Actor-Director Chris Soriano’s ‘The Master Chief: Subic Bay’ Confirms August Shoot, Actress Heart Evangelista Set To Appear

EXCLUSIVE: Actor-director Chris Soriano has announced that production for The Master Chief: Subic Bay will commence in August, with top Filipino actress Heart Evangelista set to appear in the film.

The Master Chief: Subic Bay will be Soriano’s fourth feature film and serve as the sequel to The Master Chief: Part One. The film streamed on Prime Video as well as Apple TV in February 2024 and followed the story of Gabe Rosario, a Filipino-American sailor in the U.S. Navy. He discovers the “Filipino Mafia,” a tight-knit group of sailors striving for success. However, when racial tensions erupt and an arms dealer threatens their ship, Gabe sets out on a secret mission to unite the crew, capture the arms dealer, and earn respect.

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According to Soriano, The Master Chief: Subic Bay will delve deeper into the challenges faced by Filipino sailors in the U.S. Navy during the 1980s. The second instalment will follow the journey of Wilfredo Tabalon as he navigates the hardships of earning respect and overcoming racial tensions while pursuing his dreams of advancement in the Navy.

After appearing in Soriano’s earlier film The Wedding Hustler, Evangelista is set to reunite with the actor-director again on The Master Chief: Subic Bay. Evangelista has starred in TV series I Left My Heart in Sorsogon, My Korean Jagiya and feature film Mano Po 6: A Mother’s Love. She is represented by Sparkle, the talent agency owned by the Philippines’ GMA Network.

Mark De Leon, who was part of the U.S. Navy for 11 years, will serve as director of photography of The Master Chief: Subic Bay. He directed and shot the feature film Revelry and also worked as a co-cinematographer for an episode of UNUM: The Series.

The Master Chief: Subic Bay not only celebrates the determination and perseverance of Filipino sailors
but also honors the legacy of individuals like retired Command Master Chief Leopoldo Albea, whose
remarkable achievements serve as a source of inspiration,” said Soriano.

“My father served and joined in Subic Bay. He was a storekeeper in the navy for 20 years and those are the jobs that they would give to Filipinos joining the navy. You’ll be either a cook or a storekeeper. When you are in charge of food or supplies, you often get given the nickname ‘Filipino Mafia.’ That was the nickname they gave all the Filipinos. It wasn’t from anything negative or bad; it was from a place of resourcefulness. That’s what we’re trying to do when making these independent movies too — being resourceful, using what we have.”

He added that managing the budget to make a military movie as an independent filmmaker proved to be a major challenge for the first film, but credited his team as well as the work of his wife, Hillary Soriano, who served as executive producer.

With the second instalment, Soriano said he hoped he can better reflect how the ‘Filipino Mafia’ will be remembered and perceived.

“A lot of navy sailors look at the ‘Filipino Mafia’ as a controversial term. This isn’t a name that we gave ourselves, it’s a name that other sailors gave us,” said Soriano. “My vision and mission here are to show that the ‘Filipino Mafia’ isn’t anything bad. It’s camaraderie, it’s us Filipinos working together to help out our fellow sailor, no matter black or white, male or female. We’re here for one mission, which is to serve, and I want to make sure that this movie showcases that and also show that Filipinos can lead by example.”

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