Pacquiao’s relationships with Jinkee, Mommy Dionesia crucial to his struggle (Part 2)

Mother Dionesia Pacquiao sits regally while watching her son fight in a Las Vegas ring

Mother Dionesia Pacquiao sits regally while watching her son fight in a Las Vegas ring

With wife Jinkee

With wife Jinkee

By Cristina DC Pastor

The FilAm (TF): Is “Manny” your first film?

Ryan Moore (RM): “Manny” is my first feature film. I started making short films when I was a kid. I got a hold of my dad’s camera when I was a young boy and we created stop motion animation videos using my Voltron toys. I loved seeing my toys come to life. That was the first time I was bitten by the movie-making bug.

Throughout middle and high school I wrote and directed short films starring my friends and classmates. The very first one was called “Dragon Slayer,” and I completed it at the age of 12. It was a silly film but it did carry a theme: don’t judge a book by its cover, especially if you come across a homeless person who happens to be an all-powerful Wizard.

TF: Would you consider Pacquiao to be a natural before the cameras?
RM: At first he wasn’t used to me being around and wasn’t too fond of the cameras. However after we became comfortable with one another and his trust for me grew, at times he seemed to forget the cameras were around.

TF: Are there any caveats? Aspects in his life that are off limits?
RM: Not really. Manny gave me full control and he never disrupted that. Over the course of the five years he never stepped foot into the editing room nor did he ask for any type of final cut rights. He was incredibly trusting of my process and never asked any questions. Most filmmakers who have done movies about other notable personalities are shocked because this is never usually the case.

TF: What do you want your film to convey about him?
RM: I wanted to depict Manny Pacquiao in the most honest way possible – in his own voice. I wanted to capture his journey from his humble beginnings in the Philippines all the way to the present. Since this is the only documentary that Manny allowed anyone to produce about him over a substantial part of his career, I wanted people to feel like they truly knew and understood his character.

I named it “Manny” for the very reason that after people watch this film I want them to feel like they know him on a first name basis. Manny believes that everything that happens in life is God’s Will: struggles and triumphs. I wanted to capture that essence of his character.

TF: Jinkee and Dionesia? How are they depicted in the film?

Diretor Ryan Moore: ‘Manny gave me full control’

Diretor Ryan Moore: ‘Manny gave me full control’

RM: Manny has two incredibly strong women in his life: his wife Jinkee and his mother Dionesia. His mother had a very difficult role in raising Manny and his siblings as a single mother. Although her presence is brief, the audience is able to see why Dionesia and Manny’s relationship was crucial to his struggle and ultimately his triumph as a fighter. When Manny recalls his early years, you can hear a sense of strength he learned from his mom when he talks about having to feed his family. She too is a fighter in her own right.

When Manny left the nest in hopes of providing for his mom and siblings, he then met Jinkee – the love of his life. To this day she is his rock. Even when he went astray, she stood by him. I think that Jinkee doesn’t receive enough credit for being a huge source of strength for Manny. Without her in his life, I believe that Manny wouldn’t have become who he is today. I wanted to show in the film she has been devoted to him since the day they met. That takes more emotional strength than most fighters who enter the ring possess.

TF: What is the film’s budget? Is this coming out of your pocket or do you have partners?
RM: Since I did this film independently, I had to knock on hundreds and hundreds of doors. Most people didn’t believe in it, but at the end of the day the people who supported it were friends and family. They kept me going for all these years and believed in my dream.

TF: Did you get a sense, being that close to him, if he really wanted to become president of the Philippines?
RM: Honestly I don’t know what Manny’s political aspirations are at the moment. He is constantly learning about himself and his purpose. So I think once he retires from boxing in about a year he’ll face that fork in the road.

‘Manny’ will have a New York premiere on January 23 at the AMC Empire 25. It will be sponsored by several community organizations, such as the Filipino American National Historical Society, the Fil-Am Press Club of New York, the Filipino American Museum, UniPro, Broadway Barkada and the Filipino School of New York and New Jersey.

Part 1: Director Ryan Moore: Navigating Pacquiao’s layers of entourage felt like a ‘covert operation’

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