By Mell T. Navarro
Kamoteng Kahoy was one of the Sine Direk Series from Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI), produced ng APT Productions ni Mr. Tony Tuviera, with supervising producer Ms. Malou Choa-Fagar held in 2009. The movie’s premiere night was held on June 2009 at the Cine Adarna ng UP Film Institute sa University of the Philippines (Diliman). From award-winning director Maryo J. Delos Reyes and equally multi-awarded screenwriter Ricky Lee, Kamoteng Kahoy is a story of friendship and the transformation of people in one town after a tragedy. Inspired by the poisoning of 27 school children in Bohol during their recess, kumain sila ng kamoteng kahoy (o “maruya”) na sinasabing naging poisonous dahil isang insecticide ang aksidenteng naihalo sa pagluluto nito. Bida ng pelikula ang dalawang popular child actors na sina Nash Aguas and Robert “Buboy” Villar, with veteran actress Ms. Gloria Romero na gumaganap bilang ang Lola na siyang responsable sa pagkamatay ng mga bata. Sa kanyang welcome remarks, sinabi ni Direk Maryo (himself a Boholian), may personal attachment sa kanya ang Kamoteng Kahoy dahil ito’y kanyang “brain child” umano, with constant communication with Ricky Lee, magmula nu’ng naganap ang nasabing insidente sa Bohol noong 2005. Present sa premiere night sina Nash, Buboy, at iba pang nasa cast na sina Ana Capri, Sharlene San Pedro, child actor Julio Pisk, Meryll Soriano, Anton Bernardo, Marissa Sanchez, Gerald Madrid (who still has that fine screen presence), and Manila Councilor Yul Servo. Sumuporta rin ang ibag pang DGPI officers tulad nina Directors Joel Lamangan and Soxie Topacio, who also had their Fushia and Ded Na Si Lolo, respectively, shown during the Sine Direk series sa mga sinehan last year. Rated “A” ang nasabing pelikula, mula sa Film Ratings Board.