The Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP) had recorded a perfect attendance for two days in a row, September 15 and 16. This is something because unlike the Sound Technicians with only 3 voters on the first day for their own perfect attendance record, SGP has 18 voters.
Director Maryo J. Delos Reyes dropped by just in time for the showing of A Love Story of Maricel Soriano and Aga Muhlach. Coincidentally, Direk Maryo J. was the director of the said movie. Although not an actor, Direk Maryo J is considered a celebrity as evidenced by the several requests for photo-op with him. The eager fans were led by the female members of SGP. Cloyd Robinson, the former matinee idol turned director, was very vocal in saying, “Oy, inaamin ko na talagang nagla-lobby para sa movie ni Direk Maryo J.” In all seriousness, Cloyd professed, “Sa totoo lang kasi, classic ang pagkagawa niya nun.”
The FAP Secretariat and the auditors, ready for the voting
Another visit by FAP Director General Leo Martinez. He brought along 2 big durian fruits which ADPM President Joel Apuyan opened for everyone to sample. “Yan ang viagra ni Dolphy,” someone said in confidence. “Ako, hindi ko na kailangan yan,” countered Leo Martinez with matching gyrations of his body. Incidentally, Charlie Davao had an operation on his prostate a month ago, the reason why he was escorted to the venue by his son Bing, a former actor.
Caridad Sanchez came late for the 3rd time and immediately asked, “Andyan na ba si Cirio?” A bit dumbfounded, the FAP staff said that Cirio Santiago was not a voter. “Pero andito siya kahapon, di ba?” Caridad declared with assurance. The FAP staff was really confused this time until things got a little clearer – Caridad was actually looking for Sergio Lobo, an octogenarian cinematographer.
Reminiscing is a popular game played by movie industry veterans. Especially in gatherings like this, the King will always be remembered. “Walang katulad talaga si FPJ,” declared Josie Tagle, a character actress and also talent manager of some extras and bit players. She confessed that she was with FPJ the whole week before the fatal stroke. “Magkakasama kami mula seven ng umaga hanggang seven ng gabi, araw-araw yun. Nakakahinayang nga dahil alam kong nanalo siya nung election.” Nonoy Santillan opined, “Siguro talagang kinuha na siya ng Diyos dahil baka masira lang siya kung naging presidente siya. Syempre hindi siya makaka-hindi sa mga kaibigan nya, di ba?” Another veteran shared his feelings, “Malayo si FPJ sa iba kasi talagang para sa tao ang puso niya. Hindi gaya ni Erap, super kuripot yan. Puro sarili lang ang iniisip niyan. At yung huweteng? Totoo yun….” the statement was trailed by a list of misdeeds supposedly committed by the deposed president.
More from Josie Tagle, “Madalas nga sa bahay pag-inspect ko sa handbag ko, puro langgam. Kasi laging merong pagkain.” That’s probably true because Josie never fails to bring something edible whenever she comes to the voter screening venue. “Pagpasensyahan nyo na itong siopao at mais. Bukas magdadala ako ng breakfast.”
Cinematographers with the UP Projectionist
In the showing of Happy Hearts, several voters complained of the visuals. “Masakit sa mata ang kulay, baka ma-adjust pa ang luminosity o chroma,” said Franco Deocareza, a member of SGP. Regal didn’t lend FAP the film version so we had to be content with the DVD version… using the Film Academy’s projector. On the lighter side, voters coming out of the theater were happily yelling “Bakla! Bakla!” the catchword in Happy Hearts which won a nomination for Wendell Ramos’ role as a gay husband. Director Baby Navoa was the winner in the yelling competition with his unmatched gay acts.
On the last day of screening, when the voting was held, pictorial addicts were sort of disappointed because no celebrities came and even Leo Martinez, the FAP Director General, was unexpectedly absent. “Baka merong mga trabaho,” commented Angel Morales. “Sana kahit si Boots Anson Roa man lang,” Gladys Villanueva said. Both Angel and Gladys are SGP members. They had to content themselves with Directors Buboy Tan, Kaka Balagtas, Baldo Marro and, luckily, Caridad Sanchez dropped by again, and, of course, there was Atty. Laxa, the FAP Chairman.
