“Gensan Punch,” the upcoming film by celebrated Filipino director Brillante Mendoza (“Kinatay,” “Ma’ Rosa,” “Alpha: The Right To Kill”), has been set as an HBO Asia Original movie. It will become available on regional streaming service HBO Go in the next few months.
Ahead of that, the film will have its world premiere next month at the Busan International Film Festival, and follow that with an out-of-competition gala selection at November’s Tokyo International Film Festival. In Busan, it appears in the Window on Asian Cinema” section and is also one of seven Asian films nominated for the festival’s Kim Jiseok Award.
The Japan and Philippines coproduction film is a fact-based story about a Japanese man with a prosthetic leg who seeks to become a professional boxer. He did his training in the so-called Gensan Quarter of General Santos City, which has long been known for producing athletes, including former champion boxer and current presidential candidate Manny Pacquiao.
The film was created and written by Honee Alipio. It was produced and directed by Mendoza, produced by Takahiro Yamashita and Krisma Maclang Fajardo, and executive produced by Mendoza, Simon Crowe and Fumie Suzuki Lancaster. The story is told in English with additional Japanese and Tagalog dialog.
With filming in both the Philippines and Japan, “Gensan Punch” stars Shogen (“Death Note,” “Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist”), Ronnie Lazaro (“Affliction,” “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story”), Kaho Minami (“Dream Street,” “Hotaru”), Beauty Gonzales (“The Heiress” “Angelito: Batang Ama”) and Vince Rillon (“3pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon!,” “Ang Probinsyano”).
The film tackles the issue of discrimination towards the disabled, especially in competitive sport.
“It’s been a pleasure working with Brillante and his production team on this stunning project. Gensan Punch is not only a story about boxing, but also a tale about overcoming adversity in the most remarkable ways. I fully expect it to turn heads in Busan,” said Magdalene Ew, WarnerMedia’s head of content – entertainment in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The announcement comes shortly after the debut of “On the Job,” another HBO Asia Original from another Philippines director Erik Matti. Now streaming on HBO Go, the series stars John Arcilla who won the Coppa Volti at the Venice Film Festival on Sept. 11. Warner Media and HBO Asia are also behind “Forbidden,” the Thailand-set chiller that appears in Busan’s debut On Screen sidebar.