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Only In Hollywood

Two key Fil-Am talents behind ‘Smurfs’ series

By: -Columnist
/ 07:45 PM August 11, 2013


MARICEL Pagulayan: From visual effects supervisor to associate producer. File photo

Aside from John Butiu, Maricel Pagulayan is another Filipino-American film talent who worked on “The Smurfs” movies—starting as a visual effects supervisor and later on promoted to associate producer in the sequel.

(Butiu, whom we featured in this column yesterday, is a visual development artist at Sony Pictures Animation.)


An alumna of University of California, Berkeley, Maricel spent two years of high school at Maryknoll in the Philippines. Her credits include “Avatar,” “Superman Returns,” “X2” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”

What does being an associate producer mean to you as a woman and a member of the minority in a field dominated by men?

It’s more about being acknowledged as being part of the key “core team” helping to keep all the moving parts moving in the same direction on a given project. Although admittedly most decision-makers are men,  everyone has to earn the right to be at the table and be heard.

What were your main responsibilities as an associate producer?

Feature films are a huge undertaking. Responsibilities for “associate producer” are more in the realm of “trouble shooting” any creative management issue that happens to come up every day.

What were your challenges?

Clarity in communication and getting all the stakeholders to agree what the next step is or what the creative decision is at that moment in time.

What were the fun aspects?


Watching small Smurf characters come to life and evolve from the page to “funny and memorable performances” that connect with audiences.

THE SMURF named Vanity

Who were among the other Fil-Ams who worked on the film?

There are other Fil-Am women, including Evangeline “Lyn” Monroy. She’s another Fil-Am “partner in crime” who worked at Sony Imageworks as a digital production manager.

What other projects did you work on recently?

“The Smurfs” is quite a full-time gig.

What are your next projects?

Just meeting other filmmakers at various studios. Nothing quite at the moment.

(E-mail the columnist at Follow him at

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TAGS: Cinemas, Entertainment, John Butiu, Maricel Pagulayan, The Smurfs 2
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