After more than twenty years in the broadcast media (“See-True,” “Scoop,” “Balita Ngayon,” “TV Patrol,” “The World Tonight,” “StarBrighters,” “Starwatch,” “Action 9,” “Barangay Showbiz” etc) I want to still hone my craft while giving the public the contents they do deserve like investigative documentaries so I never stop looking, as an independent filmmaker, for projects to enhance my broadcast career and my advocacies on social reforms. But the pursuit of social consciousness isn’t a walk in the park especially in the entertainment beat.
Never say die has been my battle cry on fusing socio-political insights and perspectives on entertainment narratives which I can proudly say I am able to deliver no matter the hurdles.
True enough, I was again able to mix entertainment with the so-called hard stuff when I stumbled the broadcast project of a documentary film on the making of Quezon City—the creation of the City of Quezon as envisioned by Manuel Luis Quezon in 1939. I was in the Quezon City Public Library May of last year to do researches on my late granduncle by affinity, the late Judge Damian L. Jimenez, the First Judge of Quezon City. It was a book idea I broached to Herbert Bautista, the Mayor of Quezon City when I saw and talked to him as I paid my last respects to his dad, the late actor and politician Herminio “Butch” Bautista. Herbert gave me the go-signal so I went to gather materials on the subject.
Until a separate project went ahead of the book project on Jimenez—the history of sort of QC.
I submitted the proposal to the QCPL which would still undergo bidding which we waited for a long time.
Since my director, the controversial Fil-Briton filmmaker Jowee Morel (“Moma,” “EC2Luv,” “Mga Paru-Parong Rosas,” “Mona Singapore Escort,” “When a Gay Man Loves,” “Latak,” “HiStory,” “Strictly Confidential” and “Leona Calderon”) and I agreed that even if our project wouldn’t be approved by the bidding committee, we still would want to go for it. Other options that propped up are to show it to local and international film festivals or pitch and sell them to TV networks which run documentaries.
Shoots on the principal photography we did on our own shoestring budget, shared expenses. It was indeed a big challenge for Jowee and I since we both decided to be indie creatives. Money supposedly meant for our food or payment for electric or water bills, we would channel to our production which was composed of two persons although once in a while Morel would be lucky to be sent with a dependable Production Assistant (PA).
I was the Supervising Producer, Production Manager, Scriptwriter, Talent Coordinator etc while Jowee was the Director, Cinematographer, Soundman etc. In other words, we were multitasking. It was exciting but at the same time, agonizing. Imagine, we were all set to go to a shoot when we suddenly discovered that we didn’t have enough bus fare to go to San Pablo City, for instance, to capture the transported old Tomas Morato house from Calauag, Quezon to Sitio de Amor in San Pablo where the exact edifice was bought and restored. I had to make things happen, though, because we already had an appointment and it was a chance to catch the so-called “White House” on camera.
But we were able to pull off the project in the middle of problems, natural and man-made. We had cooperative subjects and sources of materials like Quezon’s grandson Enrique Quezon Avanceña, the son of the only living child of Manuel and Aurora Aragon, Nini Quezon Avanceña; historian Xiao Chua; architect Gerard Lico, owners of Metro Manila College in Novaliches Natividad Villano and her niece Evelyne Dominguez; Manuel Morato; Retired Judge Joven Florido; Mar Pilar, Arch. Pedro Rodriguez and Henry Lagasca of the QC Planning and Development Office; Fides Sandoval of the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife etc. Nicel Lavente of Sogo Hotel was also very kind to us.
Doing the docu on the making of Quezon City was fun as well we did win the bid but it was no easy feat. (To be continued next week on the rare info about MLQ and QC).