Masters unite for National Film Archive


FROM left: Gil Portes, Maryo J. de los Reyes, Romy Suzara, Joel Lamangan and Mel Chionglo photo: bayani san diego jr.

They are uncomfortable about the title “masters.”

For the next edition of the Sineng Pambansa, set Sept. 7-26, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) has gathered 12 of the country’s top directors for the festival’s “All-Masters’ Edition.”

Joked Jun Urbano, one of the 12: “Master is just another word for old. I don’t think any one of us would accept that. Seriously, no one has a monopoly on creativity. It just happened that we joined the movies ahead of the younger directors.”

Urbano said his father, the late actor-director Manuel Conde, shared with him the story of his festival piece, “The Winged Gladiator,” about a boy growing up in a pineapple farm in Bicol.

The other directors joining the festival are: Elwood Perez with “Proserpina de Manila”; Romy Suzara, “May Tinik ang Huwad na Bulaklak”; Gil Portes, “Crossroads”; Maryo J. de los Reyes, “The River”; Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes, “Sonata”; Mel Chionglo, “Lorenzita”; Chito Roño, “Badil”; Tikoy Aguiluz, “Eman”; Joel Lamangan, “Lihis”; Carlos Siguion-Reyna, “Oro”; and Jose Javier Reyes, “Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?”

Each filmmaker gets a P1.5-million grant and is urged to find other sources of financing,  which is not an easy task.

FROM left: Lore Reyes, Peque Gallaga, Jun Urbano and Tikoy Aguiluz photo: bayani san diego jr.

FDCP chair Briccio Santos told the Inquirer it was imperative to engage the country’s masters in “forging a truly national cinema.”

This third edition of Sineng Pambansa, to be held in SM Cinemas nationwide, likewise serves as a fund-raising project for the National Film Archive of the Philippines (NFAP), said Santos. “It’s a golden opportunity,” he said.

Santos hopes the project will generate revenues to help construct a permanent facility to house the NFAP. The FDCP looks forward to commercially viable projects, since the films will be directed by the makers of some of the industry’s biggest hits.

The festival is a comeback for Perez, a hitmaker in the 1980s, who last made a film a decade ago. His movie also heralds the return of 1960s movie queen Amalia Fuentes, who is cast as a wizened author troubled by writers’ block. “Amalia was the ultimate screen goddess of my movie-fan days,” Perez said.

Against type

Suzara, who made action flicks with Rudy Fernandez also in the 1980s, will go against type and do a gay romance. Suzara welcomed the masters’ fest because, he said, it gives the struggling movie industry a much-needed shot in the arm.

De los Reyes confessed, “When I do indie films, I usually end up in hock.”

The directors seem ready to make such sacrifices to help build a permanent edifice for our cinematic treasures.

Santos said 60 percent of ticket sales will go to the filmmakers/producers and 40 percent to the FDCP. “All of the FDCP shares will go to the construction of the archive.”


Said Chionglo, “Having this facility ensures that the old 35mm prints and negatives we’ve saved so far will be stored properly.”

Aguiluz added, “Even if there is a change in government, our movies will have a permanent home. We had an archive in the 1980s, under Ernie de Pedro, but it was discontinued.”

Lamangan noted, “A building signifies our noble intention to protect our films from deterioration. After all, our films are concrete documentations of our cultural past.”

Major art form

Gallaga agreed: “A film archive acknowledges that cinema is a major art form as well as a powerful medium for national and cultural identity.”

“In this era when books and other printed material are stored in microfilm in libraries and museums,” Perez asserted, “it is but fitting for our country to build an archive of its film heritage.”

“After all,” Chionglo concluded, “a national film archive is a national library of our films—open to students, historians and researchers.”

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  • hustlergalore

    100 years na ang film sa pinas. ngayon lang magkakaroon ng national archives, NYETA! ultimo film producer ng mga pelikula, wala silang sariling baul pwera na lang sa kakarampot na iba puro kasi pera ang nasa utak. BUT better late than never. go go go!

  • hustlergalore

    in fairness, ang iba diyan ay hindi “master” kung hindi ay veteran.


  • Mario Sarapova

     yung goal na national film archive, ok yan. but too presumptuous pag sineryoso ng mga kasama jan sa festival nila
    na”master” nga sila. excuse me, baka alam nila master bate, as in old
    master named “bate” pere, the father of little master “bate” jr. am not
    joking. be real guys, hindi komo’t tinawag na “masters’ festival” yan e
    seseryosohin ninyo na ang tawag. learn the virtue of being
    self-effacing. baka masira ulo ninyo, baka ma-deluded kayo pag kala
    ninyo master na nga kayo. si celso ad castillo nga, na-deluded ng husto
    sa titulo na ito, sabi niya siya ang pinakamagaling na filipino film
    director of all times, yun pala kopya dito, kopya dun ang pinaggagawa ng
    kumag. tuloy, puro kawalanghiyaan ang ginawa sa mga nakadaupang-palad
    niya. pati writer ng libro niya, ninakaw niya ang sinulat nito.

    guys, be real, be honest with yourselves. marami pa kayong kakaning
    darak bago kayo maging totoong master, yung kalibre ni kurosawa,
    antonioni, truffaut, de sica, et al.

    in my book, there is really
    no real filipino film master as yet. mejo me talent lang, pero hindi
    master. i know what i’m talking about guys,alam ko ang kalibre ninyo
    lahat diyan. hyped lang kayo, slef-hyped pa yung iba. work hard, study,
    apply what you learn. mag-isip, magcreate. time will come when us the
    viewers ourselves will call you master, real film master, no longer
    master “bate,” pere, the father of little master bate.

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