TV and film director Joel Lamangan, a participant in the 2013 Sineng Pambansa All-Masters’ Edition, don’t see veteran filmmakers as competing with the younger ones for film grants. “We just want to show them the kind of work we do,” he told Inquirer recently.
Lamangan is one of the recipients of seed funds from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), the government body that mounted the festival to help veteran directors realize their dream movies.
Aside from Lamangan, the participating directors include Maryo J. delos Reyes, Elwood Perez, Romy Suzara, Jun Urbano, Gil Portes, Peque Gallaga, Lore Reyes, Mel Chionglo, Tikoy Aguiluz, Carlos Siguion-Reyna and Jose Javier Reyes. The festival is ongoing until Sept. 17 at SM malls nationwide.
Lamangan elaborated: “Young directors can learn a thing or two from watching the works of veterans. This project aims to revive the industry. What’s important here is that there will be opportunities for industry people.”
According to Lamangan, the fest features concepts and subjects unexplored by producers of mainstream films. His entry “Lihis,” for example, is about people “being erased in history” because of their political beliefs, sexual preferences or religion.
“It’s a love story between two NPA (New People’s Army) rebels,” he added. It starts with one rebel’s daughter discovering an old photo of the two. “As she learns more about the men’s past, she realizes that in spite of their heroism, people would rather forget or ‘erase’ them, like a bad memory.” The film stars Lovi Poe, Jake Cuenca, Joem Bascon, Isabelle Daza and Gloria Diaz.
Bascon said he felt so embarrassed while doing the controversial sex scene with Cuenca, that he refused to talk with his colleague for days after filming.
“Shooting the scene was really hard, especially for a straight guy like me. It didn’t help that Jake and I were good friends. It felt so weird and awkward,” Joem told Inquirer.
“We did it, anyway, because we believed in the project. For one, it was written by a respected writer, Ricky Lee. I know Sir Ricky’s works are relevant to current times. This film conveys an important message.”
“When I first read the script, napamura talaga ako (I cursed),” said Joem. “This is by far my most daring role. I guess this is true for Jake, too. But as actors, we had to do what was required of us. Sir Ricky and Direk Joel were there to guide us.”
The actor added, “More than the sex scenes, I hope people will watch the film for the message … It’s my way of helping [gay people].”
According to Joem, “Lihis” is one project he believes in. “‘Di na ako tanggap lang nang tanggap (I don’t just take on roles),” he said. “I want to do only projects that deserve the audience’s time.”
The actor claimed Lamangan was at his best while doing “Lihis.” They previously worked together on Regal Entertainment’s “The Bride And the Lover.”
Joem related, “He’s more focused here … his aim was to be accurate, especially when using NPA terminology. I guess this film reminded him of his time as an activist.”