When Cinemalaya released its schedule of screenings on its official website, one item immediately grabbed the attention of most of the independent film festival’s fans—the July 27 special screening of “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” credited to Tikoy Aguiluz.
Speculation immediately became rife that this is the much-awaited director’s cut of the controversial Metro Manila filmfest entry that resulted in the removal of Aguiluz’s name in the film credits and posters after he protested the decision of its producers and lead actor Jeorge “E.R.” Estregan to re-shoot and re-edit certain scenes.
Except that it’s not. It’s the same theatrical version that won 11 awards in the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival plus two more from the Gawad Pasado Awards 2012 and another for Best Cinematography from the 2012 Golden Screen Awards.
“I’ve been getting calls, akala ng mga friends ko yun ang director’s cut,” Aguiluz told Interaksyon. “No, it’s not. I was surprised din and brought it to their (Cinemalaya organizers) attention. Sabi nila, wala na yung name ko sa credits.”
Aside from the films in competition in its New Breed, Short Films and Director’s Showcase categories, Cinemalaya also has special screenings of non-competing films, documentaries and acclaimed features.
Although the Cinemalaya organizers never said that they will be screening a new version of the film, the fact that its screening schedule said it is “by Tikoy Aguiluz” who already disowned the version presented in the MMFF led people to believe that it must be the widely anticipated director’s cut.
For his part, the multi-awarded filmmaker has not made any official announcement when his cut of “Manila Kingpin” will finally see the light. Right now, he said he’s concentrating on finishing his own independent production “El Brujo” starring Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Bangs Garcia.
He was originally slated to direct “El Presidente,” the first biopic of General Emilio Aguinaldo for Scenema Concept International, the same group that produced “Manila Kingpin” and also starring Jeorge ‘E.R.” Estregan.
Because of their well-documented differences over the latter film’s creative direction, he was eventually replaced by Mark Meily.