They ruled the box office, turned newbies into stars and stars into award winners.
Many long retired from the scene, 11 of them have been coaxed out of hiatus or more lucrative teleserye directing jobs to make the (budgeted) movie of their dreams.
Last Feb. 15 the Film Development Council of the Philippines presented 10 of them to the press at Anabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City.
Who’s on the list
On hand were movie directors Romy Suzara, Gil Portes, Maryo J. de los Reyes, Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, Mel Chionglo, Tikoy Aguiluz, Joel Lamangan, Jun Urbano and screenwriter and comedian Bibeth Orteza representing her husband Carlitos Siguion-Reyna.
Together with the absent Chito Roño, Elwood Perez and Jose Javier Reyes, these directors were chosen to showcase new work in this year’s 2013 Sining Pambansa National Film Festival.
Called the Masters Edition, the festival is providing a cash grant of PhP1.5 million to each of the directors to make a movie about whatever they want, as long as they shoot on location in their respective provinces.
The location requirement enables local government units to promote and showcase their locales as potential moviemaking destinations.
The issue of funds
The directors are also expected to raise an equivalent amount in order to get their movie done.
The completed films will be screened on September 7 at the Mall of Asia.
A scheme that will allow 50 people to vote and rank all 12 movies for a best picture prize is also being considered.
However, that prompted Joel Lamangan to comment, “I do not like that idea. We are masters already.”
Why only 12 movies but 13 directors
As to why there are only 12 movies but 13 directors, Peque Gallaga reminded all that Lore Reyes, with whom he has worked on 26 out of the 36 movies has directed, ishis co-director.
“He is not my assistant, he is my co-director,” Gallaga stressed. “He is my partner and not my associate.”
VIEW VID: LJ Reyes on FHM Philippines
The FDCP also says that women directors will be represented “next time.”
Some of the movies now in production are:
“May Tinik ang Huwad na Bulaklak,” directed by Romy Suzara. A middle-aged gay couturier struggles to hang on to his dignity amidst dilemmas related to his sexuality. Possible location: Suzara’s hometown of Nueva Ecija. Fun Fact: Lists his movie, “Sutla” (1999), as a personal favorite because of the “iskandalo” it created when the late Cardinal Sin condemned the film which was about live sex performers.
“Eman,” by Tikoy Aguiluz. A coming-of-age story about poet and revolutionary Emmanuel Lacaba who joined the New People’s Army. He was killed, age 27, during an encounter with the police in Asuncion, Davao del Norte in 1976. Eman’s brother, poet and journalist Pete Lacaba, now the editor of Yes! Magazine, is being tapped to write the script. Locations: bohemian Ermita in the 60s, Davao, Mount Banahaw. Fun Fact: Aguiluz directed 2011’s “Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story” where the movie ran uncredited because Aguiluz wasn’t happy with the final edit.
RELATED: "La Paloma" by Ely Buendia, from Tikoy Aguiluz's "Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story"
“Crossroad” by Gil Portes. Alma, a nurse in her mid-20s, is about to get married when she learns she is adopted. She postpones the wedding, sets out to find her father and in the process finds herself. Location: Pagbilao, Quezon. Fun fact: Portes’s 2000 movie, “Markova: Comfort Gay” made history at the Brussels Film Festival in 2001 when Dolphy and sons Eric and Epi Quizon all won the Best Actor and Best Actress award at the same time for their cross-dressing roles in the movie.
“Lihis” by Joel Lamangan. Set during the dark days of Martial Law in the 70s, two gay members of the NPA find themselves entangled in a web of frustration, despair and victory as they struggle to fight for their love, forbidden by the NPA. Starring: Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon, Lovi Poe, Isabelle Daza. Fun fact: Lamangan has made 70 movies, including the "Mano Po" series, "The Flor Contemplacion Story" (1995) with Nora Aunor, and a pile of teleseryes.
“Lorenzita” by Mel Chionglo. In 1955, the residents of a small village in Quezon are shocked by the disturbing secret of a soldier and his common-law wife. It takes the protagonists another 60 years to find forgiveness and retribution. Based on a true story with a script by Ricky Lee. Location: Quezon. Fun Fact: Known for his risque themes, Chionglo says “Lucia” (1992) and “Midnight Dancer” (1994), the first of a trilogy of gay-themed movies, stand out because he didn’t have to compromise on any of them.
“Oro” by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna. A modern, dark comedy with elements of fantasy set in Smoky Mountain in Tondo, Manila. Starring: Cris Villonco and Rafa Siguion-Reyna, the director’s 22-year-old son. Location: Tondo, Manila. Fun fact: The word “oro” means “gold” in Spanish but it also translates to “shit” in Waray, says Siguion-Reyna’s wife Bibeth Orteza, who represented her husband at the press launch.
“The River” by Maryo J. de los Reyes. The lives of three very different people collide and intersect on the Loboc River in Bohol. Starring: Mylene Dizon, Ryan Sese and Max Collins. Location: Bohol. Fun fact: Of the movies he’s made, “Magnifico” (2003), “Annie Batungbakal” (1979) and “Bagets” (1984) are among his favorites.
“Proserpina de Manila” by Elwood Perez. An ambidextrous, aging author calls on his Muse to get rid of his writer’s block. Starring: Amalia Fuentes and Vangie Labalan. Possible location: Perez is from Pampanga. Fun fact: Maker of commercial blockbusters during the 70s, Elwood last directed a movie nine years ago.
“Sonata” by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. An artist gives up on the world only to meet a young boy who brings the world to her doorstep. Starring: Cherie Gil, Richard Gomez. Locations: the towns of Silay, Cadiz and Manapla in Negros Occidental. Fun fact: Gallaga directed Joel Torre in his first starring role in “Oro, Plata, Mata” (1982), which also starred Cherie Gil. In “Sonata,” he directs Torre’s nephew who plays the young boy in the movie. Plus, Gallaga is using the same house in Manapla where he shot “Oro Plata Mata.”
“Badil” (working title) by Chito Roño. On the eve of election day, the son of an ailing party leader witnesses the corruption of the voting system in their barrio. Possible location: Samar. Fun fact: One of many directors of the “Shake, Rattle & Roll” horror franchise, a staple of the yearly Metro Manila Film Festival, Roño once said the series was “parang Christmas light… na tuwing dumarating ang Pasko, lagi itong ikinakabit ng mga tao.”