El Presidente, which tackles the life of former President Emilio Aguinaldo.
The filmmaker says he will inform PEP if he will continue to helm this period film.
El Presidente is produced by the same producer of Asiong and will star the same male lead of Asiong.