Being in the business for a long time, Manny Nuqui had so many stories to tell about the local movie industry. “Nag-umpisa ako sa technical, sa editing,” he said with a sense of pride and a matching advice that you can go far if you are serious with your work.
After learning the ropes of movie-making, particularly the function of a Line Producer, Manny established Four N’ Films, his production company that used the initials of his 4 children – Noel, Neil, Nilo and Nicky.
A lover of comedy, Manny was executive producer of a comedy film for his maiden venture. This was Mr. Wong and the Bionic Girls in 1977 headlined by Chiquito with Edna Diaz, Tina Monasterio and Janet Bordon. It was followed by Wonder Dabiana which featured Dabiana herself, Cecille Iñigo, in 1978.
Going for the bigtime after the 2 blockbusters, Four N Films took in Dolphy and Panchito together with Lotis Key and Ike Lozada in 1979. Max En Jess, lifted from the komiks, was another hit in the box office.
With his innate business sense, Manny segued from comedy to action.”Action kasi ang trend kaya andun ang mas malaking pera,” he said. 9 De Pebrero was Manny’s first in his long time partnership with Rudy Fernandez. It had Beth Bautista as leading lady, George Estregan and Isabel Rivas for support.
“Yang si Daboy (Rudy Fernandez) hindi lang sa acting. Nagsusulat din ng script yan,” Manny revealed with gusto. “Ito ngang si Meek Roxas, baguhan pa lang scriptwriter noong nakasama namin kaya medyo sumama ang loob kay Daboy.”
Meek Roxas wrote the script of 9 De Pebrero. “Bakit daw pinakikialam ni Daboy ang script niya, wala raw sa usapan yun,” Manny said with a chuckle. But eventually, Meek and Rudy became partners in countless of movies.
Manny Nuqui talking with Dominic Du in front of the Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council office, shot taken on Feb 12, 2010.
More on Rudy. “Noong malala na ang sakit ni Rudy, nasa suite siya ng Cardinal,” Manny related. “Nabalitaan niyang may sakit si Felix Dalay. Alam mo ba? Pina-confine ni Rudy sa Cardinal si Felix at siya ang sumagot ng gastos.”
At the time, Rudy was terminally ill with periampullary cancer. Felix Dalay, a writer and director, was also a close associate of Rudy, Manny and Meek. Dalay passed away a month after Rudy Fernandez succumbed to his illness.
Manny also had stories about other action stars. But one incident that lingered in his mind was a movie he produced in 1993. “Gusto niya (the action star) dalawang uzi. Sabi ni Augie (Augusto Salvador, the director) dayain na lang, side view para hindi halata.”
But the action star was adamant with his idea of attacking his enemies with uzis in both hands. Manny had no choice but to accede to the request which caused considerable delay to the production. “Napaiyak ang misis ko,” Manny said while shaking his head in relating that they lost P25 million in that venture.
In the recent MMFF where Dolphy’s Fr. Jejemon got into the center of controversy with a blasphemous gag, Manny offered an unsolicited advice to scriptwriters. “Never nyong paglalaruan ang hostia.”
In 2002, Hula Mo, Huli Ko, was touted to be a blockbuster with Rudy Fernandez and Rufa Mae Quinto in the marquee. “May eksena dun, itinaas ng pari ang hostia tapos may pumutok. Sapul ang hostia, tumagos ang bala sa noo ng pari.” Manny paused before continuing. “Hindi kumita yun. Kasi isinali pa ang hostia.”
Manny had wanted to revive Mr. Wong. In fact, he already had a storyline with the title Mr. Wong Si Ako, Laging Si Ako. But the issue of copyright came to fore and he wasn’t able to contact the owner of the rights.
When Col. Jerry Valeroso came to Manny for advice, they came up with Mansyon Ni Angkol. It would be produced by Valeroso’s Double Impact Productions with Manny as the Line Producer and Felix Dalay as director.
“Mabigat ang issue kasi gusto niya (Valeroso) bigyan ko ng guarantee ang ROI,” Manny said with apparent disgust. And who can give an assurance of the Return On Investment? So the project was shelved.
In January of 2010, he was able to grab the contract for the launching of MMFF (Metro Manila Film Festival) held in Greenhills. Even on wheelchair, Manny supervised the preparation for the event and he was delighted with the improvised vidi wall.
Manny Nuqui emphasizing a point to Usec Robert Rivera during the launching of MMFF on Feb. 26, 2010. At left is Director Jose Carreon.
“Napaka-importante ng festival,” Manny explained with an air of authority, being a perennial member of the MMFF Executive Committee. “Kahit sisinghap-singhap, at least buhay pa rin ang industriya. Kaya hindi ako makabitaw dito.”
Manny also emphasized the free showing of movie trailers in the cinemas for the MMFF entries. “Nagtataka naman ako sa mga producers, madalas magbibigay ng trailer sa sinehan ilang araw bago magbukas ang festival. Bakit hindi agahan ang gawa ng trailer?”
Another grievance of Manny against some abusive producers is the use of PDC (post-dated check) for payment. “Kung maliit na tao ka, isang libo kinita mo, pupunta ka pa ba sa banko?” The movie worker would avail of the discounting offered by people close to the producers. “Ten percent ang kaltas, minsan mataas pa.”
Manny also advocated the 4 rice meal catering. “Sa isang araw, dapat apat na kain, yung heavy meal para hindi magugutom ang crew. Breakfast, lunch, dinner tapos midnight meal pa. Iba pa yung snack.” He was always conscious about food.
Manny Nuqui in a banter with cinematographers Jun Dalawis and Arnold Alvaro, photo taken on Jan 10, 2011.
Despite his diabetes, Manny Nuqui still gorged on food. He relished sliced cheese, chicharon and manggang hilaw with bagoong. Manny reasoned that he was already on insulin so his blood sugar level should not be a problem.
After his heart bypass in 2005, Manny was troubled with his right leg. “Dito kasi kinuha yung ugat sa bypass. Eh ayaw mag-heal,” Manny explained. A few years passed and he was tied to the wheelchair due to difficulty with that bad leg.
A year ago, Manny was on dialysis. “Ayaw na raw mag-function ang kidney ko. Advice nga ng doctor, transplant daw para hindi na ko mahirapan sa dialysis.” Manny shook his head, “Ayoko. Para ano pa eh hindi na rin ako magtatagal.” He was hinting on his loneliness for losing his wife in 2008 to cancer.
Rudy Fernandez passed away on June 7, Manny’s birthday. Coincidentally, Manny passed away on March 3, Rudy’s birthday.
Manny Nuqui was chairman of PMPPA (Phil Motion Picture Producers Association) and Vice chairman of the Motion Picture Anti-Piracy Council. He was also a member of the Film Academy’s board of governors.
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