Silver celebration for Philippine cinema

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The way Boots Anson-Roa, executive director of Movie Workers’ Welfare Foundation (Mowelfund), recalled it, she had to master the fine art of making “pakiusap (pleading)” to convince the stars to join the organization’s latest pet project.

“It’s for the love of Mowelfund,” she said of the concert “Pinilakang Tabing: Handog sa Pelikulang Pilipino,” set at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on June 22. “The stars readily agreed to help, even though all we said we could offer was an honorarium.”

Staunch support

Big stars, all staunch supporters of the foundation, will grace the occasion, said Roa.

Among the celebrities who will serve as onstage narrators are former President Joseph Estrada, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., along with German Moreno, Jun Urbano, Cesar Montano and National Artist for Film Eddie Romero.

Top performers Mitch Valdes, Dulce, Bituin Escalante, Jolina Magdangal and Janno Gibbs are set to perform, backed up by the 63-piece Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra.

The all-star tribute will pay homage to Philippine cinema, which is celebrating its 92nd anniversary this year, said Roa.

“We are commemorating the release of the first Filipino-produced film ‘Dalagang Bukid,’ which is based on a popular zarzuela,” she added.

“Dalagang Bukid” top-billed National Artist for Theater, Atang de la Rama. “Before that, movies shot in the country were produced by foreigners, but ‘Dalagang Bukid’ was made by Jose Nepomuceno, the grandfather of bowler Paeng Nepmuceno,” Roa noted.

There’s a strong connection between cinema and the zarzuela “Dalagang Bukid,” said Roa. “The zarzuela was created by Hermogenes Ilagan, father of National Artist for Film Gerry de Leon and grandfather of actors Robert Arevalo, Liberty Ilagan and Jay Ilagan.”

One night only

The one-night concert will revisit the landmark movie, through De la Rama’s signature anthem “Nabasag ang Banga,” which will be performed by stage actress Tex Ordoñez.

Other song numbers will celebrate unforgettable classic films, said Roa. “Like the LVN movies ‘Alembong’ and ‘Galawgaw.’”

The show aims “to raise not just funds for Mowelfund, but also the public’s awareness of the country’s film heritage,” Roa explained.

E-mail: bayanisandiego@hotmail.com.

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