#MMFF2016: Acting Takes Centerstage in Political Thriller Based on A True Story “Oro”

Acting pieces in a Metro Manila Film Festival entry hasn’t been highlighted as much as those who are breaking box-office gross even though they are critically slammed for being a cash cow. But still, after the awards night, winners which doesn’t even enter the top three of the box-office returns get to have the much-deserved buzz and gain more audience the following days.

Aside from the story and direction, the acting, the actors, the ensemble, these are what the audiences will take from “Oro,” the passion for the arts, the artists passion for their craft, a clash of drama from award-winning actors.

ORO is about the lives of simple folk caught between the crossfire of Kapitana (Idlawan) 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 (Bascom) and Linda (Cabral) suffer the devastating consequences of the legacy of violence and corruption of the country’s turbulent political and ideological history.

Read director Alvin Yapan’s statement about his MMFF film Oro:

“While some parts of this film are fictionalized, ORO (Gold) is based on true events dubbed as “Gata 4 Massacre,” which happened on 22 March 2014 in Barangay Gata, Caramoan, Camarines Sur.

We usually simplify things. Those who fight for the environment are the good people. Those who mine for gold and other mineral resources are bad people out to destroy the environment. Laws protecting the environment and regulating the mining industry may have been created with the best of intentions.

But in the application of the law on real life situations, things are more complex. Sometimes, corruption and violence destroy the true spirit of the law. This is what I want to bring out in this film: to explore this fine line of what is just and unjust, of what is right and what is wrong. Environmental protection should not run counter against basic human rights.

In the same vein, protection of basic human rights should also not justify environmental exploitation.
As a director, I also would not want to romanticize the victims in this film. I want to present how slogans for the protection of the environment and human rights are just that: Slogans! In the end, care and attention should be given to the complexity of micropolitics.

This is where I think film could be very effective, in understanding that there are no absolutes, in appreciating the network of oftentimes conflicting motivations. I want this film to become a study of character. What drove people to the industry of mining? How power corrupts in the hands of ordinary citizens. How patronage could actually be a positive force for social development. And how in a place of wealth, there could be so much violence.


“Oro” is an official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival from Feliz Film Productions and Rolyo Productions, to be distributed by Solar Pictures. Rated PG by the MTRCB.

The film stars Irma Adlawan, Joem Bascon, Mercedes Cabral, Sandino Martin, Arrian  Labios, Sue Prado, Cedrick Juan, Biboy Ramirez, Ronal Regalla, Timothy Castillo, Acey Aguilar and Sunshine Teodoro, directed by multi-awarded director Alvin Yapan.

Watch the trailer here:

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