Another SGP member, Jun Datiles, is a self-professed addict in pictorials. “Basta may artista, kunan mo ko ng picture ha? Tapos i-print mo lahat. Sayang kasi ang pagkakataon eh minsan lang naman ang ganito.” It’s apparent that Jun is collecting souvenir photos. For his part, Pablo Gomez, the noted komiks king and current SGP president, has this to say on the matter of pictorials, “Ako kunan mo rin ng litrato basta pag may mga kabataan na pogi, ha?” And he made known that it was not a joke when he pulled alongside a young guy for the camera – a UP student who happened to be the son of Manny Rodriguez, the treasurer of SGP. Cloyd Robinson requested prints of 2 pictures, the first was a shot with this author and the second was a shot with the FAP secretariat. When the prints arrived, Cloyd kept the first photo after writing the name of this author and gave the second photo to the FAP secretariat. When confronted about it, Cloyd remarked, “Ano ang ibig mong palabasin, may gusto ako sa iyo?”
Rei Nicandro and Cloyd Robinson in their tete-a-tete
The movie OUIJA effected some talks in the direction of horror experiences. Josie Tagle intimated that the FPJ studio has a roving ghost. Nonoy Santillan of the Editor’s Guild confirmed the fact and added that he used to be fond of the ouija board, more commonly known as spirit of the glass. “Talagang addict ako noon hanggang dumating ang time na ako na lang mag-isa. Pero gumagalaw pa rin talaga yung baso eh nakapikit ako kaya hindi ko talaga alam kung saan pupunta. Bale ang audience ko na lang ang bumabasa ng mga letra.” An unidentified voice butted in, “Delikadong paglaruan ang baso (referring to the spirit of the glass) kasi baka sa iyo pumasok ang ispirito.”
Rei Nicandro, a scriptwriter and former Assistant Director of Tata Esteban, said in jest, “Puro naka-maintenance na ang mga voters.” Nonoy Santillan added, “Eh yung iba nga may caregiver na. Talagang pabawas na nga tayo ng pabawas eh.” Someone remarked, “Kaya pag absent ka sa voting baka akala napikit na ang mga mata mo.”
Josefino Cenizal, the oldest voter at 90 (estimated age), was criticizing the movie Ang Lalake Sa Parola, a pink movie. “Sobra naman yun talaga eh ipinakita pa yung putotoy.” Some others suggested for the FAP secretariat to remove the CEB ratings in the list of movies. “Medyo nakaka-influence kasi,” explained Caridad Sanchez. Enrico Villa, a veteran scriptwriter, singled out Enteng Kabisote, “Masyadong magulo ang pagkakagawa, hindi maintindihan ang sequencing.” Vic Villavencio, a Production Designer was all praises for One More Chance, “Iba talaga pag Bea at John Lloyd, very effective ang pakilig.” Vic Dabao, another PD seconded the praise release.
Hernan Robles and Ianne Oandasan
Nards Belen and Hernan Robles, both members of the director’s guild, loved the concept of a workshop that would give the industry veterans ample knowledge in digital movie-making. “At least bago man lang ipikit ang mga mata ay masabi nila na nakagawa sila ng digital, kahit short lang.” The workshop would be needing at least 100,000 pesos for the budget to cover 20 participants on a 10-day full hands on course. Nards Belen promised to look for sponsors because he is eager to participate. “Imagine, magpi-premiere pa ang mga participants kung sakaling matuloy. This is something talaga.” The only thing needed is a sponsor for the funding.
Another thing needing sponsors is the planned FAP Christmas party. Someone broached the idea of holding it in the same venue at the UP Film Center lobby. Bart Vivar, a veteran character actor, was excited. “Maganda yan para magkita-kita ulit tayong lahat.” And someone remarked, “Mas maganda kung meron pang raffle.” The planned party would be a small favor, so to speak, for the countless and nameless faces of movie industry workers of yore. It’s now time to look for sponsors.
Generally, the atmosphere was festive for the 10 days of bonding privilege for the voters, most of whom are retired and some are jobless. With free lunch plus transportation allowance as an incentive for attendance, the event could be considered a box office success. “Sa ganito na lang tayo nagkikita eh,” said Leonardo Garcia, a veteran director. Cloyd Robinson who lives in faraway Silang, Cavite, seriously said, “Napakalaking bagay na bigyan kami ng authority to choose the winners of the FAP awards.” Charlie Davao meekly said, “Sana nga wag namang mawawala ang ganito.”
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