No political tainting: Direk Jose Javier Reyes on newly appointed FDCP Chair Tirso Cruz III
Before officially assuming office within the month, newly appointed Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Tirso Cruz III will first need to study which industry problems have to be addressed immediately, as well as which obligations established by the previous council leadership have to be continued.
This was according to film and TV director Jose Javier Reyes, who is one of Cruz’s consultants. Cruz will be replacing current chair Liza Diño-Seguerra.
Reyes said he and Cruz met right after the latter’s oath-taking ceremony in Malacañang on Tuesday afternoon, along with lawyer-film producer Joji Alonso, actor Christopher de Leon and Senator Jinggoy Estrada.
“It had been an exploratory meeting in the sense that Pipo (Cruz’s nickname) asked that industry problems be enumerated one by one. He also wanted to know of the possible solutions to these problems, as well as which projects of Liza’s should be continued, and which film-related groups need urgent help,” Reyes told Inquirer Entertainment on Wednesday, adding that Cruz returned to the lock-in set of the series “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano,” which he is a regular cast member, shortly after the event at the Palace.
Reyes said Cruz found the appointment unexpected and that he only received a call about it from the Office of the President last weekend. “He then called me up and asked me if I’d be willing to help when he gets appointed. He also called [film and TV director] Laurice [Guillen] and Atty. Joji to have that exploratory talk with him. It was in order to provide him with the current landscape of the movie industry because, he said, his perspective might be different,” explained Reyes.
Not nervous or worried
“We also discussed whether or not changes have to be made at present and what these may be, as well as how we can make the FDCP function in connection with its working relationships with the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) and Mowelfund (Movie Workers’ Welfare Foundation),” Reyes added.
During the meeting, Reyes said Cruz didn’t appear to feel nervous or worried at all. “We were laughing all the time,” he recalled. “I agreed to help Pipo because I’ve known him for years and he is a person who does not work on self-interest but is dedicated to the purpose of whatever he is working on.
“For me, there could not have been a better person because Pipo comes from a tradition of people in movies. He has no political tainting, which is good. The very fact that he was selected without coloring is good. He can work with the best people from various camps. He can bring them together.”
Reyes said that in order for Cruz to efficiently serve, he opted to “surround himself with people who are competent and have revolutionary values. What a time to be the chairman of FDCP! The film industry really needs leadership. If there is one thing the chairman must do, it is to unite everybody in the industry and work for the common good.”
He added: “Right now, we are still in transition. The position still has to be formally turned over to him. What is certain is that the FDCP needs to help the industry, but not merely in the form of financial aid. We always believe in sustainability and not in temporary band-aid solutions.”
What Reyes said next may very well be one of the thrusts of the new council leadership: “I also think we have to look beyond our backyard. We have to be significant. It’s useless going to international festivals when Filipinos themselves don’t recognize the Philippines as a cinematic center. Before we go abroad, let’s fix ourselves back here first.”
Reyes further said: “We need a leader who is persistent and has a vision that goes beyond our country. It breaks my heart to think there are more foreigners who have seen the movies of Lav Diaz and Brilliante Ma Mendoza than Filipinos.”
When asked for his thoughts on how well the outgoing chair served, Reyes replied: “Well, we have to thank Liza for what she has accomplished, for her six years of hard work. We also have to acknowledge the fact that she persisted amidst the challenges of the pandemic. It’s just that, now, the postpandemic challenge is far more different. If ‘Doctor Strange’ made over $60 million, while a Filipino film can’t even last one weekend, then we really have to do something about it.”