Atty. Espiridion Laxa, chairman of the Film Academy of the Philippines and one of the most successful local film producers who came after the era of the big three—LVN Pictures, Sampaguita Pictures and Premiere Productions—died last Tuesday night, September 15. He was 79.
Laxa’s Tagalog Ilang-Ilang Productions Inc. and EDL Productions produced some 100 films that were headlined by the action stars of Philippine cinema like Fernando Poe Jr., ex-President Joseph Estrada. Jess Lapid Sr. and Jun Aristorenas. He encouraged his lead stars to put up their own film companies.
Atty. Laxa receiving the cultural tax from Makati vice mayor Mercado
His films also included drama films that starred Nora Aunor and Vilma Santos. He was responsible for casting together the superstars of Philippine cinema during the 60s to the 90s.
Some of the TIIP films included FPJ starrers like Hari sa Barilan and Fandong Asintado, Sabotage with Tony Ferrer as Agent X-44, Markang Rehas with Joseph Estrada, the Nora Aunor-Vilma Santos film Ikaw ay Akin and several Darna films with Vilma Santos.
At the time of his death, he was also the chairman of the Movie Workers’ Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND) and the Motion Picture Anti-Film Piracy Council, Inc. He was also a director of the board of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
FAP Chairman Espiridion Laxa and FAP Director General Leo Martinez with guests
Atty. Laxa hailed from Macabebe, Pampanga and took his law studies at the Far Eastern University and Philippine Law School. He passed the bar examinations in 1955.
He was co-founder with the late Mayor Antonio Villegas of the Manila Film Festival in 1966 where he served as co-chairman for the periods 1966-69, 1972-74 and 1992-99. He was the chairman of the Rules and Regulations of Legal Affairs Committee of the Metro Manila Film Festival since 1998.
Laxa was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the FAP in 1993, the same year he was awarded the Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan for Film by the City of Manila. In 2004, he was given a special recognition award by the Metro Manila Film Festival.
Atty. Laxa giving the opening remarks in the last Luna Awards at the Gateway
For the years 1987 to 1990, Atty. Laxa was the president of the ASEAN Movie Producers’ Association.
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