Love meets history in Ho's '1521'

Love meets history in Ho's '1521'

The film “1521” has sparked both anticipation and debate as it approaches its Cebu premiere on June 5, 2024. Directed by Michael Barder and produced by Francis Lara Ho, this historical fiction drama delves into the significant events of the Battle of Mactan, presenting a unique blend of historical narrative and romantic fiction.

Cast, production

“1521” boasts an impressive cast, featuring acclaimed actress Bea Alonzo, Hollywood veteran Danny Trejo as Ferdinand Magellan, Michael Copon as Lapu-Lapu, Hector David Jr., Maricel Laxa and Costas Mandylor. The film has already garnered international recognition, winning awards at the Athens International Monthly Art Film Festival (AIMAFF), Sweden Film Awards (SFA) and the London Independent Film Awards among others.

During the press conference on May 18 at Waterworld Hotel in Mandaue City, Ho invited the media and shared insights into the film’s creation. Despite his background in business rather than filmmaking, Ho expressed his passion for bringing this story to life.

He discussed the heartwarming reception “1521” received during its US premiere, where it was screened in over 650 theaters and warmly received by a diverse audience including local and foreign dignitaries.

Love meets history

Ho also addressed the backlash the film has faced in the Philippines, acknowledging challenges such as the lack of consultation with historians and experts, which has led to debates about the film’s historical accuracy. He openly discussed his experience and the lessons learned throughout the production process.

The producer explained that “1521” aims to celebrate Filipino heritage by portraying the heroic defense led by Lapu-Lapu against Spanish invaders. However, it also introduces a romantic subplot between a native princess-seer, portrayed by Bea Alonzo and a Spanish soldier, adding a layer of cross-cultural romance to the narrative.

While the filming location was in Palawan rather than Cebu, “1521” offers a visually captivating experience with its ambitious set designs and compelling performances.

“1521” presents a unique blend of historical events and creative storytelling. While it may not adhere strictly to historical facts, it provides an engaging narrative that aims to spark interest in Filipino history. For those looking for an entertaining take on the Battle of Mactan, this film offers a different kind of perspective.


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