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Gerardo De Leon

- National Artist for Cinema 1982


- Born on September 12, 1913 in Manila to the Ilagan clan known for motion pictures.
- He had his first job when he was in high school as a piano player at Cine Moderno in Quiapo in
which he played as an accompaniment to the silent films that were being shown.
- He is a doctor by profession but he only practiced it briefly as he pursued his passion of directing
movies.
- During the Japanese occupation, the Japanese selected him to direct several propaganda films
aimed at the Filipino population which showed them the “benefits” of the Japanese invasion
and occupation of the country. He was arrested after the liberation of the country and was
charged with treason by the new government where the punishment is death. He was pardoned
at the last minute as former guerillas testified in his behalf that he was helping them with the
underground resistance.
- Because of the Philippines’ economy and damp tropical climate (to say nothing of its turbulent
political one) are detrimental to archiving audiovisual material, all but a few of the films from De
Leon’s prime appear to be lost forever. Indeed, as Richard Peña, programmer for New York’s
Film Society of Lincoln Center, has said, “To the best of my knowledge, there are only five of De
Leon’s films that exist in whole or in fragment of the 60 or so that are attributed to him.”
- What sets him apart is not just the sui generis muscularity of his films or his impressive
flexibility, but his persistence. Gerry de Leon straddled the terrain between the disposable and
the durable for much of his working life, and mined improbably rich material from it – all for no
other reason than that he loved making movies.
- De Leon is a master of Gothic cinema, and here employs his visual style to help elevate the
melodrama (and the story of Noli Me Tangere told with the pace and running time of a normal
film would qualify as melodrama, if not unintended comedy) to the level of tragedy. He’s full of
startling effects: the “money shot” for example -- uninterrupted footage of sensational action --
of a child dropped down a flight of stairs (you wince and wonder: 1. where they found a stunt
man small enough to pass for a child; or 2., if that’s a real child then how -- or if -- the poor thing
survived the fall); the shock cuts (the moment the youth hits the floor De Leon cuts to Sisa
whirling -- in reflection of the sudden turn of events -- to face the camera); the canted angles
(the Sacristan looming over his helpless charges); the beautifully moody lighting (Sisa’s two
children, looking lost in the shadows of the stone belfry. More than any other effect the film
really makes brilliant use of the close-up.

Famous works

 Ang Maestra featuring Rogelio de la Rosa and Rosa del Rosario with Eddie Romero as writer
– This was his biggest pre-war hit
 Daigdig ng mga Api
- This is the story of millions of Filipinos for them to live a life of penury.
 Noli Me Tangere
- According to Juned , “the films Noli and Fili are worth watching because of De Leon’s
visual style of storytelling that embellishes the scene with emotions. The fact that it was done in
Black and White only heightens the visual impact. Another reason it is worth watching is that
there are only a limited copies of the films – Noli was restored in Germany while Fili seems to
have disappeared into the past with only bits and pieces surfacing from time to time. And that is
why when one or both of the films are shown it is worthwhile to watch it.”
 El Filibusterismo
- Officially there is no existing print left of El Fili. Rumor has it that one exists in some lab
in Germany--but no further news has been heard since. I managed to catch the film on Viva
Channel years ago, in what appears to be a poor video recording of a faded print, with almost
none of the dialogue discernible (the cable channel no longer exists, and I have no idea what has
happened to their copy). In a way, it was like watching a silent film adaptation of a literary
classic.

And it works; the plot is complex, but all you need to know can be learned from the images
onscreen. Proud white mestizos hover high and haughty over dark-complexioned indios; heroes
Basilio, Isagani, Kabesang Tales--indioswith rare courage and intelligence--defy civil and church
authority. And behind all loom the shadowy figure of Simoun: jeweler, master manipulator,
representative of all that is black and bitter within Rizal himself.
 Sisa
- The classic film is a revisionist and visually enticing story of Jose Rizal’s character, Sisa.
It bears most of the signature shots of de Leon. The first shot is a memorable close-up image of
a smiling Sisa enthralled by the singing of Maria Clara. Near the end of the film is an equally
memorable shot of a dark shadow cast against the walls of the bell tower.
 Sawa sa lumang simboryo
- This is a great fantasy film about a legendary bandit and his python-guarded treasure
trove.
 Dyesebel
- Dyesebel is a story of a girl with a mother who is really obsessed with mermaids. When
she was born, she had deformities which her father was really angry. The family decided to
relocate and leave their village so they can raise Dyesebel secretly and to avoid from angry
mobs. Dyesebel met his guy Fredo who saved him when she was kidnapped.
 Banaue
- The Ifugao tribe's quest for the promised land is paved with good intentions.
 Brides of Blood Island
- Natives of a tropical island have to contend with man-eating plants and animals,
mutations caused by radioactivity. Virgin sacrifices become the norm. A small group of
interlopers become caught up in the mayhem.

