~ The prevarication has gone for months, and when it was discovered, the impact was devastating. From filmmakers to crew to those not directly involved, the realization that they’d been all had was infuriating. And so the fate of what’s billed as “the first 100 percent Filipino-Canadian film” was sealed this week. It will no longer be shown in a Toronto theatre. And who is the culprit? Money, and the lack of it.
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“Lies are like cockroaches, for every one you discover there are many more that are hidden”. — Gary Hopkins
TORONTO – Hyped as by its makers as “the first 100 percent Filipino-Canadian film” in a moment of pride, the recently-finished movie titled “Living Instead” is now consigned to the dustbin of history.
Showtime was supposed to be on Saturday, Jan. 27, but even that has been cancelled as organizers could not come up with money to pay the theatre for the screening.
“The film will be protected and shelved in perpetuity unless reparations are satisfactorily made,” said Beverly Vergel, the screenwriter and director, in a press statement issued through her spokespersons – Tony San Juan and Rachelle Cruz.
Ms. Vergel has not responded to questions. She also ignored a request to confirm the authenticity of the press release circulated by her two spox.
In an earlier statement, Ms. Vergel explained that her investment in the film consisted of creative, artistic and technical content. “As an industrial investor, none of the contributions is related to ‘cash funding’ of the film,” she stated.
The “cash funding” is the biggest sole issue in the brief life and untimely death of the movie which starred a certain Emily Bolanos who, Ms. Vergel said, is the “producer-financier responsible for all money issues”.
Canning the movie was apparently a last resort after Ms. Bolanos was denounced by her own team and Ms. Vergel’s crew for her alleged audacity to borrow money and then allegedly manipulating her creditors.
Ms. Bolanos did not respond to questions. Previously, she was also asked but made no effort to answer back.
“After an objective and thorough assessment of the issues, with all the evidence presented, our stand is strong and clear. We cannot tolerate a persistent pattern of unethical, immoral and deceitful behavior,” Ms. Vergel declared.
That “unethical, immoral and deceitful behavior” described by Ms. Vergel apparently referred to Ms. Bolanos’ alleged money borrowings from the cast and misrepresenting them as volunteers when in reality they were supposed to be paid performers.
One of her team members is Michelle Chermaine Ramos, a Toronto-based writer, artist and designer, who plays a supporting role in the film. She claimed she has been “victimized,” saying Ms. Bolanos owed her money ranging from $2,000 to $9,000.
“Due to the total loss of trust and confidence, we are fully and totally dissociating ourselves from the producer-financier Ms. Emely Bolanos a.k.a. Emily Bolanos as well as all acts associated with her and entered in to by her,” Ms. Vergel stated.
“We further declare no knowledge nor consent to the liabilities incurred by the producer as part of her share in the film. Further, the film cannot be compromised to cover personal debts,” she added.
Ms. Vergel revealed that she and two others she did not identify are the registered copyright owners of the movie.