Jul 01
STRENGTHENING SGP’S LEGACY by Isabel Sebullen  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Jul 1, 2011

“The screenwriters in this country constitute the underpinnings of the entire structure of the local film industry.” – Espiridion D. Laxa.

When I got a copy of the SGP’s Yearbook 1989-1990 (courtesy of Jose Datiles), I felt that I should do something to keep SGP’s legacy. Former presidents, board of directors, and members of SGP were al all notable writers. Among them were:

Former presidents, board of directors, and members of SGP (from Left) Lualhati Bautista (photo from rizal.lib.admu.edu.ph) , Carlo J. Caparas (photo from spot.ph), Jose N. Carreon, Jose Dalisay (photo from trueknowledge.com), Peque Gallaga (photo from PEP.ph), Pablo S. Gomez, Jose Lacaba (photo from agimat.net), Ricardo Lee and Domingo Landicho (photo from hindu.com)

Lualhati Bautista – a recipient of several Palanca awards for her novel.

Carlo J. Caparas – award winning comics novelist turned award-winning scriptwriter.

Jose N. Carreon – newspaperman turned award-winning screenwriter and director.

Jose Dalisay – multi-awarded short story writer and playwright. As screenwriter, he wrote the notable film “Ina ka ng Anak Mo”.

Peque Gallaga – award-winning screenwriter and director and known for his film “Oro, Plata, Mata”

Pablo S. Gomez – one of the most talented and prolific comics novelist, whose work were aired in ABS-CBN even after his death.

Marina Feleo Gonzales – multi-awarded television and movie writer who wrote one of the best Filipino films “Minsa’y Isang Gamugamo”

Jose Lacaba – multi-awarded journalist, poet and screenwriter. His most notable filmed screenplays were “Jaguar” and “Kapit Sa Patalim”.

Amado Lacuesta – investment analyst turned screenwriter. He won the best screenplay award for “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” in 1984.

Domingo Landicho – multi-awarded short story writer, playwright, novelist, essayist, editor and columnist.

Armando Lao – Urian winner for his screenplay “Itanong mo sa Buwan” and won best screenplay for “Takaw-Tukso”.

Ricardo Lee – multi-awarded screenwriter. He wrote the screenplay of “Himala”, “Brutal”, and “Salome”.

Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr.– multi-awarded novelist who wrote the screenplay of “Maynila sa mga Kuko ng Liwanag”, an adaptation of Edgardo Reyes’ novel.

I have mentioned 13 of the best scriptwriters to emphasize the legacy of the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines. There are still a number of prolific writers worth noting here, but the space may not be enough to mention all of them.

How are we going to maintain SGP’s legacy? That’s the question that I have to answer as the current president of SGP. We paled in comparison to the names mentioned above. But I do believe its no simple task to recruit the best minds in the movie industry. Some of them are too busy, even to renew their membership. But we cannot just put in anybody just to fill-in the void left by these busy screenwriters. After all, we owe to give reverence to our predecessors, that is why selection of members should be done with utmost care.

Palanca-award winning writers: Jerry Gracio and John Iremil E. Teodoro (photo from adamsanandres) and Paul Abellera, creative manager and scriptwriter of ABS-CBN

To start with this continuing legacy, recently, we added to SGP’s membership two Palanca-award winning writers: Jerry Gracio and John Iremil E. Teodoro. Jerry Gracio won several Palanca for his scripts and is a nominee in Luna Awards for his screenplay, “Emir”. John Iremil E. Teodoro is a four-time Palanca winner for short stories and for his full length play “Unang Ulan ng Mayo” and co-writer of the film “Wanted Border”. Teodoro is currently taking his Ph.D in Literature at De La Salle University. He also teaches at Mirriam College. Another addition to SGP’s roster of members is Paul Abellera, creative manager and scriptwriter of ABS-CBN.

Another step to strengthen the membership is to amend the By-Laws since all members are classified as regular member, even when some of them do not have formal training in scriptwriting. In the amendments, there will be three classifications of members: regular, associate and apprentice. Those who have not written a script cannot be considered as regular member nor can be elected as officer or board of director.

As what Conrado Leonardo, Jr. have said after the 2009 election: “Hindi basta inutusan lang bumili ng suka, pwedeng maging member na.” Most of us reacted to this statement, but now I have proven through doing a research that some of those who voted at that time do not qualify to be members of SGP.

The Board met yesterday and the following agenda were discussed: (1) Election should be decided by the Board, and it should be on the date stated in the By-Laws of SGP; (2) New members will go through the selection committee in order to determine whether they are real writers (not that somebody is writing using their names to make them writers); (3) New members are not allowed to vote during election unless they are classified as regular members; and (4) Plans for the remaining months of the year.

The strength of the screenwriters lies in its roster of members and dedication of officers and board of directors who will work for the good of the organization. This requires us to become good screenwriters, and being good is not just repeating clichés, but making our brains bleed with creative juices.

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