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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 21, 2011
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US director lauds
Negros actors


An American director, one of the prime movers of U.S. independent cinema, yesterday described the Negrense actors and crew in his latest film, Amigo, as terrific.

Amigo, written and directed by John Sayles, is a film set in 1900-1901 when the US colonial army was pursuing Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in the hinterlands of Luzon.

Amigo, which was filmed in Bohol, has been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, San Sebastián International Film Festival in Spain, the London Film Festival and the American Film Institute festival in Los Angeles, Sayles told the DAILY STAR.

It will open in the Philippines in July and in the United States in August, but will have screenings today at 9:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the University of Saint La Salle Mutien Marie Auditorium in Bacolod City and at 7 p.m. at the Robinsons Movieworld in Bacolod City.

Today’s screening is sponsored by the La Salle High School Class 1978 Foundation Inc. in cooperation with the USLS Alumni Association for the benefit of the Bahay Pag-Asa Youth Center.

Heading the cast are Chris Cooper, an Oscar Best Supporting Actor awardee, Garret Dillahunt and DJ Qualls on the American side.  

On the Philippine side the cast includes Bembol Roco, Ronnie Lazaro, Rio Locsin, Pen Medina, Spanky Manikan, Irma Adlawan, Bodjie Pascua, Joe Gruta and Joel Torre.

Aside from Lazaro and Torre, other Bacoleños in the cast and production staff are US-based film editor Mario Ontal, assistant director Kokoy Jimenez, art director Dwight Gaston, and production designers Erin and Fergus Martir.

Sayles described Lazaro and Torre as very good actors.

The Filipino-American war caused the loss of lives of close to a million Filipinos in the battlefields and from diseases, Sayles said.

It also marked the start of American imperialism, he said, explaining that the film shows a part of history not recorded in history books.

The film also shows that the Americans did not bring the idea of democracy to the Philippines, Filipinos had been fighting for it for a long time, he said.

Amigo is a very human story that tells both the Filipino and American side of the war, unlike other films that tend to be one sided, Sayles said.

It is not anti-American, it is just more honest about American imperialism than other films, he added.*CPG

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