Two Pedro Calungsod movies in the offing

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There are actually two worthwhile film projects centered on the life of Filipino saint Pedro Calungsod being undertaken right now and both are going to be shown before the year ends.


San Pedro Calungsod was the second Filipino to be canonized. The first was San Lorenzo Ruiz. Both Filipinos died on foreign soils for the cause of their Catholic faith.

The movie we have first heard of is the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry billed “Pedro Calungsod: Batang Martir” starring Rocco Nacino. The second movie, which has the working title “Calungsod,” is a production of Nuances Entertainment, a company headed by our good friend Suzette Ranillo, who is also the film’s executive producer.

A very excited Suzette let us in on a secret by saying that their “Calungsod” project is some sort of an apostolic mission for her. “We hope to make the film relevant and appealing even to non-Catholics. And most of all, we want the Pedro Calungsod story to inspire the youth of every nationality, race or faith. If our movie succeeds in doing that, then we have done justice to Saint Pedro Calungsod.”

Suzette said “Calungsod,” the film project, works under the operative words “highly authentic.” It is based on the meticulously researched and documented book of Monsignor Ildebrando Jesus Aliño Leyson titled “Pedro Calonsor (sic) Bissaya: Prospects of a Teenage Filipino.” Msgr. Leyson’s book was the product of years of research in the library of the Vatican, and the documents he unearthed formed the basis for the laborious and tedious process of beatification and eventual canonization of St. Pedro Calungsod. It was only after Msgr. Leyson gave his approval to use the book as basis that Suzette finally made the decision to proceed with the production.

The Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu City and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama have given the film project their endorsement. Pedro Calungsod was from the Diocese of Cebu.

Suzette is meticulous in casting for the film. She says, “the actor should be within the age range of Pedro Calungsod, which is around 16 to 18 years old. Then he should be able to speak Cebuano, Spanish and Chamorro as called for by the script. These were our main considerations for casting the role of Pedro.” While saying that they have found the actor, Suzette says the young actor is currently being prepared for the role of a lifetime.

“Calungsod” will be taken to different premieres all over the world, especially in places where the Saint actually lived and/or visited. There will be a premiere night in Manila and in Cebu, she says. A commercial limited-engagement only run is also being planned before mid-December. Manila Bulletin