Maestra, an award-winning film which pays tribute to teachers as modern-day heroes, will be shown at Cine Lokal in eight SM cinemas — Megamall, Mall of Asia, North Edsa, Southmall, Manila, Sta. Mesa, Fairview and Bacoor — starting December 8.
The film, directed by Lemuel Lorca, features three generations of courageous teachers who will share significant lessons in life as they cross paths in a journey of dreaming to achieve, struggling to succeed and pursuing to find life’s greater meaning — as teachers.
Maestra recently won Best Actress for Anna Luna and Special Mention for Best Screenplay for Archie del Mundo in the feature films section of the Five Continents Film Festival at Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela.
Luna, who previously won Best Supporting Actress trophies for Paglipay at the 2016 ToFarm Film Festival and for Bendor at the 2013 Cinema One Originals, essays the role of Iah Seraspi, a poor dreamer from Looc, Romblon who passionately pursued her studies to reach the top. The story of Seraspi, who managed to place second in the nationwide Licensure Exam for Teachers, became viral on social media and was featured on television.
Gawad Urian Best Actress Angeli Bayani plays Gennie Panguelo, an Aeta-Ilocana parateacher who dreams of passing the LET exam. Panguelo, more popularly known as Ma’am Gennie, defies the odds by walking four hours everyday to school just to teach young Aeta students. She helped build the Tarukan Elementary School for children who mostly have slim chances of completing a school year.
Queen of Visayan Movies Gloria Sevilla portrays the character of Esperanza Bautista, a respected teacher and most outstanding principal. Bautista, or Ma’am Espie to her students, can also compose and deliver poems on the spot as part of her inspirational talks. Now more than 80 years old, she still refuses to retire from teaching.
The veteran actress was able to relate a lot to her role as a tireless educator. “Kahit may edad na ako, gusto ko pa ring mag-artista dahil kaligayahan kong maging artista. I want to enjoy myself. I want to make people happy. Kahit may edad na ako, nandito pa rin ako. Kapag nasa dugo mo ang isang bagay, go for it,” she said.
“I really like the story. This is about the plight of teachers na hindi masyadong napapansin ng mga tao. Ang mga teachers ang siyang nagmo-mold ng utak ng mga kabataan,” she added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Carl Balita, who runs 94 branches of his review center nationwide, produced his second advocacy film after the success of his first production Nars, a film about Filipino nurses. “I want to pay forward to the teachers’ community who has helped me a lot. I realized that they’re really the unsung heroes of our generation,” the popular educator said.
Balita, who is also an entrepreneur and media personality, revealed that he knows of several other inspiring stories of teachers. “There’s so much to say. There’s so much to tell. Beyond three is probably too crowded. It’s blending three different stories in one harmonized script.”
Maestra also stars Lou Veloso, Lui Manansala, William Martinez, Yayo Aguila, Suzette Ranillo, Karl Medina, Bong Cabrera, Paul Salas, Star Orjaliza and Balita as himself. A co-production with the Carl Balita Review Center and Spotlight Artists Centre, the film also competed at the Sydney World Film Festival, Warsaw Avenue Film Festival, 24th annual Filipino International Cine Festival and NPS International Children’s Film Festival in India.
Balita explained why he also decided to take the festival route. “I believe in the movie. I got the right people. I got the right production team. I got the right artists. I know we got a good story. I’ll let it speak for itself.” The film was Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board.
Cine Lokal is a cinema line that houses independent, award-winning films and Film Development Council of the Philippines programs in select SM Cinema branches across the country. The CBRC branches will be in charge of further local distribution of the film.