Diaspora Entertainment

War movie screening a hit in Saipan

By Lori Lyn Lirio

Image © saipantribune.com

A ONE night screening of the movie series “We Drank Our Tears” crashed the box office early this month as all tickets were sold out even before the screening date.

The movie’s writer, producer and director, Galvin Deleon, said the filming and showing of “We Drank Our Tears” series was a dream and vision come true for him and his friend Rob Travilla. He said the series, which was shown at the Saipan Regal Megaplex last May 4, is about the events that took place during world War II in the Mariana islands.

The three films in the series was adapted the from a book of the same title. It is a collection of selected World War II experiences by Francisco Babauta, Benjamin Abadilla and Rafael Mafnas.

The film started with encore screening of Francisco Babauta’s Story. The film won the best local production in the 2017 Marianas International Film Festival and was a finalist for the Made in the Marianas Award at the 7th Annual Guam International Film Festival.

It was followed by Benjamin Abadilla’s Story, which was written and directed by Deleon Guerrero. It tells the story of 10-year-old Abadilla during the Japanese invasion in the Philippines, where they have travel from place to place to escape the advancing Japanese soldiers. He was eventually separated from his family.

Rafael Mafnas’s story, which was written by Deleon Guerrero and directed by Mount Carmel School students Angelo Manese and Justin Ocampo, is about the story of two friends, who were hiding in the cave in order to escape crossfire between American and Japanese Soldiers.

We Drank Our Tears’ directors Galvin Deleon Guerrero, Justin Ocampo and Angelo Manese. Photo © Lori Lyn Lirio

Deleon Guerrero said they chose the stories of Babauta, Abadilla and Mafnas out of the 60 stories in the book (We Drank Our Tears) because they have the most prominent theme – thirst.

“Everybody was thirsty and one of the very consistent themes in this book is that the civilian experience – people just want basic stuff like food, shelter, water. We thought this idea we drank our tears, people drinking their sadness,” Deleon Guerrero explained.

In the Abadilla film, Deleon said wanted to tell Abadilla’s bloody and gory experience.

“We often hear about the casualties of war with the soldiers but I just wanted to show that this incident affected the entire family and I have to say it is very moving.”

Young directors Manese and Ocampo said they selected Mafnas’ because “it has very interesting conflict.”

“The very pivotal goal of the civilians in this book – all the civilians in this war was all about surviving either with someone of just alone.

All these war stories were told in soldiers’ perspective but seldom do we see a movie where the other end of the barrel was pointing at civilian. We want to give the audience an enlightening perspective.”

Among the audience who saw the film was the family of Abadilla.

Judy Santos, Abadilla’s daughter, said she was moved to see her father’s story come to life.

According to Judy, her father was still a little boy when the Japanese invaded the Philippines. She added, however, that it was her daughter Jonah, who interviewed her father.

Benjamin Abadilla’s family at the screening of ‘We Drank Our Tears’ series. Photo © Lyn Lirio

Jonah was still a student at Dandan Middle School when she wrote the war experience of her grandfather. The story landed in “We Drank Our Tears” which was published in 2004, Judy said.

According to Deleon Guerrero, they plan to enter the two new films into the Guam International Film Festival and other film festivals.

“These festivals have exclusivity requirements that they want these exclusives because they want people to come to the festivals,” he said as he explained why they will not be able to have it to show it publicly.

“We want to have it to the festival circuit first and then we want to make it available online,” he added.

They are trying to negotiate with different distributors to put it online.

Lori Lyn Lirio
Lori Lyn C. Lirio is a veteran newshen having worked for the People's Journal Tonight for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. She currently writes for the Marianas Variety, Saipan's number one community paper. .

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