MANILA, Philippines - Edita Burgos, the mother of abducted activist Jonas Burgos, admits that the actress playing her in the movie, “Burgos: A Mother’s Love,” was not her first choice.
"Burgos" was screened at the 2013 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival on August 3 — in what turned out to be a lively gathering for a film deep in politics and serving as festival closer at that.
The film will be shown in theaters this September.
Superstar Nora Aunor was Mrs. Burgos's first choice to portray her. But the role eventually went to the also multiawarded Lorna Tolentino.
To her surprise, Mrs. Burgos, 69, found many things in common with the 51-year-old actress.
“At our first meeting, we discovered …there are things precious to us, like family and faith," Mrs. Burgos said.
“Hindi ko kilala si [I don’t know] Lorna personally but I watch her movies. I also like the articles written about her and the way she answered the interviews during her husband’s [Rudy Fernandez] wake.
“She has a very strong foundation in her faith in God. I admire people in the entertainment industry who are like that,” said Mrs. Burgos, who is a devout Catholic and a member of the secular order of the Carmelites.
Image from the Facebook page of Heaven's Best Entertainment
Mrs. Burgos said she was surprised ("nagulat na ako") when she first saw the rushes.
“Even the smallest nuances, my mannerisms, like the way I hold my glasses, nakuha niya [she was spot on]. I didn’t realize ganun pala ako [I was like that].
“I know she’s a very good actress and every time we meet, she observes me."
When she saw the complete film at Cinemalaya, Edita B. was amazed once more at how Lorna T portrayed her in the film.
“Pati boses ko nagaya niya." (Even my voice she was able to emulate.)
“My eldest daughter told me, ‘Moms, that’s you!’ [Lorna] really went into character.
“For me, that’s a really professional thing to do.”
Mrs. Burgos said she had met Nora Aunor before "and this film was her idea."
“She told me, ‘At my age, I should be doing more quality films and I’d like to do your story.’
“But when Nora was not available and Direk Joel Lamangan had to make a certain schedule, they had to consider another actress.
“I heard that Hilda Koronel was also considered but she could not commit at that time.
“Then it went to Lorna and she did a remarkable job in the movie.”
Mrs. Burgos was also all praises for the performances of the other actors, including Rocco Nacino as her son, Jonas.
She hopes this film directed by Joel Lamangan from Ricardo “Ricky” Lee’s screenplay will help establish “closure” for the families of the desaparecidos (the disappeared).
Mrs. Burgos has not given up hope in finding her son.
“It’s more charitable for anyone to say na wala na siya [that he’s gone]. Kasi pag ganun, hindi na ako mag-aalala.” (In that case, I have no more cause for anxiety.)
“At least [there’s] closure. Pero hindi ko magawa. Kasi [But I can’t accept it. Because] I’ve also heard about people who turn up after several years.
“I believe that if Jonas were alive, one day he would come back.
"But, reality check, it would be difficult if he is alive and still going through unimaginable torture.
“Most probably, he would not be the same person if he does come back, because he has already been gone for 6 years.” – Rappler.com
'Burgos: A Mother's Love' is produced by Heaven’s Best Entertainment and will be shown in theaters in September.