• From Kiri Dalena, Co-Director and Co-Editor of the movie:
    The Guerrilla Is a Poet

    Maraming salamat sa lahat ng tumangkilik sa The Guerrilla is a Poet. It is my first full length work as a filmmaker but it would have been impossible to begin, build, and finish it without the support of a huge community. I thank Jose Maria Sison and Julieta De Lima and the activist community for their openness and kindness. I thank the wonderful crew and actors who gave their trust and continued to work with us inspite of the difficulties in pre-production, production, and post production. I thank our family, and friends in the film community who gave us their full support. I thank CineFilipino for taking a risk not just with our film but with the films of the rest of the 7 directors that they selected for their first festival. It has been an unforgettable saga and I suspect that it is far from over. I will thoughtfully name each one of you soon (after my migraine and current work subsides significantly). Padayon!

    JMS & Julie with Life Masks1269118_10151631056088038_873156346_o (1)


  • The poet is a guerrilla

    The guerrilla is like a poet
    Keen to the rustle of leaves
    The break of twigs
    The ripples of the river
    The smell of fire
    And the ashes of departure.

    Jose Maria Sison

    By Carol Pagaduan Araullo
    September 26, 2013

    SARI and Kiri Dalena’s ground-breaking film, The Guerilla is a Poet, takes its

    carolinspiration from Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Founding Chairman Jose Maria “Ka Joma” Sison’s well-known poem “The Guerilla is Like a Poet.” As Prof. Sison points out in the film, the poem was the fruit of his imagination, having been written even before he and Bernabe “Ka Dante” Buscayno founded the New People’s Army (NPA) in March 1969.

    The film’s depiction of revolution in the Philippine setting and life in the revolution is in the same way described, but in a figurative manner, in Prof. Sison’s prescient poem wherein the guerilla fighter at the forefront of “the people’s war” is likened to the poet writing on the same theme and both, in so doing, creatively giving life to “the people’s epic” of revolution.

    The poem itself is a testament to the human element — the “humanity” — in waging a people’s war. Objectively speaking, war, even one with a just cause, can be dehumanizing. Thus the usual portrayal of the guerilla is that of a hardened person inured to his harsh surroundings, incapable of emotions and of the appreciation of the finer things in life such as art and poetry. Prof. Sison’s poem departs from and negates this depiction. Read more

  • Karl Medina, Pen’s eldest son, named CineFilipino Best Actor for portrayal of Joma Sison

    By Edwin P. Sallan
    24 September 2013

    Karl Medina was honestly not aware that his acclaimed portrayal as revolutionary icon Jose Ma. Sison in Sari and Kiri Dalena’s “The Guerrilla is a Poet” would make him a frontrunner for the Best Actor race in the ongoing CineFilipino film festival.

    So when he lived up to many of the  fearless forecasts, a surprised Karl admitted that he really did not expect to win an award for his starmaking role as the Communist Party of the Philippines founder. Read more


    By VERA Files
    The Inbox
    Sun, Sep 22, 2013

    The cast of The Guerilla Is A Poet.

    By Pablo A. Tariman, VERA Files

    A film like “The Guerilla Is a Poet” can be viewed on many levels.

    The cast of The Guerilla Is A Poet.

    The cast of The Guerilla Is A Poet.

    For those who were not yet born anywhere near the declaration of martial law, the film is an apt introduction to the Marcos era of the 60s and the early 70s and how the political and social milieu of that era affected an Ilocano named Jose Ma. Sison who is better known as one of the founders of the pre-martial law Kabataang Makabayan and later, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

    For the record, the filmmakers — Kiri and Sari Dalena — were not born on that critical period of the country’s history. But their curiosity and subsequent research allowed them to know people who defied the establishment to fight for something they believed in.

    They found an interesting subject in the persona of activist Jose Maria Sison who hails from Cabugao, Ilocos Sur.

