Friday, July 23, 2010

NANA'S NOTE ] Because she forgot to bring her statement on opening night


They're not here but the photographs in Working Class: A Reportage by Nana Buxani are moving, depressing, heartbreaking. We were there last Friday to give her a hug. Go see them at Manila Collective in Cubao X--so you can also read what she wrote.

The photographer will have a talk on Wednesday, July 28, 8pm in the same venue.

OBSESSED MUCH? ] Think you already live and breathe cinema? Here, meet SOFIA


In 1993, a group of professionals who were engaged in some form of archiving organized the Society of Film Archivists, the original name of SOFIA. Without funds, much less its own office and archiving facilities, the group members were fueled simply by their passion for film and their resolve to preserve the film heritage of the country.

SOFIA identified specific needs for the retrieval and restoration of endangered films. It also organized short-term training workshops in preservation and collection management, and offered to advice various institutions in their archiving programs. With the assistance coming from the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts, SOFIA was able to program the restoration of some landmark films, including the first film produced by LVN in 1938-1939 and some key films by major filmmakers like Gerardo de Leon, Lamberto Avellana, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal.

Philippine cinema is almost a hundred years young. In Asia, Filipino filmmakers were among the pioneers, its film industry among the largest in the world in terms of output for a good number of decades.

Of the roughly 8,000 plus full-length films produced in the first century of local cinema, many have been irretrievably lost, rendering moot anyone's judgment as to their artistic merits. Just as bad are the forgotten status of numerous talented filmmakers from way back, whose best works and once promising careers have fallen off the radar film history.


This film series, called Overlooked, Underrated, aims to re-assess certain films and filmmakers, by taking a second look at their unjustly neglected bodies of work, and even restore a few reputations in the process. This will help to expand the repertoire of Philippine cinema, by going beyond the programming of the usual auteurs and masterpiece titles. There will be much to discover, and rediscover, by rounding up not the usual suspects.

For now, the initial batch of films/filmmakers will be limited to six. As more "lost" and neglected films come to the surface from here and other parts of the world, this film series will continue to run, without an expiry date. Happy re-viewing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

BERLIN BOUND ] Artworks to be raffled off in fundraising to help send artists to Freies


On August 10, 6pm at Blanc in Shaw Boulevard. 30 artworks from Argie Bandoy, Poklong Anading, Bea Camacho, Lena Cobangbang, Maria Cruz, Pow Martinez, Robert Langenegger, David Griggs, Romeo Lee, Jayson Oliveria, Jucar Raquepo, Gaston Damag, Gerry Tan, MM Yu and Manuel ocampo will be raffled off.

To buy or reserve raffle tickets email or This is to raise funds in support of the participating artists who will show at the Freies Museum is Berlin in October.

CLOTHES ENCOUNTER ] Robert Alejandro sketches from The Sartorialist


"I never heard of the website "The Sartorialist" - not until I saw the book at a bookstore. I didn't want to buy the book - I already made purchases and my bag was extremely heavy. But then, I loved the photographs, I loved how the people looked in the photographs and I thought it would be such a joy to draw them. Here are the sketches I've made and sure enough, it is a joy to draw and sketch these wonderful people photographed by Scott Schuman.

"If you get the chance, do take a look at this book, "The Sartorialist". The fashion sense of some people are AMAZING! I love it when someone isn't afraid of color, texture, being noticed or stared at!

"I think I'm SO fashion backward. My closet is full of black, brown, gray and more gray. I wonder whether I'll ever get over the fear of people noticing me.

"I don't dress well and I know it (my mom used to complain about it but she has given up on me). In one word, I dress sloppy. But this book, the Sartorialist has made me think, that I should do better. I should take better care of myself. I should dress better. I especially like the photographs of mature men who make an extra effort in looking real sharp and real cool. I think, I'd love to grow old this way."

"Have I made an effort? Sometimes I wear a hat - and that is already a big thing for me."

