Mar 07
IBONG ADARNA NI MR. SHOOLI by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Mar 7, 2014

Necessity is the mother of invention. With the present situation where a movie producer is getting rarer and rarer, enterprising people have invented crowd funding. Similar to syndication, crowd funding is a conglomeration of investors.

A movie production requiring P20 million can be a reality if one can gather 10 or 20 investors. For a simple computation, the 10 investors can put in 2 million each or the 20 investors can pitch in 1 million each.

The more the investors, the smaller the investment. That’s the concept of crowd funding. And since a movie is a mixture of arts and business, a good prospect for crowd funding is a person with interest in arts, and of course, not to forget profit.

A promoter, one who gathers investors, should come up with a good movie project that is commercially viable and with artistic flavor. The proposal would include casting, staff and crew, location and work schedules.

Ibong Adarna director Jun Urbano and lead star Rocco Nacino

Ibong Adarna was born thru the efforts of Jun Urbano a.k.a. Mr. Shooli, the Mongolian who was born and raised in the Philippines. Direk Banong, as he is fondly called in the movie industry, wanted to prove that crowd funding can be done in the country.

After concretizing the pre-production requirements of the movie, i.e. storyline, sequence treatment, script, and finally desired location, Direk Banong knocked on doors for a possible investment in producing his movie.

Some politicians and not so rich investors gave their nod to Direk Banong. They believed in the movie because it’s not just a famous folklore but a tale that is educational and fitting for children. It can merit an endorsement by the department of education.

For commercial purposes, Ibong Adarna employs good humor. For cultural purposes, it has archaic but meaningful dialogues. For historical purposes, the movie reminds one of the colorful Philippine literature especially the costumes and props.

Pasay City mayor Antonino Calixto with the cellphone while Congressman Amado Bagatsing has his gaze at the back

Adding more luster is the casting. Rocco Nacino plays Sigasig, the hero of the story. Leo Martinez is the anti-hero who is a walking obstacle to Sigasig’s mission. Benjie Paras gives justice to Sipsiphayo, the dullard sidekick of Leo.

Joel Torre is the sick Sultan needing cure from the magical bird while Angel Aquino is the crying lady in the movie who is fraught with sadness due to the ailment of her husband. They are the parents of Sigasig.

An intended entry to the 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival, Direk Banong did not scrimp on the budget. Shot in different far-flung locations, Ibong Adarna boasts of the Banawe rice terraces with the authentic ethnic dance of the Ifugao tribe.

Leo Martinez as the anti-hero

Another cost to consider is the animation. Definitely the bird is a product of digital technology but the viewers would think otherwise. Kudos to the students of Naga City who helped with the CGI (Computer Generated Images) and animation.

Like the traditional cartoons, the viewers will surely be mesmerized by the colorful and magical vista of every scene. And although the storytelling was designed for kids, it’s also interesting to adults because of the unexpected twists and turns.

To spice up the expected ending, Direk Banong laced it with a cute love angle as a reward for the hero. And as a fitting lesson for the viewers, the anti-hero was happily forgotten ever after.

Ronnie Lazaro played the chief of Taong Manok tribe which was based in the Ifugao rice terraces

Direk Banong was not the first one to try crowd-funding. Brillante “Dante” Mendoza, the multi-awarded Indie director, was known to tap investors in exchange of honors for the country. Direk Dante is a habitue of foreign film festivals and competitions.

An enhanced version of crowd funding makes the actors co-producers or industrial partners. A small downpayment for goodwill money and the rest of the talent fee will be realized when the movie earns.

Direk Jun Urbano during the showing of Ibong Adarna

Ibong Adarna held an informal premiere in Tama Ng Cinema inside the Mowelfund Plaza on March 6, 2014. If and when Ibong Adarna makes money, you can bet that crowd funding will be the norm in the local movie industry.

Comments to this article can be sent to

Your FEEDBACK can be posted at