    And so the filmmakers made a trip to The Netherlands and filmed a reunion that showed the viewers how the activist-turned-revolutionary was doing in that foreign country. Read more


    guerillapoet-coversketch-thumbJose Maria Sison.
    Foreword by Jonas Staal.
    Expected 2013
    ISBN: 978-90-817091-8-7
    296 pages | 5,25″ x 8″
    Language: English, Pilipino
    Price: 15,00 Euro

    This book is titled after the world-renowned poem of Jose Maria Sison, “The Guerrilla Is Like a Poet,” which celebrates with natural imagery and in a lyrical way the Filipino people’s revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy against foreign and feudal oppression and exploitation. The book contains poems from Sison’s Prison and Beyond, which won the Southeast Asia WRITE Award, as well as new poems that further develop the theme of struggle for national and social liberation as well as exile. It also carries articles of creative writers on the significance and relevance of his poetry. Sison is a Filipino revolutionary with extensive guerrilla experience and has been a recognized poet since his student days at the University of the Philippines. The publication of this book has been sparked by the effort of the Academy for Cultural Activism of the New World Summit to present the people’s culture in the national democratic struggle in the Philippines. Read more


    Karl Medina as Best Actor 63914_10151889480699311_647669784_n

    Karl Medina, who plays Jose Maria Sison in The Guerrilla Is a Poet, wins the award for Best Actor in the CineFilipino Film Festival.

    Four Awardees1236836_10151748252684877_1649531643_n

    The Guerrilla Is a Poet wins four awards in the CineFilipino Film Festival: Best Actor (Karl Medina), Best Supporting Actor (Bong Edralin Cabrera), Best in Editing (Keith Sicat and Kiri Dalena) and Best in Musical Scoring (Datu Arellano).

    Long File of Audience 1274102_10151891602234311_364747286_o

    Long file for The Guerrilla Is a Poet. Full house in several screenings.


    by Mari-An Santos
    posted on September 23, 2013
    PEP Philippine Entertainment Portal

    Karl Medina (right) brings quiet strength to his role as the young Jose Ma. Sison in The Guerilla is a Poet. He is joined in this photo by the actor who plays Ka Dante, the  Commander of the New People's Army (NPA).  PHOTO: FROM FACEBOOK ACCOUNT OF THE GUERILLA IS A POET

    Karl Medina (right) brings quiet strength to his role as the young Jose Ma. Sison in The Guerilla is a Poet. He is joined in this photo by the actor who plays Ka Dante, the Commander of the New People’s Army (NPA).

    It is fortuitous that the CineFilipino entry The Guerrilla is a Poet premieres on almost the same date as Martial Law was declared more than four decades ago.

    Ferdinand Marcos announced on September 21, 1972 that Martial Law was in effect and on September 18, 2013 moviegoers were able to watch The Guerilla is a Poet.

    Directors Sari and Kiri Dalena have translated a thoughtful script into a poetic film. The Guerilla is a Poet is not a documentary. At least, not entirely and not in the traditional sense, though it features interviews with Jose Maria Sison and his wife Julie de Lima in The Netherlands, and Bernabe “Ka Dante” Buscayno in the Philippines.

    Jose Ma. Sison is the founding chairperson of the re-established Communist Party of the Philippines while Ka Dante was the Commander of the Maoist New People’s Army (NPA).

    The film opens with Joma and Julie at their apartment in Utrecht in winter, a quiet yet eerily lonely scene; it shifts to a joyous birthday celebration, as friends join Joma in celebrating his 74th birthday. He is asked the perfunctory: “What is your wish?” Instead of a succinct reply, the celebrant pauses… this signals the start of the flashback. Read more


    By J. Chew
    Posted on September 20, 2013

    In the poem by Jose Maria Sison, the comparison is overt: the guerilla is like a poet. The film by Sari Dalena and Kiri Dalena drops the assertion of difference (or resemblance) and makes equal the two visions of the guerilla and the poet. This shift is not merely from one literary device to another, and is not limited to the film title. Dropping the hint of comparison (the “like”) makes the inversion possible: that great poetry (and by extension any great work of art) is revolutionary. Read more