For more of Robert's sketches of people from The Sartorialist, click here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

BRING YOUR ERMATS ] Or just bring a drink. The Living Room screens Tisoy


Nonoy Marcelo by Ishmael Bernal produced by Nora Aunor. Enough said.*

Tomorrow, July 15, Thursday at 8:30pm, The Living Room will be screening Tisoy. Bring a bottle or something to munch on. The Living Room is Unit 24, North Syquia Apartments, 1991 MH del Pilar, Malate, Manila.

*But if you want to read more about Nonoy Marcelo, and a little about Tisoy the comic strip, Joan Orendain wrote this piece on him following his death in 2002.

THIS WEEKEND AT NOVA ] William Gaudinez on his explorations on Philippine folk traditions


"Folk Art in the Philippines represents diversity on various materials such as Philippine hardwood, capiz, mother of pearl, carabao bone, carabao horn, etc. Folk artisans re-create church retablos, pillars, furniture, and vestments that even if they lack formal art training, have never ceased to amaze me. As a neo-folk artist, I am fascinated with the works of these unknown artisans, that has encouraged me to find experimental, innovative ways to make my own interpretations while focusing on the traditional methods such as woodcarving, inlaying, incising, and paintings which I have adapted as my personal quest for identity and aesthetic direction through researching the works of the folk artisans of Bohol, and the indigenous works of the Bukidnons, Tausugs, Maranaos, and of the North such as the Ifugaos and Kalingas.


"In my own small way, I’m striving to present a timeline of certain periods of our ruch cultural heritage, history and lessons based on the pre-Hispanic period up to the time of colonization by Spain and America. I have incorporated bits and pieces of our folk beliefs and customs such as the role of the stars in harvesting, planting, fishing, and the prominence of the phases of the moon and the stars/galaxies in our day to day existence. I’m also keenly interested in presenting contemporary interpretations of the retablos and urnas fused with inlaid materials as vehicles to present these timelines and also show ironies on history’s bitter twists and turns."

William Gaudinez's show Alay Sa Lemuria runs from July 17 to August 4, 2010 at NOVA Gallery, Warehouse 12A, La Fuerza Compound, 2241 Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City. All images by William Gaudinez courtesy of Nova Gallery.

Friday, July 9, 2010

SEVEN ON SIXTH ] The 7 reasons why we're going to Cinemalaya this week

cPhoto from this website.

1 Because we want to see The Cinema of Celso Ad Castillo, a documentary on the director's life by Ron Bryant, the indie director who gave us that underrated and memorable Cinemalaya entry from 2006 called Rotonda (which also starred Castillo). But we're watching, of course, because we are Celso Kid fans. From the bits we saw, big names from local cinema (Ricky Lee, Peque Gallaga, Mel Chionglo et al) discuss his contributions to Philippine film history, take us back to that momentous and controversial Metro Manila Film Festival in 1977 where Da Kid's Burlesk Queen won all, if not most, of the awards. Castillo, who was once touted local cinema's enfant terrible, gave us such unforgettable film images as the wet T-shirt catfights involving Elizabeth Oropesa and several other kamisa-clad women, the unbelievably beautiful young Gloria Diaz riding a horse on the beach, and the gorgeous vision of a shirtless Vic Vargas---and that's just from Ang Pinakamagandang Hayop Sa Balat ng Lupa. Da Kid also gave us the insanely passionate Tag-ulan sa Tag-araw, the weird and poetic Pagputi ng Uwak, Pag-itim ng Tagak, and, well, Virgin People. Tipiti-pitim-tipitim, anyone?

2 Because Mario O Hara has a film. Its called Ang Paglilitis Kay Andres Bonifacio. We're discouraged by the title, and encouraged to watch only because he gave us Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos and that other film with Tatlo and Nora Aunor in it, a personal favorite, Tatlong Ina, Isang Anak.

3 Because they’re screening the good films we’ve missed last year: Engkuwentro, Last Supper #3, Ang Panggagahasa Kay Fe, Colorum, and, yes, Here Comes the Bride. How do we know they're good? Because our friends said so--and our friends are the biggest snobs.

