Star-studded Mina-anud screening and Mother Lily's birthday

Mother Lily celebrates birthday with ‘Mina-anud’ screening

 

Last Tuesday, Lily Y. Monteverde celebrated her 81st birthday (according to Wikipedia, (she was born on Aug. 19, 1938) with the celebrity screening of the film Mina-anud, which her company, Regal Entertainment co-produced with HOOQ, an on-demand streaming service, and Epicmedia, a small film production company owned by young filmmakers foremost among them is Pepe Diokno of Engkwentro fame.

Mother Lily Y. Monteverde turned 81 and celebrated her birthdday with a celebrity screening of  Mina-anud

Mother Lily Y. Monteverde turned 81 and celebrated her birthdday with a celebrity screening of Mina-anud

The screening was held at Greenhills Cinema, a day before it opened in theaters nationwide last Wednesday. The film also closed the Cinemalaya film fest and drew a blitzkrieg of favorable notices from those who went to watch at the film at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

At the celebrity screening, Mother inauspiciously sat along the corridor leading to the screening hall while the stars of the movie Dennis Trillo, Jerald Napoles, Matteo Guidicelli with Alvin Anson, Mara Lopez and other members of the cast obliged to the pre-screening interviews with members of the media.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora was also spotted going inside the cinema, but left even before the film could reach its climax.

Kerwin Go, the director, was also around.

After the screening, that was around 8:30 p.m. and a bit past dinnertime, those who were invited to Mother’s celebration (she left earlier than most) proceeded to Valencia Events Place, a 10-minute drive from Greenhills.

Mina-anud stars Dennis Trillo and Jerald Napoles

Mina-anud stars Dennis Trillo and Jerald Napoles

Trillo, Napoles, and Go seemed the toast of the party that night as most of those who watched the film during the screening were extending their congratulations to the actors and director.

Mother also had guests apart from the Mina-anud stars and members of the media. Aside from her children – Roselle, Meme, and Dondon – friends and relatives also came by to celebrate with the local film community’s matriarch.

Actors-turned-politicos Senator Ramong “Bong” Revilla, Jr. also dropped by so did his wife Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado who arrived several minutes ahead of her husband. Former senator now Congressman Loren Legarda who has been Mother’s friend for years also came to greet her.

It was a cozy celebration in contrast to last year’s grand party at Crowne Plaza in Ortigas Centre where stars from both Kapamilya and Kapuso lots came to shower Mother Lily with their love and respect.

                                    Bucolic fishing village comes to life

In Kerwin Go’s film, a fictional rustic fishing island called Mina-anud suddenly is in the center of struggle between clueless natives and corrupt drug prevention bureaucrat.

According to Go, the germ of the film has been at the back of his mind in the last decade or so when he heard about blocks of drugs was dumped into the sea and were washed onto the shores off Estern Samar province.

Carlo (Jerald Napoles), a local surfer that never wins the grand prize and settling most of the time on being second best, accidentally stumbles onto a loot of cocaine while deciding on what he could do to raise money to join a surfing competition overseas upon the egging of Paul (Matteo Guidicelli), now a celebrated brand endorser of canned meat product.

He asks the fishermen who stashed the blocks in his hut to sell him one thinking perhaps it is rat poison and could get rid of the rodents in his hut. Back home he meets an American tourist and his Filipina companion. Curious, the American asked if he could take a look at the block and after he sniffed some decided to buy it from Carlo who, in his desperation for fare money, immediately gave it to the American for a few thousands of pesos, promising he can get more for him.

That’s how the trade of the “inanud” cocaine started.

Among Mother’s well wishers were Annabelle Rama, Vhong Navarro and Senator Ramon ‘Bong” Revilla, Jr.

Among Mother’s well wishers were Annabelle Rama, Vhong Navarro and Senator Ramon ‘Bong” Revilla, Jr.

Paul comes into the illegal trade drug after Ding gets involved in Carlo’s illegal trade. But little do they know that officers of PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) led by Officer Julian (Alvin Anson) has now put the island in strict surveillance after confiscating blocks of cocaine from a fisherman, Mario (Lou Veloso), who along with his friend hid most of the blocks in plastic drums.

The film is not plot-centered, but more about the characters of Dennis, Jerald, Alvin, Lou, and Matteo. The narrative construct is elliptical and focused more on how the drugs, like a cancer, gradually gnaws on the relationship of the two and even Ding’s relationship with his wife and also with Paul.

“Love of money is the source of all evil.” That is a biblical saying that is the operating theme of the film. The blocks of cocaine was simply a device used by Go to illustrate how the desire for money (in both Ding and Carlo’s case) led them to be involved in an illegal drugs trade. This is also true to Officer Julian whom we see at first as a law enforcement officer that is true to his job to solve the drug problem in the country. Gradually, we see Officer Julian in a different light, already engulfed in the idea of making massive amounts of money from the “inanud” cocaine.

Go and his writers are clever to use the Waray word “inanud” (which means carried away by the current) and the title when translated to Filipino is “May inanod” or something was carried away by the waves.

So, what are those that the waves washed off the shores? The blocks of cocaine, of course, but that’s superficial. Those who are really “inanod” to the shores of crime are Ding, Carlo, Paul, Officer Julian, and the fisherman Mario and his friend.

They waves of monetary fulfillment drowned them into the sea of crime and unscrupulous lives. For Ding, it was a dead end and there is no turning point, even if his wife offered some kind of an alternative life.

Go treated the subject just like an old wife’s tale. There’s not a hint of seriousness in it. Some say that drug problem should not be trivialized, but Go simply avoided the route towards serious thriller as he perhaps didn’t want the audience to cringe with scenes of torture, bloodletting, or exchange of gunshots.

Despite their hectic schedules and the horrible traffic jams, couple Bong and Lani find time to greet Mother on her birthday

Despite their hectic schedules and the horrible traffic jams, couple Bong and Lani find time to greet Mother on her birthday

Mina-anud is like an urban legend. There is no concrete proof but people tend to talk about it for years.

Although more recently we have seen on TV and read about blocks of drugs fished out of the seas off Quezon, the Visayas and Baler, Aurora…a similar tale of a friend who would have been millionaire has not been heard of.

Let’s enjoy Go’s ride with the waves off Borongan City in Eastern Samar.

And, what has Jeffrey Remigio, Content and Programming Head of HOOQ Philippines in mind when the company engaged in the production of the film?

 “In recent years, Pinoy cinema has come a long way, with high-value productions earning nods across the international film circuit. As well as working with the big production houses and studios, we’re strengthening our relationships with local filmmakers to help bring their artistic visions to life on HOOQ, so they can share the stories that need to be told.”

So, that’s it. folks.