Natatanging Gawad Urian
By Benilda S. Santos
Jose Flores Lacaba, poet, freelance journalist, screenwriter, editor, translator, and professional lecturer on journalism and literature is a quintessential Filipino nationalist whose engagement in the humanities and the arts, as well as in film and in media, makes him one of our most important living writers and intellectuals.
Lacaba was born in Cagayan de Oro City in 1945 where his father’s work brought the family, but spent most of his youth in Pateros, his mother’s hometown where they finally settled. The eldest of six children, he attended school at Pasig Catholic College. A scholarship grant enabled him to enroll at the Ateneo de Manila University and work towards an A.B. in English Literature. However, three years were all he could allow himself to experience in an academic environment quite unlike the early postwar years, the ‘50s, and the ‘60s in Pateros, and even elsewhere in Manila and the suburbs. In junior year, he left the university. Perhaps, it was his way of coming into his own, his way of working as an artist who remains influential in his time.Read more
By Nicanor G. Tiongson
At the age of 8, Armida Liwanag Ponce-Enrile appeared as an extra with the child star Tita Duran in a movie called Yaman ng Mahirap (1938), which was directed by Armida’s aunt, Carmen Concha. That experience enchanted the young Armida and from then on she was enthralled by the art of cinema. On her way to school (FEU Grade School), she would stop at the Star Theatre to gawk at the movie stills of Rudy Concepcion, Rosario Moreno and Corazon Noble. During the Japanese Occupation, she learned the songs of her idol Fely Vallejo, who was the ghost singer for Corazon Noble and Norma Blancaflor. From the film musicals of the late 30s she developed her passion for the Filipino song.
But her fascination with cinema and desire to be in film did not sit well with her father, the noted lawyer Alfonso Ponce-Enrile. Right after the war, she took screen tests with Palaris Films and was offered the chance to be the young lead of Fernando Poe Sr.’s company. Promptly, her father sent her away to the Academy of St. Joseph in Long Island, New York, where she graduated high school in 1948. The following year, she secretly auditioned for a role in the new Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I by singing the Deanna Durbin song, “The Italian Street Song” (with a high C in the end, Armida adds). Her chances of being taken were good but the nuns of Saint Joseph found out about the audition and reported it to her father. As expected, her father ordered her to come home immediately.Read more
By Bien Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
THE way filmmaking is shaping up in our time, the mainstream film industry seems to be in its twilight years. The terms “dying” and “moribund” have been used, but Star Cinema and Viva Films are still struggling to come out with movies that raise hopes that the industry will yet revive. Twilight is a romantic time of day, and those hopes just might materialize into films when the nation’s economy allows such recuperation. So, it’s twilight time. And against such a romantic setting, it seems timely and perhaps imperative that tribute be paid to a filmmaker whose multiple faces justify the hopes that have been raised.
Peque Gallaga, at 56, has spent 36 years in the industry, directing 36 films, writing 22 film stories, acting in 13 movies and producing four. He made a name for himself as a knowledgeable production designer, authored stories for film and screenplays, acted in many films, and was a producer for movies. Indeed, he is the epitome of the compleat Filipino cinema artist.Read more
Ni ROLANDO TOLENTINO
Kinikilala bilang tagahawan ng landas (pioneer) ng kasalukuyang pamumulaklak ng Philippine independent cinema, si Kidlat Tahimik ay ang kumakatawan sa non-komersyal at malayang produksyon pampelikula sa huling 30 taon.
Tunay na filmmaker (direktor-aktor-scriptwriter-editor-cinematograper) na masaklaw ang panghawak sa independent spirit, installation at performance artist, edukador ng independent filmmaking, jury sa film festivals, katuwang na tagapagtatag ng Baguio Arts Guild, at bumuo ng proyektong video para sa mga Ifugao, si Kidlat Tahimik ay gumamit ng katutubo at avant garde na konsepto sa filmmaking, at napagyaman ang mga ito bilang mahalagang daluyan ng pelikung Filipino.
Halaw sa metapora ng pagtuklas at pagpapalaya ng “sariling dwende” (non-formula ingredients), ang filmmaker ay gumagawa ng “technically unpolished films,” gamit ang “bahag-cum-bamboo-camera” sa pagdramatisa ng “advocacy for films that reflect the indio-genious talents of the Pinoy.” Na bago pa man naisilang ang Philippine independent cinema ng kasalukuyan, nandoon na si Kidlat Tahimik.Read more
By BUTCH FRANCISCO
This year’s recipient of the Natatanging Gawad Urian for lifetime achievement is producer and industry leader Marichu Maceda. The Manunuri is giving the award to her for her long years of leadership in the movie industry, resulting in the institution of policies, programs and even agencies catering to the needs and interests of movie professionals.
