Text and photos by Monsi A. Serrano
Celebrating the centennial of the Philippine movie industry last Thursday at the New Frontier Theater in Cubao, Quezon City was star-studded, to say the least.
The red carpet was rolled out for honorees who made the film industry glitzy and dreamy then and now and, as such, became a grand reunion not just of the stars and directors, but for every bit player on- and off-camera.
Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) Chairman Liza Diño was well applauded by filmdom’s elite for organizing the milestone of an event dubbed Sine Sandaan: Celebrating the Luminaries of Philippine Cinema’s 100 Years.”
At the cocktails at Novotel before the grand gala at the New Frontier, Diño shared with THEPHILBIZNEWS her excitement over the historical event happening during her tenure in the FDCP. “We need to honor them, because back in their time when technology was not available yet, Filipinos’ creativity was already palpable.”
“As we go along, the Filipino films have received various recognitions around the world, proving that we are one of the forefronts of the film industry in the region,” she said. It is for this reason that the FDCP was honouring 300 luminaries of local cinema.
One of them was Heneral Luna star and multi-awarded actor John Arcilla. Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Arcilla said: “This is something I don’t want to end, to celebrate where my life is spent; where I developed my craft. I am honored that I will be standing with the big names who started the birth of the Philippine movie. I am grateful that this grand reunion brings everyone together to celebrate an unforgettable occasion in our country. I can only wish and pray that the next generation to come will have the appreciation for Philippine movies regardless of the genre.”
The New Frontier Cinema was dressed up as an Art Deco cinema, truly bringing back the years to the golden ages of local movies when actors were the gods and goddesses of the silver screen.
A group of guests from the association of Production Designers could not help but muse over the design and nostalgia. “It perfectly depicted even the like the standalone theater back in the Golden Age of Philippine Cinema. The intricate designs, structure and which captured the birth of Philippine movies which has been molding and enriching Filipino culture,” they said.
Director Mel Chionglo, one the best filmmakers in attendance and one of the Director Luminary awardees., told THEPHILBIZNEWS: “This is an exciting event, and I wish the ones who have gone ahead of us, were here with us – like Manoy (Eddie Garcia). He would have loved to celebrate this centennial year of Philippine movies. He is truly a legend and if not for that tragic incident, he would be here on time.”
Diño emphasized that the event launching the centennial of Philippine cinema is for everyone, that is why even the families of the stars are invited and that the fans are also part of it.
“That is why even the unsung heroes are also being honored today. And if you will notice, when you go to the New Frontier Theater, we made sure that the iconic theater are also given utmost ecoration that fits to the heroes and heroines of the film industry,” she said.
Many of those given tribute at the gala were names that may not ring a bell, but certainly have their rightful places in the closing billboards of the biggest movies and nomination rolls of the most prestigious film awards.
“Producing a film is team work. Everyone has an important role to fulfil,” said the FDCP chairman. “From Directors, Producers, Scriptwriters, Actors and Actresses, name it, everyone gives his heart and soul to make a movie beautiful. And in this 100th year of the Philippine movie, we celebrate unity and diversity of the Filipino people who made us known to the whole world through our movies.”
Opening the program was a song and dance performance to the tune of “Hindi Madaling Gumawa ng Pelikula,” followed by an inspirational message from Diño who gave tribute to all those who dedicated their lives to making movies in the country.
One of the highlights of “Sine Sandaan” was the unveiling of a commemorative stamp honoring the Centennial of Philippine Cinema
The rest of the night unfolded naturally as magical event for fellowship and reminiscing.
“Personally, I salute FDCP Chairman Liza Diño and her able team. Napakagandang aktibidad at pagdiriwang nito at napaganda pa nang husto sa tema ng kanilang ginawa,” Arcilla said.
It was a milestone of an event since the Philippines is one of the first countries in Asia to have its own film industry – thanks to dedicated Filipinos with a desire to showcase Filipino culture and identity.