The official statement of the Buhilaman Visions Davao Inc. (BVDI) regarding the pullout
The pulling out of the Screening of MALAN is outrageous. The reason behind this unfortunate event is the
indecisiveness or what may be called “urong-sulong” stance on the part of the Film Development Council of
the Philippines (FDCD).
Days before the Film Festival period (June 29 - July 3, 2012) we the producers of MALAN under the
corporate name BUHILAMAN VISIONS DAVAO, INC. (BVDI) were assured and reassured by the FDCP it
would be the Producer’s Cut that will be used in the festival. This was given due course when at the start of
the Festival, Malan was scheduled among the other entries screening hours in a number of cinemas in the
different Malls in the City.
But on the second day, FDCP just pulled out the screening of MALAN simply because its erstwhile director
threatened a court action against FDCP for not using his version (so-called Director’s Cut) of the film.
We in Buhilaman are greatly dismayed. Not only because it was so drastic and contrary to the evident
commitment of FDCP that the Producer’s Cut of MALAN is the official version for the Festival. The FDCP
people are afraid of the threat of one person... concerned that it would create an embarrassment and mar the
conduct of the Festival. But it failed to discern the larger and more overriding concern of the Davao public
who are deprived of the chance to view and appreciate the film according to the published schedule of
Much more, the FDCP failed to consider the BVDI concern and sentiment having been made to believe that
the Producer’s Cut will be the official version to be used throughout the entire duration of the Filmfest.
Now, the BVDI, along with the rest of the stakeholders, is left with no other recourse but to air its disgust,
dismay and consternation through this Creative Protest. After this, the appropriate legal action. WE, the
Buhilaman Board, the Actors and Crew of the film, the B’LAAN community and all the Stakeholders of the
film, wage this ‘Creative Protest’ against MALAN’S pulling out.
TAKE “MALAN” BACK TO THE CINEMA SCREEN. . .! RETURN the Producer’s Cut of MALAN to the Screen
to be shown until the close of the Filmfest! IBALIK SI ‘MALAN’ SA TELON. . .!?
* * *
In a rejoinder, BVDI also wrote:
We hope this rejoinder recaps the context and further clarifies the rift that has put the producers of “Malan”
(Buhilaman Visions Davao Inc.) completely at odds with its hitherto director, Mr. Benjie Garcia.
- Buhilaman and its staff have their shortcomings, no doubt, on account of their inexperience in filmmaking
and some individual weaknesses and personal faults. All things being equal, however, these do not justify Mr.
Garcia’s unimaginable misconduct as a director and his actuations towards his associates and co-workers in
the making of “Malan.”
- The choice of Mr. Garcia to direct “Malan” was unfortunately not the result of a deliberate process. Short of
saying that he was imposed upon us, we nevertheless could be faulted for agreeing to the choice without
knowing who he was or whether he had a directorial track record to speak of (he has none, being a one-film
- When concerned quarters learned about our decision to allow Mr. Garcia to direct “Malan,” they advised us
against it. We stuck to our decision to keep him as director. The same quarters foresaw the risk of letting Mr.
Garcia to be on top of the creative process all by himself in the filming of “Malan.” They suggested to assign a
co-director (not an assistant director) with Mr. Garcia so that we as producers could bank on some control
should complications arise from Mr. Garcia’s conduct. We rejected it again.
- Immediately after the principal photography, and when Mr. Garcia had exhibited more than enough
reasons for us to fire him -- as again we were advised, we did not. We were hoping against hope that Mr.
Garcia would come to his senses. Buhilaman thought the conflict could be contained till the very last. So we
stretched our patience and put up with the despicable and bizarre behavior of Mr. Garcia.
- We put up with Mr. Garcia’s penchant for issuing threats and verbally abusing all the members of the board
of Buhilaman and the senior members of the creative staff. Oftentimes, he fired off personal attacks against
us -- a record of which we have kept, until one decided to have her name stricken off the credits so as not to
be associated with Mr. Garcia.
- Mr. Garcia arrogated unto himself an overwhelming power unknown in these parts. For instance, he
unilaterally designated some members of his family as producers of the film while excluding the name of Don
Pagusara as screenwriter in the credits.
- Finally, when the Buhilaman officers realized that all their critical comments and suggestions about the
treatment of the film were ignored by Mr. Garcia in the so-called director’s cut that was submitted to the Film
Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), Mr. Pagusara filed a protest with the body, in his official
capacity as the FDCP grantee for the film. Having been informed of the situation, the FDCP advised
Buhilaman to submit a producer’s cut in lieu of Mr. Garcia’s version.
- Other than the reasons cited above regarding Mr. Garcia, the producer’s cut no longer contains an
unwarranted and culturally insensitive sequence that blatantly offends the indigenous community in “Malan.”
By stubbornly insisting for its inclusion in his own version, Mr. Garcia only succeeded in showing off his
ignorance of the cultural context, which we as individual artists have so painstakingly considered in all our
artistic practice throughout the years. Had the sequence not been deleted, it would have desecrated the
integrity of the B’laan and created a basis for a volatile protest action against the film.
- The producer’s cut also reinstitutes a compelling massacre sequence that is integral in the dramatization of
the martial law affairs in the Philippines. By stubbornly insisting that it be excluded in the film, Mr. Garcia only
succeeded in showing off his ignorance about military rule and human rights in the Philippines.
- We cannot, in conscience, allow “Malan” to be exhibited without absolutely reflecting the truest of our
vision and intentions, much more in transgression of our dearly-held beliefs and principles about society and
- The producer’s cut is the official and only authorized rendition of “Malan,” as written by Mr. Pagusara,
based on the story of Mr. Peping Domingo, and as conceptualized by Mr. Nestor Horfilla. With it, we are
declaring that Mr. Garcia has ceased to be connected with the Buhilaman project. He is not, in any manner
whatsoever, authorized to come out with his so-called director’s cut, or else face the sanction of the law.