Tag Archives: Education

Authoring Auteurs: A Bibliographical Essay

Note: This article makes extensive reference to the “Comprehensive Pinas Film Biblio,” listed by author(s), that I posted in two versions. To find any title in the bibliography via its alphabetical arrangement, please click here, and to inspect the categories I used as well as the titles within them, please click here. To jump beyond the introduction, click here for: Methodology; Beginnings; Initial Attempts; Potentials; and Notes.

Click on pic to enlarge. Exact totals may have shifted since the date of posting
(updated to February 2020).

This pair of graphs will be as good a place to start as any. They don’t purport to depict the entire range of books written on Philippine cinema, although as far as I can surmise, they’re as exhaustive as I’ve been able to get so far. I started working on my list, in earnest, over a year ago, although I always had a “comprehensive bibliography” to-do folder on my desktop a few months since I launched Amauteurish! over five years ago. I imagine some pre-2020 titles might be added here and there, and even fewer titles may be deleted.[1]

In my announcement of the project on Facebook, I mentioned that I wrote about Philippine film books a few decades ago, and didn’t need more than a few pages to list everything available then.[2] As it turned out, a few more titles with aspects of Pinas film production as their coverage were printed before the generally acknowledged “first” Filipino film book, Vicente Salumbides’s self-published Motion Pictures in the Philippines, came out in 1952. The Salumbides text continues to stake a qualified claim nevertheless, since it was the country’s first non-institutional film book, although its subjective and self-lionizing perspective didn’t impel me to take better care of the photocopy I made of the now-rare original.

Why two graphs when only one history’s being described? The answer lies in the unusual abundance that crowds the upper graph’s right side. For a more logical starting point, I focused on the portion containing the film-propelled – and film-supportive – presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos: just as his pre-martial law regime marked the peak period of Philippine film production, including three years (1965, 1970, and 1971) when local output exceeded 200, his martial-law dictatorship (1972-81 though actually extending to 1986) also appeared to coincide with an increasingly active production of books on Philippine cinema, from one or nothing in the beginning to over twenty in the last couple of years.[3]

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Methodology

My personal collection formed a core of references that I used every so often in the articles I wrote, so the list actually began as a more in-depth annotated bibliography I drew up in fulfillment of a special projects class I took under my dissertation adviser, Robert Sklar. He had planned to incorporate some data in a future update of Film: An International History of the Medium (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1993). As I narrated in my introduction to the 2014 digital edition of Wages of Cinema: Film in Philippine Perspective, my soft copy of the file was irretrievably lost because of a highly unstable system of digital storage, coupled with my usual carelessness. A far more immeasurable loss, and not just for me, was Professor Sklar’s death from an accident in 2011.

The e-book format enabled me to collect (and, more important, lug around) far more books than I could physically carry in their dead-tree editions. So it would be small exaggeration, at most, to say that I literally held (or beheld) more than half of these texts. I managed to cull a number that were initially unfamiliar to me, although they showed up in one of several online catalogues, and subjected as many as I could to actual confirmations – with their authors, whenever possible, or with researchers or collectors. I also managed to acquire or confirm basic publication details in the same way, with file photos of title and copyright pages.[4]

I devised an admittedly subjective list of categories that I later carefully uploaded to Excel spreadsheets, to be able to watch out for questionable entries and, in one case, determine when the most active publisher, Anvil, moved from one city to another. With two chronological sortings, one for the entire bibliography in general and another for books within each category, I managed to come up with the graphs I mentioned (using the former) and a list of firsts (using the latter). The trickiest qualifier I must disclose is that several titles, foreign as well as local, are not primarily film-specialized, or even film-oriented.

I made a separate list comprising film books as strictly defined, but the more recent publications successfully challenged the assumptions behind such a purist approach: not only because screen cultural studies is definitionally interdisciplinary, but also because authors from other countries and specializations find no problem in interweaving Philippine cinema in their narratives and analyses of nation, culture, and language. Hence I capitulated to the more pleasant (because easier) option of counting each entry as one, regardless of whether it was entirely on cinema, with or without full emphasis on the Philippines.

