Contributed by Sandy Cagurangan
“Apo Hapon,” a highly anticipated new film, is all set to bring together a stellar cast of Filipino and Japanese talents for an unforgettable cinematic experience. Penned by the talented Eric Ramos and produced under GK Productions, this marks the company’s inaugural venture into Philippine cinema, hinting at more promising projects in the pipeline. The film is helmed by the award-winning director Joel Lamangan, adding to the anticipation surrounding its release.
Headlining the cast is none other than Kapamilya heartthrob JC De Vera, who is sure to dazzle audiences with his on-screen charm. Joining him is the captivating Japanese newcomer, Sakura Akiyoshi, making her grand debut in Filipino cinema. Adding to the international flair is Fumiya Sankai, a former PBB alumnus and the first pure Japanese official housemate, ready to impress with his acting prowess.
Adding to the star-studded lineup is Nella Dizon, a rising beauty queen and the talented daughter of the esteemed Allen Dizon and Kapuso GMA actress, Lianne Valentin. Alongside these promising performers are the reliable and seasoned actors Jim Pebanco, Perla Bautista, Marcus Madrigal, Rico Barrera, and the charming Kapuso hunk, Prince Clemente.
“Apo Hapon” promises a captivating narrative that revolves around the journey of a Japanese travel vlogger with a heart for the Philippines, Mizuki (Sakura). Teaming up with a Filipino historian named Reyson (JC), Mizuki embarks on a mission to interview the people of Cordillera Province. Their quest leads them to uncover the secrets of Kazuo Toro (Fumiya) during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines and the profound impact he had on the lives of the locals.
Director Joel Lamangan shared his enthusiasm for the project, describing it as a true collaboration between Filipino and Japanese artists. He expressed that “Apo Hapon” beautifully portrays the heartwarming friendship that blossomed between Filipinos and Japanese during World War II. The story delves into the life of a Japanese man who stayed in the Philippines after the war and became a hero to the people he touched.
The casting process was meticulous, with GK Productions selecting a seasoned Japanese actor to portray the elder Kazuo Toro, adding authenticity and depth to the character. The entire ensemble is thrilled to work with the visionary director, Joel Lamangan, as many of them will be collaborating with him for the first time.
The film’s production is brimming with excitement as it prepares to commence filming in the enchanting landscapes of Benguet. With a perfect blend of romance and comedy, “Apo Hapon” is set to capture the hearts of audiences both in the Philippines and beyond. As we eagerly await its release, we can’t help but anticipate the magic that this unique cross-cultural collaboration will bring to the big screen.