4 Because they’re showing all 20 shorts that comprise the ANC pre-election project Ambisyon2010, about 18 of which are surprisingly good. Our favorites: the amazingly cool and exhilarating Ayos Ka by Brillante Mendoza, the heartbreaking Lupang Hinarang by Ditsi Carolino and the charmingly simple Di Ako Makatulog Dahil Wala Ka Sa Tabi Ko by Jade Castro.

31204_1473274596868_1383758317_1279070_6574817_nFrancis Pasion shoots from the top of a sampaguita plantation.

5 Because an insider who's read the scripts have given us the titles to watch out for. From the Directors’ Showcase, Two Funerals (screenplay by Eric Ramos), Sigwa (Boni Ilagan) and Donor (Mark Meily). And from the New Breed category: Limbunan (Gutierrez Mangansakan II), The Leaving (Ian Lorenos), Sampaguita (Francis Xavier Pasion) and Si Techi, Si Technoboy at si JuanaB (Art Katipunan).

6 Because if all else fails, there is the always dependable sweet spaghetti in the CCP cafeteria. So hindi ka pa rin uuwing luhaan.

7 Because this is that one week, well 10 days, in a year where the entire CCP comes alive and it just feels good to be around all that energy from film workers and film fans who are discussing movies and not, thanks heavens, show biz.

For more information on the 6th Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition, visit their website and Facebook page.

CUBAO NEXT ] Jake Verzosa serves muffins, espresso and real life in Manila Collective


It’s been awhile since we last ventured into Cubao X, and it’s nice to know there have been movements within its artsy, endearingly scruffy enclave—despite our long absence (Jejeje). The whimsical furniture store Heima has opened its second floor to serve as its manlier showroom. Right across it, Mogwai has expanded its ground level space to include the area that the gallery Blacksoup Project used to occupy. And then, most recently, there’s photographer Jake Verzosa’s café taking over the space of the hip curio store Vintage Pop.

Jake’s space, which is also a gallery, is called Manila Collective Photospace + Café. It is a small white box that, like most of the artist-run establishments in the Cubao X cluster, has a cool, homey, DIY feel to it. The space opened last May with an exhibition of Jake’s photographs of last January’s Feast of the Black Nazarene. Jake has been devotedly covering the prusisyon for the past six years, but this year decided to use a stereo camera. Hence, the 3D glasses provided the guests during opening night (Forgive our cluelessness, but we just checked out the photos in the website using a pair of 3D glasses we found lying around in the office—-pretty cool.)


Next to grace its walls are the journalistic photographs of Nana Buxani, depicting working class life. July 17 and August 14 are the last of the four Saturdays that renowned documentary photographer Alex Baluyut is holding master classes on documentary photography.

For more information on Manila Collective, it's all in their website.Photographs courtesy of Jake Verzosa.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

JUSTIN TIME ] Mark Salvatus speaks Bieberish


In his latest design for his Boy Agimat Boutique, the artist Mark Salvatus, using his favorite homegrown magic charm emblem, gives Justin Bieber more than enough peepers so that the twink popstar doesn't keep brushing off his stupid bangs. Babeh, babeh, oh.

Available soon in black, white, red, brown, green, and yellow gold.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BRANCHING OUT ] Sound designer Corinne de San Jose's fine art photography


What's with the fascination for dead trees?
To be honest hindi ko na rin alam. Medyo weird na nga eh. It probably started when I was a kid and I wanted to learn how to draw, so my parents bought me a drawing book. In the first few chapters, the book teaches you how to draw a silhouette of a dead tree. It was so easy to draw. I’d get lost drawing branches and twigs. Medyo hypnotic. And actually, I never finished the book so for the longest time it was the only thing I could draw. And ever since, every time I see a dead tree, i have to look. It pops out to me. And then i picked up photography and whenever i see one i have to take a picture.

Are these new images, or images taken over a long period of time? When did you start taking photographs of these trees? Where are they located?
The large prints (there are five), the ones taken at night, were taken early 2009. I started working on this series during a class I took at Silverlens under Isa [Lorenzo, the photographer, and owner of Silverlens]. Then I set it aside muna and started working on my first show. It felt unfinished pa. After my show, I showed them to Rach [Rachel Rillo, who is also a photographer and Isa's partner at Silverlens] and started shooting the rest na.

