Last February 15, 2014, the Screenwriters Guild of the Philippines (SGP) had its first meeting, presided by Prof. Isabel Sebullen, Ph.D. the incumbent president. Active existing members and new ones currently admitted to the Guild were invited for the selection of new Board Members and Officers.
Most of the old members (not necessarily by age, of course) opted to retire, either health reasons or conflict of schedule due to demanding job, so the need for new set of Board/Officers. As always in pasts’ activities, to show his unfailing support, Direk Jose Carreon never missed this important event. The members were all delighted and thankful for his presence.
The following members who showed their concern to the Guild and responded to the call for a meeting were: Hernan Robles, Benjie Corpuz, Paul Singh Cudail, Emilio Dollete, Bobby Villagracia, Danny Jurado, Linda Jurado, Moises Cruz, Dan Aguilar, Romulo Borja, Lita Duguran, Mira Ticlao, Nizrhane Abdallah and Helen V. Lasquite.
Other agenda for the meeting:
a) Assessment of SGP’s current situation. It is sad to know that past happenings inside SGP are still being dragged to the present. This caused divisions among its members, others just stopped attending. Prof. Sebullen cited this as one reason why memberships were declining. There were also instances that some unjust practices happened which resulted for some members to lose faith or trust in the management of the Guild. One member expressed his desire to be fully active and help, but how can he support the needs of his family. The Guild only receives P5,000 revolving fund from the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), not even enough to give reasonable compensation to the lone office staff.
Other topics that were raised: how to (at least) minimize plagiarism, how can SGP helps protect the rights of film writers. It has been suggested to have a regular meeting, at least once a month to be able to discuss pertinent issues.
b) Letter of Secretary-General Leo Martinez to the FAP’s Board of Governors re: Film Industry road mapping. Everyone was interested as to what happened now on the issue with MMDA. The SGP expressed its full support on this great effort initiated by Direk Martinez and Direk William Mayo for the just and right allotment of FAP’s share and the return of Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) management to the Film Workers.
How can SGP help in the vision-mission of FAP? It has also been debated and suggested that seminars/workshops must also be given from time to time for the continuing learning progress of our local screenwriters. Will it be possible to come up with a standardization of fees for screenwriters? How can we empower SGP to make it truly a Guild that protects and supports the rights of the local screenwriters, and promotes their creative works? There were so many things that need to be tackled if not for time constraint.
c) Roadmap for SGP. Short Term Plan – Unanimously suggested will be a rigid membership campaign. The rest of February to the following months of March and April, within Metro Manila, also in the regions if possible. It was agreed to open the memberships even to those who do not have yet the experience in film writing, but has the passion for films and the desire to learn to write for films.
Long Term Plan – In answer to previous debates, education is a continuing process, which should be open to any one aspiring to become a better and relevant film writer. It is only by enhancing our craft, coupled by our dedication, that we can become globally competitive. Some other topics that were discussed: livelihood projects to augment the members’ income; protection for writers; and copyrights of their works. Now that there are two legal counsel members of the Guild, the writers should be more at peace.
Since those present were not enough to hold an election, it was decided to temporarily form a Committee. The following members were elected to SGP’s Ad Hoc Committee, to complete the Board of 10 and as Officers: Emilio Dollete, Paul Singh Cudail and Helen V. Lasquite – each garnered 12 votes; Moises Cruz with 11 votes; Benjie Corpuz and Danny Jurado, with each 10 votes; and Linda Jurado, 7 votes. The 3 old active members of the Board are Prof. Isabel Sebullen, PhD, Direk Hernan Robles and Lita Duguran.
Four Committees were created initially. Funding Committee, all officers headed by Paul Singh Cudail; Education Committee headed by Emilio Dollete and Moises Cruz; Membership Committee, headed by Danny, Linda Jurado and Benjie Corpuz; and the Communication Committee, headed by Benjie Corpuz and Helen V. Lasquite.
With its Ad Hoc Committee being formed, SGP aims to be very visible this year. While we continue our journey this 2014, “Year of the Wooden Horse”, let us all trust and keep affirming that like the horse that is so highly spirited, and gallops with grace and elegance, and strength, then, so thus SGP and all the Guilds under FAP.
Mabuhay ang Mga Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino !!!
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