It was one of those dog day afternoons when the legendary Lino Brocka espied a gangling teenager who was escorting his father to the meeting of the KDPP (Kapisanan ng mga Director ng Pelikulang Pilipino). Lino Brocka, the founding president of the KDPP, issued a sort of invitation to the teenager in jest, “Paglaki mo, bata, mag-member ka sa amin, ha?” But instead of the expected assent, the teenager replied with utter seriousness, “Ayoko pong maging member, gusto ko maging presidente!”
Prophetic in a sense, the teenager dutifully learned the trade from his father to become a film director. And typical to any tyro, William Mayo was overly excited to see the billboard proclaiming his name as film director. But due to the honest mistake of an unidentified copywriter, the billboard had KDPP appended to the director’s name. “Si Butch Bautista ang treasurer nun, mahigpit yun, matinding maningil ng dues. Kaya nang makita yung billboard, nagsumbong agad kay Leroy kasi parang ginagamit ko raw ang KDPP eh hindi naman ako nagbabayad ng dues,” Mayo exudes a mild guffaw to Bautista’s idiosyncracy. Leroy Salvador, the current president, immediately called on Mayo. “O, may KDPP na pala ang pangalan mo. Magbayad ka na lang ng dues para automatic member ka na!” exclaimed Leroy with a bit of humor. The young director had no objection.
Sheer luck or hard work maybe but it was apparent that no obstacle could deter William Mayo from meeting with his destiny. After a few years of membership with the KDPP, he was voted in as Vice President for external affairs during the presidency of Armando De Guzman. That election pushed Mayo another step nearer his prophetic words.
“Sayang lang kung tatakbo ka dahil wala kang makukuhang boto! Ganyang katindi ang pag-discourage sa ‘kin ni Armando De Guzman,” relates Director Mayo regarding his plan to run for president. But the sitting chairman, Jun Aristorenas, believed in the visions of the young director so he came out with full support for William Mayo who was about to throw in the towel of surrender.
It has been ten long years since William Mayo had first claimed the seat of presidency. So far, he is the longest-serving president of the KDPP. His initial official act was to declare a permanent venue for board meetings. He had talked to the management of the Viajero Restaurant for a more decent place. “Para kasi kaming palaboy. Kung saan lang puwedeng mag-meeting, dun na. Eh sa Viajero, center table kami. Sikat ha?” Direk Mayo beams with pride on his first accomplishment.
In one of KDPP’s Christmas parties, everyone was surprised to see the name of Armida Siguion-Reyna as the main speaker and guest of honor. It was no secret that Director Mayo was at odds with the movie industry’s Iron Lady at the time. The coup, however, was spoiled by Mayo’s euphoria such that he had forgotten the sequence of the program. There was supposed to be a one-minute-of-silence tribute to a cameraman who had recently passed away. Fortunately, Leonardo Belen, the chairman, had called Mayo’s attention so the tribute was executed midway in the program. But the minor faux pax, Mayo still received an undue reprimand from Mike Relon Makiling, the incoming chairman. Leonardo Belen just shook his head for the childish act, not of Mayo’s but of Makiling’s.
“Dapat siguro mabigyan ng award si Gil Saldaga. Biruin mo, mamamatay na siya nun sa ospital pero yung KDPP pa ang sinasabi niya,” Mayo reflects with evident admiration for Saldaga. “He may be the worst president kasi medyo mismanaged tsaka magulo talaga ang KDPP nung time niya pero sa dedication… walang tatalo kay Gil Saldaga.” Although not proven, there were talks that funds were embezzled, not by Saldaga himself but by his gullibility and excessive compassion which were reasons enough for some KDPP members to abuse his kindness.
Mayo’s term suffered a big setback when an 11-man breakaway group formed their own guild called DGPI (Directors’ Guild of the Philipppines Inc.). The intramural for post position was both friendly and heated. Thinking that only one guild deserved recognition by the Film Academy, the issued was resolved via voting of the FAP Board of Governors. Officially, the votes had denied the petition of the DGPI. But the affirmation of the one-guild policy for the KDPP was shortlived. For unexplained reasons, another motion was passed and another voting was held. This time, DGPI was proclaimed a proud member of the Film Academy together with KDPP. But before things had settled down, DGPI, on their own accord, had abandoned the umbrella of the Film Academy. (Incidentally, the editor of this website is Joe Carreon, presently the vice president of DGPI).
In consonance with the signs of the times, KDPP observed austerity by not holding a Christmas party. “Yung ibang guild madaling mag-solicit. Kahit yung mga artista puwedeng manghingi sa kapuwa artista. Pero kaming mga director, kanino kami hihingi? Siyempre mataas ang tingin ng tao sa ‘min kaya…” Mayo finishes his statement with a headshake. Indeed, directors are looked up to and it’s pathetic to see them begging for alms just to hold a party.
The KDPP had recently undergone a name change to PMPDA (Philippine Motion Pictures Directors Association). “Nung nasa India kasi ako hindi nila maintindihan ang meaning ng KDPP (acronym) kaya naisip ko gawin na lang English para international ang dating,” Director Mayo says with his familiar serious tone.
The gloomy situation of the movie industry strongly reflects the pitiable plight of the directors. “Maraming directors na nagugutom kasi nga walang trabaho. Buti pa yung mga artista puwede sa TV kaso hindi ganung kadaling pasukin ang TV. Para kami nitong naghihintay ng awa sa mga producers.” Although the surrender was not explicit, William Mayo sees no light at the end of the tunnel unless the state of the movie industry improves. “May magagawa pa naman pero siguro dapat sa gobyerno manggaling ang initiative. Takot ang mga producers dahil rampant ang piracy eh.”
As a member of the FAP Board of Governors, William Mayo had initiated several projects for the purpose of generating the needed funds of the Film Academy. “Muntik na nga tayong magsara,” Mayo is referring to the Film Academy’s financial problem caused by a drastic budget cut. “Yung concert natin, very relevant yun dahil featured dun ang mga movie theme songs. Ang maganda dun, kikita ang Film Academy kaya hindi considered expense yun.” Kantang-Kanta is a concert slated for March which will feature singers and non-singers alike.
“Yung secretariat naman, iha-hire natin kahit per project na lang.” Mayo shows his compassion to the six staffers of the FAP secretariat who were terminated effective January 1, 2007. “Bayaan mo, pag nag-click ang mga projects… baka maibalik natin silang lahat.”
The young man with his visions had turned into a seasoned director, with his visions still intact. Wanting to be productive all the time, William Mayo has many plans in his head, projects that will benefit the movie industry especially the industry people that he had learned to love.
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