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19 August 2007

boots anson roa

as i write this piece, i am watching/listening to u.p. arts and letters alumna boots anson roa and u.p. fine arts alumnus willie nepomuceno’s show music and memories (live over dzmm and skycable channel 26). i’ve been down with flu during the past few days. listening to tita boots and willie made my recovery easier.

i met tita boots very casually a few times in the past. i hosted u.p. diliman’s annual lantern parade at the amphitheater behind quezon hall with betsy enriquez (now u.p. diliman vice chancellor for student affairs) between 1999 and 2003. tita boots was a frequent judge. during our chance encounters prior to the parade, tita boots and i chatted a bit about u.p.’s iconic teachers. she remarked that in recent times, we produce fewer teachers like francisco arcellana, alejandro casambre, concepcion dadufalza, damiana eugenio, nieves benito epistola, consuelo fonacier, n.v.m. gonzalez, wilfrido maria guerrero, pacita guevara fernandez, wilhelmina ramas, and leticia tison. the u.p. teachers i mentioned belonged to one unique generation. universities may no longer produce teachers like them anymore.

one other time, i met tita tita boots on the set of jeffrey jeturian’s film bridal shower. i was then interested in working behind the camera. observing jeffrey on location proved to be a very enlightening experience. in the film, tita boots was model j.r. valentin’s mom. pre-kubrador gina pareňo played the role of tita boots’ would be balae. during j.r.’s wedding scene with francine prieto, jeffrey didn’t like the bit players playing the role of tita boots’ other children. left with very dismal choices, jeffrey asked me and his other friends on the set to take over and play the bit parts ourselves. i have no interest in acting. but there are times when i cannot say no to friends. so i acted out a number of scenes with tita boots. just before our take, i made tita boots blush by telling her that she was crush ng bayan during her u.p. years. in fact, poet, university professor emeritus and former u.p. vice president jimmy abad admitted the he and his u.p. student catholic action (upsca) friends were infatuated with tita boots in college. tita boots went on to cite other popular u.p. campus figures from her time. she really didn’t want to take all the attention to herself.

i feel like writing about tita boots because she’s always been a gentle, sensitive and generous person. just like willie nep, tita boots makes time for u.p. whenever the university needs her to host important events or endorse fundraising projects to improve the plight of u.p. faculty members and students.

this afternoon, tita boots surprised me by appearing in her radio show days after her husband pete was cremated and interred at the st. therese columbarium in villamor air base, pasay city. she overwhelms her grief by cheering up others through her radio show. her presence assured me that there’s an upside to grief, sickness or death.

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04 August 2007

joey albert returns to manila

hours back, i attended joey albert's homecoming concert with louie ocampo at the music museum in greenhills. as usual, many people flocked to greenhills to listen to joey's music. she sang her hits (e.g., collaborations with louie ocampo: tell me, iisa pa lamang, yakapin mo ako, it's over now, ikaw lang ang mamahalin, and without you; gerry paraiso's over and over; robert more's a million miles away; danny tan's iisa pa lamang; and jose mari chan's i remember the boy). she also sang louie ocampo's other hits (e.g., ewan, shadow of time, you are my song, say that you love me), burt bacharach, henry mancini, other standards, samba and bossa nova classics. as expected, joey's concert was magical. her musical collaboration with louie ocampo remains a formidable force within the local music industry.

but it wasn't easy getting tickets to joey's concert. tickets were sold out days before the concert date. not wanting to disturb joey, i ran to carla (a good friend and joey's sister-in-law) yesterday morning. though joey was very busy preparing for her gig, she was able to text back and secure close-to-the-stage orchestra seats for me at the very last minute.

i've been an avid follower of joey's music for ages now. joey and i also exchanged emails quite frequently when i lived in australia as a phd student. i am just so thrilled to see her with her family in manila.

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with vancouver-based filipina singer and composer joey albert

joey albert sings tell me with louie ocampo on the keyboard


The latest on Jeffrey Jeturian's KUBRADOR

GFI Announces Global Lens 2008 Film Lineup
New Crowned Hope, FIPRESCI and Un Certain Regard selections lead series in its 5th year

San Francisco, CA - August 7, 2007 - The Global Film Initiative announced today ten award-winning narrative, feature films from Argentina, China, Croatia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Philippines and South Africa that will headline the Global Lens 2008 film series.

"The films selected for Global Lens 2008 are beautiful, powerful stories that represent the best of cinema from around the world-they must be seen and experienced," says Susan Weeks Coulter, Board Chair of The Global Film Initiative.

Leading the list are critical favorites Opera Jawa (New Crowned Hope), The Bet Collector (FIPRESCI) and Luxury Car (Un Certain Regard). Also included is Sundance/NHK award-winner, The Custodian (Golden Berlin Bear nomination), and South African comedic hit, Bunny Chow (Official Selection, Toronto IFF).

Global Lens 2008, now in its fifth year, will premiere at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in January, before embarking on year-long tour of over thirty cities across the United States. For screening-dates and locations, please visit: http://www.globalfilm.org/calendar.php
Global Lens 2008 films:

· ALL FOR FREE (SVE DZABA), dir. Antonio Nuić, Croatia, 2006
Personal tragedy leads a young man to buy a mobile refreshment truck and embark on a darkly humorous and quixotic journey across post-war Bosnia-Herzegovina.

· THE BET COLLECTOR (KUBRADOR), dir. Jeffrey Jeturian, Philippines, 2006
A resilient housewife's job of collecting cash bets on the local numbers-game takes a psychological toll on her in the days before All Saint's Day.

· BUNNY CHOW, dir. John Barker, South Africa, 2006
Three up-and-coming comedians head out on a road trip, abandoning rules, reason and girlfriends to find music and the meaning of life in the "new" South Africa.

