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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film and Arts Center


"Jose Rizal" and "Muro Ami". Among the several award-winning films directed by Ms. Marilou Diaz-Abaya, these two films made the greatest impact in me because of the excellent directing which make these as classical cinematic masterpieces. I must admit, I am an avid Marilou Diaz-Abaya fan.

Perhaps, unknown to many is the fact that award-winning director Marilou Diaz-Abaya is considered by new talents as their MENTOR. Yes, mentor as in guro, teacher, adviser, coach.

This is so because Ms. Abaya – the award-winning director is now running her own Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film and Arts Center! She is unselfishly sharing and imparting her God-given talents and skills in film-making to neophyte would-be film-makers.

One of my cherished dreams is to have the chance to work with Director Marilou Diaz-Abaya. However, this dream seems to be too elusive for me. Instead of realizing such avowed ambition, last week, I had the chance to work with a group of young talents who had the opportunity to study film-making under Ms. Abaya. Their names are: Teresa Rivera, Mico Michelena, Vitte Rave and Des Crisologo.

You see, Tess (Teresa Rivera) was our director for a short film titled "Valentia" which is their thesis work for La Salle. It is a story of a daughter who rebelled against her parents because she felt she is always being compared with her older sister who is well-behaved. The rebellious daughter is played by Lesley Anne Leveriza who is herself a communication arts graduate from Ateneo. She now runs an acting workshop center for kids in Merville. I play the role of her Dad while commercial model Cherry Malvar plays my wife.

Aside from going through a four-year communication arts course in La Salle, Tess went out of her way and opted to take up film-making/ directing course in the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film and Arts Center! While Tess was telling me about this, I told myself this young talent is very passionate with her art! Other students could have just been satisfied with the training that they could learn from the regular academic subjects in film-making as part of their communication arts course. Tess craved to learn more. To complement her academic and theoretical knowledge from her four-year communication arts course she enrolled at the Marilou Diaz-Abaya Film and Arts Center. I could simply guess that her intention is to balance the theories from the formal course with the practical aspects of the craft from director Abaya.

I may not have yet realized my dream of being able work with Director Abaya, ( I am still hoping someday I could) but at least I had partly achieved it by being able to have worked with her students. The experience that I went through having worked with Tess (as the Director), Mico (as the Director of Photography) with the expert assistance from Vitte and Des in adjusting the lights and the camera was to say the least – a learning process in itself! Yes, I learned a lot of new ideas in film-making from these new talents who consider Director Abaya as their mentor!

Having said that, I would like to borrow the over-used cliché "the proof of the pudding is in the eating"! The relaxed atmosphere in the set, the preparatory works before the shoot, and the smooth execution of the actual shoot that these students of Director Abaya have made are partial proof that they learned a lot from their guru! Let us wait as they go through the editing and other post-production works until they would finally come out with their final output! I want to watch the premier showing of "Valentia"!

From: Edgar Sandalo -

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