'Pan de Salawal' is a heartwarming and hilarious tale starring celebrated actor Bodjie Pascua as Sal, a baker with a kidney problem, and young sensation Miel Espinoza as Aguy, a wandering kid with healing powers. Playing important are: Soliman Cruz, Madeleine Nicolas, Ruby Ruiz, Anna Luna, Felix Roco, JM Salvado, Ian Lomongo, Lorenzo Aguila, who make up the cast of characters whose lives are touched by Aguy. The film is the first full-length feature of writer/director Che Espiritu. It is produced by US-based CineFocus Productions in association with Urbanflix Philippines.
To children growing up in the 1990s, Bodjie Pascua is a familiar face; they knew him as the cheerful and energetic Kuya Bodjie in the children’s show Batibot. As the pessimistic and weakly Sal, Kuya Bodjie does a 180-degree turn to tug at the hearts of viewers. His moving portrayal earned for him a Best Actor nod in the Gawad Tanglaw Awards.
Miel, as Aguy meanwhile, is the perfect foil to the dour Sal. As Che remarks, “Miel and Kuya Bodjie create a lasting and endearing chemistry as Aguy and Sal.”
Only seven years old when she made Pan de Salawal, Miel felt right at home with her more experienced co-stars. Her spunky performance earned for her a Special Jury Prize for Acting at the 14th Cinemalaya Film Festival, as well as a Best Child Actor nomination from the PMPC Star Awards for Movies, who also nominated the entire Pan de Salawal cast for Best Acting Ensemble. Pan de Salawal also opened doors for Miel to be cast in ABS-CBN teleseryes, and in other films such as the rom-com Elise and the upcoming zombie flick, Block Z.
One could say that Pan de Salawal has become a gift to those who are part of it and it is their gift to the audience.
For the cast, their involvement is their contribution to the health advocacy that is part of the film’s message.
For CineFocus producers Herb Kimble and Matthew Godbey, it is a gesture of gratitude. Herb said in a previous interview, “I have committed to making films in the Philippines as a way of saying thank you to my fellow Filipino friends who have helped me gain success as a BPO entrepreneur in the Philippines.”
For writer-director Che, it is her tribute to the fantasy genre of the 90s that she grew up with. “Classic family-oriented and fantasy films like Magic Temple and Wansapanataym, The Movie,
inspired me to dream… I hope Pan de Salawal can open doors to reviving this genre that sparked our imagination.”