Director Mike de Leon slams social media for ‘trivializing’ movies

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Mike de Leon and (right) Atom Araullo on the set of 'Ciizen Jake' in Baguio City. (Araullo photo by Jeffrey Tictic from the film's Facebook page)

Mike de Leon thinks social media has “trivialized” movies and “today’s generation has only experienced Facebook.”

The reclusive but outspoken filmmaker shared his dislike of social media in, ironically, a recent post on the Facebook page of his comeback film “Citizen Jake.”

“I come from a generation of moviemakers where a film, or better yet a movie, is just that, a movie, plain and simple, a visual way of telling stories that hopefully will find an audience,” De Leon said.

“Now with social media permeating every aspect of life, I find movies trivialized as they are in first world countries.”

De Leon, who is currently filming “Citizen Jake” in Baguio City, added: “My father’s generation experienced World War II and the Japanese occupation, my generation experienced the horrors of martial law and the arrogance of unbridled power.

“Today’s generation has only just experienced Facebook. Perhaps we need another upheaval (I sense it coming) to make them sit up and notice the terrible things going on around us. And the millennials will one day realize that they, too, will grow old and find themselves with nothing to look back to and be proud of but Facebook. I shall make sure that doesn’t happen to me,” he concluded.

Starring noted broadcast journalist Atom Araullo in his acting debut, “Citizen Jake” will be De Leon’s first feature film since the 1999 release of “Bayaning Third World,” his cryptic and hilarious exploration of the difficulty of making a movie about Jose Rizal.

Now 69, the director of such classic films as  “Itim,” “Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising,” “Kakabakaba Ka Ba?,” “Kisapmata,” “Batch ‘81” and “Sister Stella L” has declared that “Citizen Jake” will be the last in his distinguished career.

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer last November, De Leon, who also produced and co-wrote the film, said it is about “the world of citizen journalists, social media and politics.”

“I have a real journalist playing a fictional journalist in an investigative crime story with political overtones,” he added in reference to the casting of Araullo.

According to a source who was briefly involved in the production, “Citizen Jake” was scheduled for 35 shooting days, more than three times the current industry average. It is also being filmed chronologically, in the order of the events in the story, to help Araullo develop into his character.

Logistics, such as the clustering of locations and the availability of cast members, generally dictate the shooting schedule of most movies.

Araullo is supported by a cast that includes Dina Bonnevie, Luis Alandy, Max Collins, Nonie Buencamino, Alan Paule, Teroy Guzman, Gabby Eigenmann, Anna Luna and Elora Españo.