By LIZA DIÑO-SEGUERRA
Notes from the Chair
The Sunday Times Magazine
The Manila Times
November 8, 2020
In going online with the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino (PPP), the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) takes full advantage of its new platform as it expanded its usual 8- to 10-film lineup for the festival to a whopping 170 films for a run of more than three weeks.
“Manila by Night” by Ishmael Bernal is in the PPP4 Classics section.
Of the 170 films, a few are having their premieres online, in the Philippines, or in the world through the Premium Selection section, while most of the titles have already been shown in the country.
“Ang Panday” by Ronwaldo Reyes (the directorial name of Fernando Poe, Jr.), Classics section.
We carefully curated the 4th PPP so that it will have a diverse mix of new titles, classics, cult favorites, and critically acclaimed films — all testaments of the noteworthy brilliance and immense creativity of Filipino filmmakers, artists, and talents.
“Adela” by Adolfo Alix, Jr., Tribute section for Anita Linda.
In PPP4, we bring back the spotlight to our Philippine Cinema icons through the Tribute, Classics, and Pang-Oscars sections. We also have events that highlight film restoration and recognize some of our departed icons, including actors and filmmakers.
“Banaue” by Gerardo de Leon, Classics section.
And with this, FDCP goes back to the core of what film festivals like the PPP can be — a platform to educate and engage young audiences about important films in our history that they may have forgotten.
We take the opportunity for this year’s PPP to feature masterpieces by all eight National Artists for Cinema or Film. We are also screening restored versions from various film archives that serve as the guardians of our cinematic heritage. The FDCP’s Philippine Film Archive (PFA), ABS-CBN Film Archive, FPJ Film Archive, and Asian Film Archive in Singapore have joined hands in putting the importance of preserving our cinema in the forefront of PPP4.
A tribute fit for PH Cinema royalty
We have a long list of icons to honor but for this year’s PPP, our Tribute section recognizes seven departed screen legends: Dolphy, Eddie Garcia, Peque Gallaga, Marilou Diaz-Abaya, Mona Lisa, Armida Siguion-Reyna, and Anita Linda.
“Captain Barbell” by Jose “Pepe” Wenceslao, Tribute section for Dolphy
King of Comedy Dolphy is back in the film festival scene with the restored version of “Captain Barbell” by Jose “Pepe” Wenceslao. Another Dolphy movie in PPP4, the restored version of “Markova: Comfort Gay” by Gil Portes, is in the Premium Selection section.
The great Eddie Garcia is in “Deathrow” by Joel Lamangan. The other “Manoy” films in PPP4 are Lamangan’s “Rainbow’s Sunset” in the Bahaghari section and Eddie Romero’s “Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon?” in the Classics section.
“Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon?” by Eddie Romero, Classics section.
The inclusion of “Sonata” by Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes pays tribute to Gallaga. Another Gallaga-Reyes film that will be shown in PPP4 is “Aswang” in the Genre section.
The screening of “Muro-Ami” by Marilou Diaz-Abaya is in honor of the director whose other works in PPP4 are “Sa Pusod ng Dagat” in the Pang-Oscars section; “Jose Rizal” in the Genre section; and the restored version of “Brutal” in the Premium Selection section.
“Insiang” by Lino Brocka is for Mona Lisa, “Filipinas” by Lamangan is for Armida Siguion-Reyna, and “Adela” by Adolfo Alix, Jr. is for Anita Linda. A special tribute is also given to Marichu Vera-Perez Maceda, the executive producer of Mike de Leon’s “Batch ‘81” (restored), which is included in the Premium Selection.
Aside from the film screenings, the virtual “PPP Special Event: Tribute to the Icons of PH Cinema” will be held on December 5. This will make us reminisce about our icons and celebrate their legacy.
Timeless PH Cinema classics
The Classics section is for our beloved National Artists, and it features “White Slavery,” the second Brocka film in PPP4. The restored versions of “White Slavery” and “Insiang” (in the Tribute section) by National Artist for Cinema Lino Brocka are from the PFA Collection.
“Genghis Khan” by Manuel Conde, Classics section.
Other titles restored by the PFA that are in the Classics lineup are “Genghis Khan” by National Artist for Film Manuel Conde and “Manila by Night” by National Artist for Cinema Ishmael Bernal. The latter was banned during its release but will now be seen in 4K resolution in PPP4.
Completing the Classics are “Banaue” (restored) by National Artist for Cinema Gerardo de Leon, “Ganito Kami Noon… Paano Kayo Ngayon?” (restored) by National Artist for Cinema and Broadcast Arts Eddie Romero, “Balikbayan #1: Memories of Overdevelopment Redux VI” by National Artist for Film Kidlat Tahimik, and “Ang Panday” (restored) by Ronwaldo Reyes, the directorial name of National Artist for Cinema Fernando Poe, Jr.
“Anak Dalita” by National Artist for Theater and Film, Lamberto V. Avellana, was originally part of the Classics section. Due to the free screening agreement of ABS-CBN’s Sagip Pelikula Advocacy Campaign with LVN Pictures, Inc., “Anak Dalita” is now in the Sandaan section that has been offering free video-on-demand (VOD) streaming since October 31.
“PPP Film Talks: Preservation of Cinematic Heritage Featuring ‘Anak Dalita’” took place on November 7 while “PPP Learn: Film Restoration,” exclusive for PPP4 Premium Festival Pass holders, will be held on December 6.
Filipino films going global
The Pang-Oscars section has titles that were submitted as the official Philippine entry to the Best Foreign Language Film race of the Academy Awards. The Pang-Oscars titles are led by two Chito S. Roño films: “Signal Rock” and the restored version of “Dekada ’70.”
We also have “Sa Pusod ng Dagat” by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, “Saranggola” by Gil Portes, “Anak” (restored) by Rory Quintos, “Ma’ Rosa” by Brillante Mendoza, “Transit” by Hannah Espia, and “Verdict” by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez.
“Signal Rock,” as part of PPP 2018, won the Critics’ Choice and Special Jury Prize for lead actor Christian Bables. It was hailed as the Best Film at the 2019 Asean International Film Festival and Awards. Meanwhile, Venice International Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner “Verdict” was a Non-Competition Feature Film in PPP 2019.
Learning from the tribute screenings and events
Just as we continue to work towards a more progressive and sustainable film industry, we want to look back to pay tribute to the icons who helped shape Philippine Cinema. We also wish to promote our film industry’s heritage through PPP4.
You can catch the “Anak Dalita” free screening until December 13 on the FDCP Channel (fdcpchannel.ph) together with 80 titles from the PPP Short Film Showcase. These are available for free via VOD.
A total of 90 full-length features are part of PPP4, including the masterpieces from the Tribute, Classics, and Pang-Oscars sections. You can start watching these from November 20 until December 13 through paid scheduled livestream screenings in the PPP Main Feature Film Showcase.
There is so much to learn from our PH Cinema greats and legends, not just from their well-known and acclaimed works but also from their work ethic, love and passion for the art of filmmaking, and their formidable resolve to make things better in the industry.
Let’s all walk down memory lane and together, relive the greatness of our cinema icons through PPP.
Notes from the Chair is part of the Arts Awake section of The Sunday Times Magazine published by The Manila Times. Click HERE to view the article on The Manila Times website.