(Second of Two Parts)
In last week’s website, we featured the first five awardees of the FAP lifetime achievement award which has been renamed the Fernando Poe Jr. lifetime achievement award. To complete the first nine filmmakers and innovators who made a dent in Philippine cinema in their various capacity as performers, directors and other craftsmen, we are reprinting the second and final part of this article from the 2005 Luna Awards souvenir program.
Following are the capsule reports on the other four early winners of the prestigious award:
CONSUELO P. ‘ATENG’ OSORIO, writer/director
She came from the distinguished Padilla clan of local movies and carved out an illustrious career as a pioneer writer-director.
Actually, she started out as an actress. Her first picture was Asahar at Kabaong where she appeared as the mother of her real life brother Jose Padilla Jr. But it was in scriptwriting where Ateng proved her mettle. Her first script was Ang Magmamani . It was inevitable that a good scriptwriter like her would shift to directing easily. Her first directorial assignment was Dalagang Luksa . Actually, this picture was the assignment of Ateng’s brother, Carlos Padilla Sr. But Leleng, as he was called, had a feud with the producer. However, in order not to prejudice the project, Leleng requested the producer to have Ateng finish the film as director. As such, Ateng Osorio, the writer- director, was born.
In honoring her as an illustrious writer-diretor, the Screenwriters’ Guild of the Philippines cited her versatility since she could write-direct musicals, as well as action, comedy and drama films.
Ateng, as a director, had many firsts. Among these were: she directed the first cowboy film in the Philippines, Ngipin sa Ngipin ; she was also the first woman-director in local movies to direct a war epic, Halik sa Bandila. Among Ateng’s favorite films were : Manananggal vs. Mangkukulam, Bakya Mo, Neneng, Gulong ng Palad, Bulaklak ng Digmaan and Kandilang Bakal.
As an actor’s director, Ateng had contributed to the career of such popular stars and acclaimed actors, like Efren Reyes Sr., Virginia Montes, Rosita Noble, Ester Buenaobra, Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Eddie Peregrina, Nova Villa and Esperanza Fabon.
Her son Ricardo ‘Bebong’ Osorio, a former child actor turned director, followed in her footsteps and carved out his own niche in the local film industry.
JUAN SILOS JR., composer
At the age of 16, Juan Silos Jr. could already played the bass for the Manila Chamber of Music under Prof. B. Abdon. He earned his musical degree cum laude at the Ateneo de Manila. At the age of 18, although working full time as a bookkeeper of the Nasser & Co., he resolved to dedicate his time and efforts to composing music as this was foremost in his heart.
As a composer, Silos had a total of 163 musical compositions, mostly published and recorded by Villar Recording Co. Some of his well-known compositions were Waray-Waray. Galawgaw, Saydwok Bendor, Darling Ko, Giliw Ko and Peksman.
As an instrumentalist, he beame a close acquiantance of no less than the world’s greatest guitarist, Andres Segovia, in the late 1920s. He was also a music professor and rondalla instructor in at least 17 colleges and universities.
Juan Silos Jr. belonged to a legendary musical family. The Silos clan had always been associated with Philippine music, from his grandfather, Leonardo, down to his grandson, Cesar Climaco.
WILLIAM A. P. SMITH, sound and color technology
The contribution of William A.P. Smith to the local movie industry falls under the field of motion picture sound and color technology. He was a manufacturer of sound recording machines.
Significantly, Smith pioneered in the technical implementation of both sound and color in local movies during the virginal days of Philippime cinema. In 1932, he recorded the first sound motion picture in the Philippines, Ang Aswang, for Manila Talkaton Pictures.
When movie sound was still in its infancy, he provided the expertise and technical know-how to major companies like Filippine Films (1934), Parlatone (1935) and Sampaguita Pictures (1937), for which he manufactured new sound equipment. He must be credited for the sound of many early pictures from 1933 onwards.
He produced the first Filipino full-length color picture, Si Malakas at si Maganda , which was made in Hollywood. It was shot in Ansco color on 16 mm film in 1947. He worked on Battalion XIII , the first Filipino color picture to be shown to the public.
In the 1950s, the LVN color lab was considered to be the best in the Far East and due credit must go to Smith for having set it up. He pioneered in the reduction of local films from the 35 mm format to 16 mm, thru his own company, the Smith Sound System Laboratories.
Old Tagalog films were given a second life on television since the 1960s. Again, they were first reduced to 16 mm for telecasting purposes. TV exposure had helped to increase the audience for Filipino movies as well.
MARY WALTER, actress
The year 1987 was Mary Walter’s 59 th year in the movies. She celebrated her golden anniversary in Philippine movies in 1978. She joined the movies in 1928 at the age of 15.
Since then, she had played a variety of roles ranging from a blushing bride to an anxious mother to a domineering grandmother, often playing the role of a woman of great strength and character. She thrived on the kontrabida role. Mary was the first aswang in Philippine movies, who played the role in Manananggal.
Discovered by the late Jose Nepomuceno, she fitted in as one of the dancers in a carinosa dance sequence in the movie Lilies of Benguet which starred Naty Fernandez.
Her first movie in a starring role was Lumang Simbahan , directed by Gregorio Fernandez. Since then, she had made over 250 movies.
She starred in such movie greats as Maruja with Susan Roces, Alupihang Dagat with FPJ and Ibulong Mo sa Hangin with Amalia Fuentes. She was described as an actress par excellence.
She was one, if not the last, of the few actresses who made the transition from silent movies to the talkies. Mary said old age is not an impediment to her profession. As she put it: “I don’t mind being old. It comes to everyone. I have been playing mamas or grandmas since the start. I just love character roles. I feel young…”