Philippine distributor of ‘Elcano and Magellan’ ‘re-evaluates’ film amid backlash

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Philippine distributor of ‘Elcano and Magellan’ ‘re-evaluates’ film amid backlash

(Philstar.com) – November 8, 2019 – 6:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine distributor of Spanish-produced animated film “Elcano and Magellan” said Friday it will “re-evaluate” the movie after it received backlash for its historical inaccuracies.

“After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to re-evaluate the movie. We are in the process of inviting historians, members of the academe and film experts to a film preview,” Crystal Sky Multimedia said in a statement.

“We will base our next steps and actions on their comments and recommendations,” it added.

The controversial movie follows the voyage of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Spanish navigator Juan Sebastian Elcano. The two set sail in 1519 and arrived in Cebu, Philippines in 1521. 

People on social media immediately criticized the film for “glorifying colonialism” and portraying Lapu-Lapu — a Philippine hero and an icon of the Battle of Mactan — as antagonist.

The project was produced by Dibulitoon Studio, a Spain-based animation production house, and distributed by Barton Films. 

FROM INTERAKSYON: ‘Elcano & Magellan’ film is riling some Filipinos but historians have a sober take

NHCP: We respect artistic freedom

Commenting on the backlash received by the animated film, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines said that while artistic freedom must be respected, Filipinos should be critical and open to learning more about their ancestors.

“One must understand the nature of history as biased, subjective and selective,” the NHCP said, adding that Elcano and Magellan conforms to the Spanish point of view of history.

“The NHCP, as the government’s Philippine history agency, does not endorse nor critique films and other art forms. What we request the public is to be critical,” it continued.

Separately, historian Xiao Chua urged the public to stay “chill” and point out to younger viewers the historical inaccuracies of the film.

“Why would we react that way if we’re proud to be Filipinos? Let them show the film,” Chua said in Filipino.

“The producers of the film are Spaniards, of course that’s their historical perspective,” he added. — Ian Nicolas Cigaral with a report from News5