Of writers & directors, dreams & ambitions

LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo - The Philippine Star

It was a most exciting week for us to be invited to the UP Diliman’s Writer’s Night that had veterans Bienvenido Lumbera and Pete Lacaba whom we joined at their table. Elsewhere in the huge hall were other familiar names like Marne Kilates, Charlson Ong, Lourd de Veyra and Butch Dalisay whom we could hardly spot, what with the hordes of budding writers in a night of loud music and song. It was our first time to the event, we told Pete, who shared that in the past, the event was held outdoors, which was cooler and less loud.

A few days later, the Directors Guild of the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI) held its general assembly and election of members at the Hotel Sequoia. In addition, past DGPI presidents were given tributes: The late Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Peque Gallaga, Carlitos Siguion-Reyna, Joey Reyes, Mel Chionglo and Tony Reyes. Also present at the event were chairman Briccio Santos of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), lawyer Toto Villareal of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and Jim Baltazar of CMB Films. Five new members were inducted that night: Marlon Rivera, Jerrold Tarog, Richard Somes, Tikoy Aguiluz and Paul Soriano.

We wandered around the tables and found more directors we hadn’t seen in months, others in years. There was Ricky Davao, his hair turning an attractive whitish. It seemed only yesterday that Ricky was among the very first actors we would manage in show business. He was still a student, already drawn to theater. Then, he married Jackielou Blanco and both had cute little children everyone predicted would grow up as the new generation of stars. They were both in-demand as actors. But the marriage went through domestic problems until they were no longer speaking to one another even while sharing the same abode.

Recently, Jackielou decided to move out (still a stone’s throw from the original house) and the atmosphere was more peaceful. Both are back in showbiz with Jackie as actress and Ricky more and more into directorial jobs for GMA 7.

At the same table as Ricky were Jeffrey Jeturian straddling both television and the movies; Joel David who lives and works in Hong Kong; and Ellen Ongkeko-Marfil of whom we have very good memories as our assistant on the set of Nora Aunor’s Himala under director Ishmael Bernal. We recall following Jeffrey’s career from being production assistant in Marilou’s Baby Tsina to coming up with his own films Sana Pag-ibig Na, Pila Balde, Tuhog and Kubrador that many consider as his crowning glory, which caused arguments between admirers and disdainers, and which brought back Gina Pareño to national attention.    

Sitting far from the crowd was Romy Suzara, action film director of the likes of Holdup, Pepeng Shotgun, Lagalag, Cariño Brutal, Sa Init ng Apoy as well as taking over Mario O’Hara’s Mga Bilanggong Birhen.

Of course, there was also Brillante “Dante” Mendoza, universally acclaimed production designer-turned-international director, alternately admired and panned for his Cannes Film Festival successes Serbis and Kinatay. He continuously rejects working in mainstream and prefers stories triggered off by real events. His latest “oeuvre” is Thy Womb (Sinapupunan) written by Henry Burgos and starring Nora Aunor.

Apart from them were Peque Gallaga, Joey Reyes, Mel Chionglo and Manny Castañeda whom we wanted to sit with. But the crowd’s attention had already been called to centerstage and the outcome from the elections.

The results were: Joel Lamangan, president; Manning Borlaza, chairman; Mike Sandejas, vice-president; Mac Alejandre, treasurer; Rica Arevalo, secretary; Ruel Bayani, head of membership; and Joyce Bernal, Ellen Ramos, Paolo Villaluna, Soxie Topacio and Cesar Apolinario as board members.

It was, for us, an entirely new experience getting a front seat to the celebrations normally reserved for the members. Our sincere thanks to the University of the Philippines’ Ronnie Amuyot and to the Director’s Guild of the Philippines’ Mike Sandejas for the invitations. As they always say: This made our day!

(E-mail your comments to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com or text us at 0917-8991835.)

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