Juana C. The Movie - in cinemas this June 5

If you are a fan or follower of the viral social advocacy videos of Juana Change, you should go and see Juana C. The Movie which opens in theaters this June 5. I got to attend the star-studded movie premiere at the SM Megamall last May 28 and was one of the few hundreds who got to see the full movie a week prior to its regular cinema run.

When I say the movie premiere was star-studded, I wasn't only referring to the cast who were present (led of course by Juana Change herself, Mae Paner, with Niño Muhlach, Joel Torre, Joel Lamangan, Soxie Topacio, Candy Pangilinan, Malu De Guzman, Ronnie Lazaro, Soliman Cruz, John James Uy, Angelina Kanapi, Annicka Dolonius, Jelson Bay, Madeleine Nicolas, Paolo Cabañero, Perry Dizon, Lauren Novero, Kristine Kintana, Angel Raymundo) along with highly acclaimed directors Raymond Red and Jade Castro and multi-awarded playwright and screenwriter Rody Vera.  I was also referring to the star-studded roster of special guests from the fields of politics, music and the arts who attended the premiere and stayed to watch the movie 'til the very end. Some of the celebrity guests I spotted were Jim Paredes, Congresswoman Risa Hontiveros, stage actor-director Audi Gemora, among others.

The first full-length movie venture of Laganap Productions, Juana C. The Movie is what writer-columnist Jessica Zafra describes as a "rare animal in contemporary cinema: an advocacy movie in the form of a sex-comedy."  It is a non-conventional laugh-out-loud film which, though seemingly brimming with no-holds-barred irreverence, is also spiked with an awakening dose of social relevance.

Juana C. The Movie tells the story of Juana, a happy-go-lucky lass from an indigenous tribe up in the mountains of Northern Luzon, who was forced to take a scholarship at an elite university in Manila in the hopes of someday becoming a lawyer and be able to save her community's ancestral land from greedy capitalists who are poisoning their once crystal-clear river with chemical mining and transforming their agricultural lands into posh tourist resorts. Juana is however sidetracked and sent wayward by her desire to belong in the IN-crowd of bar-hopping, credit card-swiping and drug-overdosed youths and is thus compelled to enter the flesh trade to earn money and keep up with her vices. As she gets enmeshed into the high-class escort industry, Juana finds herself tangled in a world of corruption among the rich and powerful whose dirty schemes involve murdering people whom Juana loves.

Watch the full movie trailer here:

ABOUT JUANA CHANGE (From "Who is Juana Change?" by Rody Vera)
Artists in the Philippines with a long history of serving the function of inspiring and goading sectors into action are becoming more active. One of the initiatives of a small group of artists is the Juana Change Movement. 
Juana Change has evolved into a continuing project of advocacy campaigns for freedom, justice, and clean and good governance using the sharpest political satire hoping to evoke a social sentiment for change. The idea for Juana Change was brainstormed by a group of artists and social activists, who, because of lack of money and other resources, decided to create small video episodes and upload it to the Internet video servers for public viewing.
The episodes feature Juana Change, a Filipino generic character who may at some instances represent an agent for social change or at some other instances the exact opposite.
Juana is a pun that refers to two diametrically opposed political stances on change. One referring to "Wanna Change" indicating an expressed need for radical reforms in the Philippine society and politics. The other refers to “Wa Na Change” (meaning change is hopeless). This dichotomy that reflects the apathy and the sincere hope of a divided nation is crystallized in the different episodes that lampoons powerful politicians and corrupt officials as well as calling for a broader form of action amongst the majority.
In more than four years of its existence, (since 2008), the Juana Change has turned into a movement composed of volunteers and artists dedicated to utilizing the power of media to keep the vigilance in maintaining the increasing victories against corruption, exploitation, and social injustice. Through videos, live events appearances, short plays, and now, a movie, Juana Change Movement hopes to continue and spread the advocacy for an increased socio-political awareness and love of country.

Catch Juana C. The Movie when it hits cinemas across the country this June 5.

The cast of JUANA C. THE MOVIE

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