Last week, we ran a story on what appeared to be a cryptic marketing stunt for Director Tikoy Aguiliz’s upcoming MMFF entry, Manila Kingpin: The Untold Story of Asiong Salonga.
But it turns out the stunt offered a different kind of publicity. The bad kind.
A couple of days after the original e-mail, I received a follow up from the same Arnold Santos.
Although I clearly have no idea what he meant by “Inasiong ang Salonga ni Tikoy”, I realize that the e-mails may not have the most positive of intentions for the upcoming festival entry.
But after a bit of digging, I get reports that Direk Tikoy has lost creative control over Asiong Salonga due to disagreements with the film’s financiers, Scenema Concepts International. Reports have also started to trickle in that the film’s star Laguna Governor ER Ejercito has been left to make major decisions in the editing room.
Despite these reports coming from various sources, we’ve yet to confirm the extent of what these mean for the film.
This morning, however, I received another e-mail from the mysterious Arnold Santos.
The Inquirer article, however, focuses on Regal Films leading lady Carla Abellana’s conflict of interest with studio matriarch Lily Monteverde and says very little about Direk Tikoy’s creative woes with Asiong Salonga.
Carla Abella’s work in Asiong Salonga apparently runs against exclusivity agreements with Regal Films, especially since she headlines upcoming Regal Films’ own MMFF entry Yesterday Today Tomorrow. Abbela is now prohibited from promoting Asiong Salonga. Whether Arnold Santos’ last name is simply a smokescreen for Abellana’s agent, Arnold Vegafria, remains to be seen.
But all this showbiz politicking sidesteps a graver issue that now plagues the release of Asiong Salonga. Inquirer has reported that Direk Tikoy has moved to strike his name from the film.
[Tikoy] Aguiluz made the request to strike his name—from billboards, posters and other promotional materials, including those posted in social media—in a letter drafted by his lawyer, Angel Enrico Mira Jr., and addressed to “Asiong” producer Scenema Concepts International. Aguiluz explained that the final version of “Manila Kingpin” can no longer be described as his film.
The article continues by stating that new scenes were reshot without the aid of its own director, and that Direk Tikoy was no longer a part of the film’s final edit, and music mixing.
With its premiere only two weeks away, Direk Tikoy has little time (and resources) to get a film he can put his name on in time for the Metro Manila Film Festival. Although, he’s attempting to be given the authority to edit a director’s cut for international festivals, even chances of that are slim.
Although this wouldn’t be the first director-producer boxing-match in film history, it’s always disheartening to hear news like this smear the release of a movie as big as Asiong Salonga.
You can view the original Inquirer article online here.