AMERICAN filmmakers Leon Gast and Ryan Moore chronicle Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s rise from poverty to becoming boxing’s only eight- division world champion and Sarangani congressman via the documentary “Manny.” It was among films screened at the ongoing South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Festival and Conference in Austin, Texas, under the Documentary Spotlight category.
“It’s been getting good reviews,” Raffy Puno, one of the films’ co-producers, said in an interview at the local premiere for the movie, held Monday. Puno explained the need for a documentary about the pugilist, relating how inspiring Pacquiao’s life story is. “It’s a story that every Filipino can relate. He came from nothing and look at where he is now,” he said. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Liam Neeson, “Manny” begins with Pacquiao fighting his first few bouts in some obscure gym.
It also showed a glimpse of Pacquiao’s childhood years in Mindanao and his struggles in Manila after running away from home at 16. The film also includes interviews with his wife Jinkee Pacquiao, trainer Freddie Roach, actor Mark Wahlberg, TV host Jimmy Kimmel, Jeremy Piven and others who got to know the Pacman up close. Asked how Liam Neeson got involved in the documentary, Puno said, “Surprisingly enough, it was just a phone call… we just called him… it was as simple as that. He’s a huge fan of Manny Pacquiao.” Puno has high hopes for the film, sharing how Pacquiao is “so beloved not just by his countrymen but by everyone in the world.” Distributed locally by Solar Entertainment Corporation and featuring music from acclaimed Hollywood composer Lorne Balfe, “Manny” will open in cinemas on Wednesday, March 12. (Rowena Tan/mb.com.ph)