When I was shooting I had these self-imposed rules. And one would be that I have to shoot within Metro Manila lang. I wanted to look for these trees where it wasn’t so easy finding them. I would’ve had more trees to choose from if I allowed myself to shoot out of the city but it felt important to me to look for them here. So 'yon. Parks, villages, sa tabi ng daan. Basta within manila.

How did you get into photography?
In college. We were required to take three units of photography for Comm Arts. I loved my first photography class right away! I think I ended up taking 20 plus units in photography/photography-related electives. Hindi pa kasi uso sa La Salle ang photography majors non.


Do you remember the first photographs you took? What were they like, and what were they about?
I remember digging up my dad’s old rangefinder with my sister when i was about 12 or 13, tapos we shot black and white photos of each other from our bedroom. We used aluminum foil as a reflector. Ang pangit ng photos so we put back the camera in its hiding place. In college, it was a portrait of a friend in different lighting situations, as a lighting exercise for class.

You recently had a show before this, what was that one about?
The title of the show was It All Goes Slo-mo. The short answer is, I intended to shoot the view from my window, but I ended up shooting just my window. For the long answer, here’s a link to the work with the artist statement.

What camera do you use? And did you use film for these photographs? And did you develop them yourself?
I use my Canon 40d most of the time, lalo na for advertising/product shots etc. For this series, I used that, and a film camera, a Rolleiflex 3.5f. I did not develop the film myself, i brought it to a lab. The last time I developed my own roll was mga four years ago na.

How do you begin your day?
Go online tapos a cigarette and coffee.

And how do you end it?
A cigarette ulit.

Who are your influences in photography?
I love looking at old black and white photos of the masters. I can’t say I like one person more than anyone. Been looking at works of Siskind and Szarkowski a lot lately. (And of course there’s Ansel Adams, but that’s like the equivalent of a beauty queen saying she wants world peace. Plus, bumababa ang self esteem ko after looking at his stuff.)

Corinne de San Jose worked as an audio engineer for many years, and did the sound design for the acclaimed independent films Endo and Baby Angelo. Corinne's show, Some Die Young and Some Die Old, opens tomorrow evening at Silverlens Gallery in Pasong Tamo Extension.

All images by Corinne de San Jose, courtesy of Silverlens.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

WHERE WERE YOU? ] Manila Circa '46 from the lens of Teodulo Protomartir

proto1The Commerce Chamber of the Philippines and (right) Sto Domingo Church ruins.

Teodulo Protomartir was there in 1946 when the Americans gave the Philippines its independence. On July 4, he witnessed the birth of the Philippine Republic.

Protomartir, the photographer who first brought the 35mm format to the Philippines and actively promoted photography through his photo club and radio show, shows us a monumental event in Philippine history and the Manila that enveloped it. Considered as the Father of Philippine photography, Protomartir captured the city in ruins from the Second World War, its battle wounds and its restoration – scenes we thought only survived in memory. He captures post-war Manila’s architecture and landscape, with Filipinos going about their daily business in familiar places such as Intramuros, Luneta, Ermita and Quiapo as well as in buildings and bridges that are no longer, including the old Sto. Domingo Church, which is one of the six Churches that once stood in Spanish Intramuros. For almost four centuries there stood the home of Our Lady of La Naval before it was bombed in 1941.

proto2Manila City Hall Building from Arroceros cor. Concepcion and (right)interior of Lourdes Church.

Beyond historical evidence, the significance of Protomartir’s images is meaningful. Protomartir hands to the Filipino people cultural treasures that should remain part of Filipino consciousness and memory. Sixty-four years later, we celebrate Protomartir because through him we were there too.

The Images of Being There 1946: The Legacy of Teodulo Protomartir were printed by Billy Mondoñedo.

For inquiries, contact Silverlens Gallery at 2/F YMC Bldg. II, 2320 Pasong Tamo Ext., Makati, 816-0044, 0917-5874011, or

Images: Teodulo Protomartir, courtesy of Silverlens Gallery.