Selected as one of Metro Manila Film Festival’s official entry for 2016, “Oro” or Gold is a drama crime thriller based on true events about Elmer (Joem Bascon), a small-scale miner, who plans to finally establish a life of his own by asking for Linda’s (Mercedes Cabral) hand in marriage; separate from Kapitana (Irma Adlawan), his long-time employer-benefactor who buys the gold he mines. Linda works as an elementary teacher, while Elmer barely finished high school. Pregnant with their child, Linda keeps this a secret from Elmer, fearing that this would only pressure him to marry her.
Just when Elmer and Linda are about to reveal their plans and secrets to each other, their small mining community is disturbed by the arrival of an armed group, Patrol Kalikasan, masquerading as environmentalists. The loyalty of Elmer and the small mining community to Kapitana will be tested as they could not produce a permit to mine, even though they have been working the mines since World War II, with no effects of environmental degradation. As Kapitana scrambles to secure a permit to protect her community from the harassment of the armed group, Elmer and the rest of the community struggle to eke out a living, as Patrol Kalikasan settles down in their community, and takes over the mining operations.
The film is about the lives of simple folk caught between the crossfire of Kapitana accused of political patronage, and Patrol Kalikasan using the environment as a front for their own political and economic interests on the small mining community. As the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) fight over the jurisdiction over small-scale mining operations, Elmer and Linda suffer the devastating consequences of the legacy of violence and corruption of the country’s turbulent political and ideological history.
From doing his first short film Rolyo back in 2007 which won Best Short Film at the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival 2007 and at the Gawad Urian 2008, writer, producer and director Alvin Yapan has gone a long way in film making. Winning the Golden Award for Digital Films at the 2009 Cairo International Film Festival for his film Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe is the cherry on top of his filmography which followed more films including the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival entry: Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa (2011) which won Best Picture at the 2012 Gawad Urian and Bronze Precolumbian Circle at the Bogota Film Festival 2011, and Debosyon (2013). Yapan eventually tried directing a weekly TV Mini-series for GMA News TV titled “Titser,” he then continued directing films after, Mga Anino ng Kahapon (2013), An Kubo sa Kawayanan (2015) and this year, he directed the horror film Ang Tulay sa San Sebastian which is an official entry to the CineFilipino Film Festival 2016 and EDSA, an official entry to the World Premieres Film Fesitival which won Best Picture.
Reuniting with Irma Adlawan (Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe), Mercedes Cabral (An Kubo Sa Kawayanan), Joem Bascon and Sandino Martin (Ang Tulay sa San Sebastian), Oro is Yapan’s first film to get a wider than the usual select Metro Manila cinemas release most of the film festivals are offering.
From Feliz Film Productions, the film also stars Arrian Labios, Sue Prado, Cedrick Juan, Biboy Ramirez, Ronald Regala, Timothy Castillo, Tracy Quila, Acey Aguilar and Sunshine Teodoro.
Catch “Oro” at the Metro Manila Film Festival starting December 25, 2016 in Philippine cinemas nationwide.