St. Ignatius ‘present’ during Ignacio filming

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JesCom creative director Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin, Andreas Muñoz, director Paolo Dy, and Jescom head Fr. Emmanuel Alfonso, S.J at “Ignacio de Loyola” movie press conference at Cabalen restaurant, Quezon City, May 2, 2016. (Photo: Nirva Delacruz)

MANILA, May 4, 2016 – What would it be like to have a saint on the creative team of a film about his life? The director, producers, cast, and crew of Jesuit Communications Philippines’ most ambitious project to date, the movie “Ignacio de Loyola”, know the answer.

“I felt like st. ignatius was exerting editorial control over the film at a lot of the times,” shared Paolo Dy, a Filipino director who makes his feature film debut with the JesCom movie, which will be out in theaters in July 2016.

“We felt that St. Ignatius was there guiding us. As you know Php50 million is not a big amount if you shoot abroad. You have to pay for everything, including soil,” added JesCom creative director Pauline Mangilog-Saltarin during a press conference on May 2.

The bread, soil, sheep story

According to Saltarin, the 16th century theologian and founder of the Society of Jesus made his presence felt from day 1 when the technical crew were faced with the logistical nightmare of having to produce a flock of sheep, artisanal bread and cheese, and soil to cover up the already-cemented and modern-looking castle that was supposed to be the castle of Loyola in today’s Gipuzkoa, Basque Country, Spain.

She said the crew had to scout nearby areas for the three things they needed for some of the scenes, eventually being uncannily led to the right place at the right time, something which they could only attribute to the Jesuits’ first Superior General guidance.

“Our production designer saw a shepherd with a flock… He said would you happen to be here on so and so date…and the shepherd said ‘Yes, because we will be bringing [the sheep] down… Just tell me when and where and we’ll be there,’” recounted Saltarin, adding that the same shepherd would offer their own bakery that could provide artisanal bread and cheese, food that would depict the era of the revered saint.

“[The shepherd said], ‘We do have our own bakery, we have our own milk…so we can give you.’ And these things were given to us for free,” added Saltarin.

Deleted scene

Finally, on the same day, they saw a pick-up truck unloading loads of dirt by the side of the road.

The crew immediately approached them and asked them to deliver the soil to their location and “they readily did”, said Saltarin.

“These are signs… It’s not even a sign. St. Ignatius was present. And these are just three [instances] of the many, many things [that happened],” said Saltarin.

Dy personally felt the saint’s intervention when they shot a scene but decided against using it because it started to rain while shooting.

“…and looking back… You know, the story’s better without that scene,” he said, noting the saint’s influence on the creative process of producing the Php50-million movie that stars Spanish actor Andreas Muñoz in the lead role. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCPNews)

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