Achievements/Awards

 The only director in the Philippines to have won the FAMAS Award for Best Director three
consecutive times: in 1960, 1961 and 1962.
 The most-awarded director in the history of the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences: 7
awards.
Amable “Tikuy” Aguiluz

- Born in January 1, 1952


- Aguiluz is one of the leading figures in the alternative cinema movement in the Philippines
- He first made his mark with the 15-minute documentary Mt. Banahaw, Holy Mountain. The film
won Silver Trophy at the prestigious Young Filmmakers of Asia Festival in Iran.

Famous Works

 Boatman
Disconcerting portrait of ambitious newcomer in the world of sweaty sex shows, who
seems to want to do anything to get success. A variation on the classic story of the
country kid looking for work in the big city.
 Rizal sa Dapitan
About the life of Jose Rizal when he was exiled in Dagupan until his execution in
Bagumbayan which started the Philippine Revolution
 Segurista “Dead Sure”
the double life of an insurance agent and Guest Relations Officer (another term for
hostess at a club) that would astound critics. The film’s tragic end leaves a hauntingly
 Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story
Manila Kingpin is based on the story of the notorious Tondo, Manila, gang leader Nicasio
"Asiong" Salonga . It is also the first Filipino major film produced in black-and-white in
the 21st century as well as the returning action genre movie.

Achievement/Awards

 Credited as the co-founder of the UP Film Institute in 1976 where he served as the
assistant director until 1990.
 Received the Rockefeller III Grant to study filmmaking at the New York University and
film archiving at the Library of Congress Film Archives in Washington, DC.
 As a director, his first full-length feature film was Boatman in 1984 which was
acknowledged as the outstanding film of the year at the 1985 London Film Festival.
 His 1996 film Segurista was selected as the official Philippine entry to the Oscars for the
Best Foreign-Language Film category.
 Served as the jury of film festivals across the world including Berlin, Singapore, Delhi
and more.
 The founder of the Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila in 1999.
 Won the Best Director Award at the 2011 Metro Manila Film Festival for the
movie Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story.
 Won 3 FAMAS awards for his works in Manila Kingpin and Rizal sa Dapitan
 Won Best Director and Best Screenplay for his movie Segurista
He desperately wanted to quit but his passion for cinema prevailed and he finished a documentary, Mt.
Banahaw, Holy Mountain (1976) which became his ticket to the world. Banahaw earned him the Silver
trophy at the Young Filmmakers of Asia Festival. Lax censorship rules to pacify general unrest of the
times heralded the “Bomba” era of the ’70s to ’80s. Tikoy’s The Boatman, a picture of live sex
performers, was shown at the Manila Film Center of First Lady Imelda Marcos. It highlighted the
repressive and miserable conditions during the Marcos era. The film was brilliantly directed with a raw,
uncompromising, sexually explicit look that caused its lead Ronnie Lazaro to swear never ever to come
within shouting distance of his director again.

Boatman has been described to be the first sex film to truly raise itself to the level of art.” Not long
after, Tikoy saw the opportunity of having domestic films infiltrate the international market through co-
productions, and to bring back what was to have been the blueprint of the ill-fated Manila International
Film Festival of Imelda Marcos. It was in 1999 that CineManila opened the gates of Philippine cinema to
the world. Rizal Sa Dapitan (Rizal in Dapitan, 1977), his take on the exile of National Hero Jose Rizal, was
among the best of the many Rizal films on the landscape. It was a favorite among award-giving bodies
that year, winning the Gatpuno Antonio J. Villegas from Urian, Centennial Award from FAMAS and two
Best Director trophies from FAMAS and Star Awards, among others. Rizal Sa Dapitan also confirmed
Tikoy’s inclination towards stories of heroism. His earlier film Bagong Bayani (A New Hero,
1995) dissects the controversial case of Flor Contemplacion convicted of murdering a fellow overseas
worker.