· THE CUSTODIAN (EL CUSTODIO), dir. Rodrigo Moreno, Argentina, 2006
A man's threshold for the mundane is chronicled by the uneventful days of his life as a bodyguard for a high profile politician.

A group of resourceful women use food to convince a stubborn businessman to allow them to continue operating a restaurant in a building he owns.

· KEPT & DREAMLESS (LAS MANTENIDAS SIN SUEÑOS), dir. Vera Fogwill and Martín Desalvo, Argentina, 2005
Set during Argentina's economic crisis of the nineties, a drug-addicted mother struggles to keep her life afloat with the aid of her fiercely affectionate nine year-old daughter.

· THE KITE (LE CERF-VOLANT), dir. Randa Chahal Sabbag, Lebanon, 2003
On the eve of her marriage, a Lebanese girl realizes she is in love with the Israeli solider guarding the border checkpoint that separates her from her fiancé.

· LET THE WIND BLOW (HAVA ANEY DEY) dir. Partho Sen Gupta, India, 2004
At the height of nuclear-tensions between India and Pakistan, a restless group of friends weigh the bitter reality of their lives against fate and the philosophy of a nation.

· LUXURY CAR (JIANG CHENG XIA RI), dir. Wang Chao, China, 2006
A man travels to the city to visit his daughter-a karaoke bar escort-hoping to fulfill his wife's last wish of finding their missing son.

· OPERA JAWA, dir. Garin Nugroho, Indonesia, 2006
In the lush interior of Java, a potter's wife is seduced into a tragic love triangle in this stylish adaptation of the Hindu epic, The Ramayana.
The Global Film Initiative is a U.S.-based, 501(c)3 organization specializing in the acquisition, distribution and support of independent film from the developing world. Founded in 2002 with the mission of promoting cross-cultural understanding through cinema, each year the Initiative awards numerous grants to deserving filmmakers from emerging nations, and supports a touring film series entitled Global Lens. For more information about the Global Lens film series and The Global Film Initiative programs, please visit: http://www.globalfilm.org.

from atty. joji alonso antonio:
armando lao, mlr rilms launch screenwriting workshop

In its continuing advocacy for the creation of alternative films, MLR Films wishes to invite all interested writers who have written a script for television, stage plays, short films, full length feature films, and similar materials, to a SCRIPT WRITING workshop. The workshop will be held at a venue, to be announced later, inside the UP Diliman campus. It is sponsored in part by the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). The workshop will be held every Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1-7pm on the following dates: Sept 15/16, Sept 22/23, Sept 29/30, Oct 6/7, Oct 13/14, Oct 21/22 and Oct 27/28. The actual scriptwriting and consultation stage will be held in the months of November and December this year.

The workshop will be conducted by no less than Armando "Bing" Lao. For those who still don't know Bing, he grew up in General Santos, South Cotabato where he attended his primary and secondary education. In college, he took up Commerce at the University of the East, Manila. For the next eight years or so, Lao worked for various business companies in the accounting department. But in 1980, he decided he wanted to become a scriptwriter. He has never regretted that decision.

He initially wrote for television drama programs and anthologies, notable of which were VIVA’S SPOTLIGHT, RPN 9’s DAVAO and GMA’s docu-drama WALANG BAKAS.
To date, Bing has written over twenty produced screenplays, majority of them critically acclaimed.

He has received six Manunuri awards for Best Screenplay for the following films—Takaw-Tukso, Itanong Mo Sa Buwan, Pila-Balde, Tuhog and La Vida Rosa. His latest written work, Minsan Pa was adjudged the 2005 Best Picture by the Young Critics Circle. Internationally, Pila-Balde won the NETPAC Jury Award in the first CineManila International Film Festival and likewise won the Gold Award in the 2000 Worldfest Film Festival, Houston, Texas, U.S.A. It has since been exhibited in various film festivals abroad. Tuhog qualified as the Philippine official entry to the Cinema Present section in the 2000 Venice Film Festival.

Bing, who teaches film writing to both graduate and undergradute students at the University of the Philippines Film Institute, has mentored new writers whose films help propagate what he considers a narrative paradigm which favors strong cultural content and authentic representation, properties that make a film distinctly Filipino and globally competitive as well. Films like Masahista, Manoro, Kubrador, and Foster Child have validated this paradigm, the films having won acceptance and critical acclaim from prestigious film festivals abroad. The CineMalaya best picture Tribu is the latest product of Lao’s realist manual. The still unreleased Tirador, another realist film, has been accepted in the Toronto Film festival this year. The scripts of the two films were also written under Bing's supervision.

Bing has been asked a number of times to sit as juror to scriptwriting contests and to facilitate scriptwriting workshops. He was a member of the 2005 CineMalaya screening committee. When asked what advice he can give to new filmmakers, he quipped: “Be culturally correct”.

The workshop can only accomodate 30 people. Because of this limitation, we invite interested participants to email us as soon as possible your filmography so we can begin the selection process for the 1st batch of workshoppers. You may send your filmographies to jojialonso@mlrfilms.com or to armando_lao@yahoo.com or preferably to both. You may also contact our workshop director, Seymour "Meyor" Sanchez at 0918 3384771. The workshop will begin as soon as Bing arrives from the Toronto International Film Festival.

The workshop fee is P5,000. FDCP's has generously agreed to cover P3,000 of this fee. The actual cost to the participant has thus been reduced to P2,000 only. A word of caution to food seekers, there will be no lavish food served during the workshop. But there will be coffee with biscuits/cookies.

The scripts/products of the workshop will continue to be owned by the writer-participant. MLR Films and the FDCP will assist in finding potential producers for the finished products.

Thank you and kindly spread the word. We are looking forward to another batch of great scripts!

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