Maceda was instrumental in the passage of Republic Act 9167, the law that created the Film Development Council of the Philippines, which formulates programs and grants incentives to improve the quality of Filipino movies. The council has formed the Cinema Evaluation Board, which evaluates and grades films submitted to it and depending on the ratings, grants them incentives.
To the film studio born, Maria Azucena “Marichu” Vera-Perez Maceda lives, eats, and breathes movies. After all, she belongs to the family that established (in 1937) the country’s biggest dream factory that was Sampaguita Pictures.Read more
By Lito B. Zulueta
In an industry of tincan careers, tired formulas and short shrifts, Eddie Garcia defies easy definition. Widely known as an actor, he is however more than that; he is also a director, perhaps the most commercially successful of Filipino directors in the highly commercial 1980’s, an establishment figure who is however a great supporter of independent cinema, a photographer, a ladies’ man, and an icon.
Perhaps more than any Filipino actor, Eddie Garcia has appeared in the most number of movies, some 250 movies as of 2005. He has acted in just about every genre in feature filmmaking, and even figured in shorts and features from the alternative cinema. The sheer variety of roles he has done runs the gamut of genres, formulas, and typecasting. He has done drama, comedy, action movies, fantasy, and musical. The list of his acting jobs reads like a history of Philippine cinema in the last 50 years. Read more
By DR. BIENVENIDO LUMBERA
nce upon a time in Philippine movies, when the car with Rogelio de la Rosa as family driver leaves the driveway of the palatial home of "senorita" Carmen Rosales, and seconds later, enters the gate of the residence of the senorita's friend, some discombobulated moviegoer would mutter, "Ang dali naman!" (But that's much too soon!). The implied complaint, we now understand, had been triggered off by a disruption on-screen of the moviegoer's sense of real time. The annoyed viewer at that time did not yet know how to distinguish the passage of minutes in his watch from the lapse of time on-screen.
Then came along the 1941 black-and-white Ibong Adarna by Vicente Salumbides. When the legendary bird of the popular metrical romance flaps its wings and begins to sing, the feathers of the adarna corruscates with colors painted onto the celluloid as the song weaves its enchantment and the goodly young prince Fred Cortes strives to keep awake by wounding his arm, a titter of amazement in the audience affirms the magic` of film editing.Read more
By LITO B. ZULUETA
WITH her stately beauty, impeccable grace, and regal bearing, Gloria is the quintessential Philippine movie star. She is as beautiful as they come, but could have been waylaid by the vagaries of fate that usually attend those who aspire for renown: dissipation, dissolution, and loss of audience and fame. But she has avoided all of these, and even if she is not anymore the superstar that she was in the 1950's, when she became queen of the movies, she is at least the figure against whom every star, aspiring or established, measure herself. She is not only admired for her longevity, she is also respected for her accomplishments. She is not only a survivor; she is an icon. Read more
By DR. BIENVENIDO LUMBERA
usto makilala nila ako na I'm a writer, na I'm not just a scriptwriter. In the end, pag nawala na ako, sana pag pinag-usapan nila ako, sasabihin nila, "A, oo, si Ricky, 'yung writer." -"Pasakalye," interbyu ni Flor C. Caagusan
The Philippine film industry in this time of crisis can look back to its harvest of movies in the past two decades and consider itself enriched by the work of a writer whose screenplays have given the industry subject matter, characters and themes that affirm the transitional, the emergent and the troubling in our cultural heritage. That writer is Ricardo Lee whose most earnest screenplays are a legacy for a future generation that could learn much from the society and the Filipinos that Lee has created.Read more
By LITO B. ZULUETA
FERNANDO POE JR. is the quintessential Filipino action hero: sensitive, ruggedly hand some, a loner although not necessarily a recluse, sporting a kind mien and blazingly quick with his fists, slow to anger but quick to the draw, a man who leaves in his wake the bad guys upbraided, the good ones upheld, and the altar of justice served.
In short, Fernando Poe Jr. is the people's champion. In the escapist and reality-denying ambience of Philippine cinema, the image Poe has assiduously carved for himself as a lonely but ultimately public man, one who is forced to take on the cause of the people because he has no other choice but to do so, has been one that has suffered relatively negligible wear and tear. The image continues to dazzle, impress and convince because as an actor and an artist, Poe is in full possession of his person and his craft.Read more