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Western Visayas Celebrities in a film goes to Japan

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KALIBO, Aklan- Actors all coming from the different provinces in the Western Visayas region—will soon be shown in a film in Japan.

The movie The Gospel of the Beast will have its own premier at the forthcoming 36th Tokyo Film Festival. The entirety of the film was shot at different locations in Western Visayas, especially Pandan, Antique, and Iloilo.

The film stars award-winning actors Jansen Magpusao of Pandan, Antique, and Ronnie Lazaro (Sagay, Negros Occidental), with a cast of actors entirely from Western Visayas, according to Southern Lantern Studios.

The Gospel of the Beast film follows the story of a 15-year-old Mateo who accidentally kills a classmate. He runs away with a man he barely knows, Berto, with whom he created a unique father-son relationship, where Mateo learns the harrowing realities about life, death, and BEASTHOOD. The feature film is Sheron Dayoc’s comeback film after six years, his last feature being Women of the Weeping River (2016), which won the best film at the 2017 Toronto Reel Asia and Best Director at the 2017 Asian Film Festival Barcelona.

Locally, it was awarded Best Film at the Gawad Urian, Qcinema, and Young Critics Circles. The film was also hailed by the Philippines’ National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) as one of the twelve iconic films of the decade. Dayoc, like in his previous films, tackles the relationship between violence and humanity, but this time with the added layer of innocence lost. The Southern Lantern further said that it is not only Dayoc who is making a return. The film is also the big-screen comeback of Jansen Magpusao, Cinemalaya, and the Film Academy of the Philippines awardee for Best Actor. It is his first role since his debut film, John Denver Trending.

The Gospel of the Beast is a recipient of the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ International Co-Production Fund, was developed in Full Circle Lab Philippines, and was also part of the Asian Project Market and ScreentellingLab.With E&W Films (Singapore) and Tinkerbulb Productions (Philippines), The Gospel of the Beast is produced by Southern Lantern Studios, which was also behind Dayoc’s previous films Halaw (2010, Cinemalaya Best Film, Berlinale NETPAC Special Mention, APSA NETPAC), The Crescent Rising (2015, Busan and Gawad Urian Best Documentary), and Women of the Weeping River (2016, Best Film Toronto Reel Asia, Best Film Gawad Urian and Qcinema).

The production company also produced Arden Rod Condez’s John Denver Trending (2019), which was awarded the 15th Cinemalaya Best Film Award and happens to be the first Filipino feature film to be screened in major cinemas in South Korea. It also produced Sonny Calvento’s Excuse Me, Miss, Miss, Miss (2019), the first Filipino short film to be selected at the Sundance Film Festival.