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First of the Firsts

I already mentioned Vicente Salumbides’s book as still-qualifiably the first Filipino film book. Prior to his publication, what we have is a fascinating array of colonial material – American and, at one point, Japanese. The US publications focus on the industry and its relation to government policy as well as on profit-generation, while the Japanese film book (by Abe Yutaka and Hitō Hankengun) more impressively looks into a singular government production, Abe Yutaka and Gerardo de Leon’s Dawn of Freedom (Eiga Haikyūsha & Toho, 1944). When regarded as colonial models for scholarship, it would be possible to say, discomfortingly for those with even a passing acquaintance of our foreign colonizers, that the US film books in the Philippines set a frankly deplorable and persistent orientation premised on moral anxiety – a continuation of a prefilmic Hispanic tradition, actually – while the Japanese book hewed closer to the tenets of aesthetic film appreciation, notwithstanding the propagandistic intent of the film it covered.

Salumbides’s book should have been followed by similar (and better) texts, but something about its period of emergence – the First Golden Age of roughly the 1950s – was inconducive to such a trend. (Unfortunately, I must give over any further interpretive prerogative here to scholars of Cold War culture. Too many cats to skin, or horses to shoe, or cakes to bake.) It remained then for the country’s self-styled counterfeit messiah and his former aspiring-starlet of a First Lady to provide the impetus for film-book publications. Fortunately, culture was the only area where they were most benign, or least rapacious, and film provided a high-profile means of displaying the democratic values they supposedly upheld.

The first formal film study in book form appeared as a chapter by critic-filmmaker T.D. Agcaoili, endorsing New Criticism, in a textbook co-edited by Gloria D. Feliciano, founding Dean of the then-Institute (now College) of Mass Communication in the national university. Like Agcaoili, none of the Nouvelle Vague-styled aspiring filmmakers who emerged right afterward to write for the Manila Chronicle, comprising Ishmael Bernal, Nestor U. Torre, and Behn Cervantes, had their own book publications, unless we count Torre’s monograph on history for the Cultural Center of the Philippines’s Tuklas Sining [Art Discovery] series as well as Bernal’s planned autobiography, Pro Bernal Anti Bio, passed on to Jorge Arago and completed by Angela Stuart Santiago.

With the declaration of martial law in 1972, one name appears and marks the rest of film-book publication in the Philippines thereafter. For three successive years, a book bore her name, starting with Jose Martinez Reyes’s Nora Aunor: Tagumpay sa Bawat Awit [Triumph in Every Song] during the final pre-martial law year, followed by Rustum G. Quinton’s Ang Tunay na Kasaysayan ni Nora Aunor, Superstar [The True Story of Nora Aunor, Superstar] in 1972, and culminating with Herbert L. Vego’s Getting to Know Nora. With primarily political texts by Guillermo de Vega, Simeon G. del Rosario, and Primitivo Mijares intervening, Aunor figured once again in a series of books by Nick Joaquin (writing as Quijano de Manila), who headlined, as it were, each book with a star interview as its main attraction. Despite spotlighting the youngest entrant (Joaquin’s other books featured Amalia Fuentes, Gloria Diaz, Joseph Estrada, and Fernando “Ronnie” Poe Jr.), Nora Aunor and Other Profiles became the bestselling entry and most prized collectible of the series – a vindication for Joaquin, who once narrated that he was cajoled by his colleagues for opting to write on a bakya or masscult figure.[5]

The abidance of what we may call the Aunor effect continued through the years, and when it might end may be impossible to determine. The first multi-volume non-anthological film book was a biography of hers, written by Baby K. Jimenez. The first auteurial anthologies dealt with a producer (Monina Mercado’s, on Narcisa B. de Leon) and a director (Mario A. Hernando’s, on Lino Brocka) – both of whom, incidentally, were gone by the time the books appeared – but the first anthology on a Filipino performer was Nestor de Guzman’s Si Nora sa mga Noranians [Nora to the Noranians].

Only filmmakers, led by Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and Kidlat Tahimik, have showed up in scholarly book collections overseas, with Nora Aunor nearly the only actor mentioned by name; in one instance, a study of Sharon Cuneta by Bliss Cua Lim (in Andrea Bandhauer and Michelle Royer’s Stars in World Cinema), the article is titled “Sharon’s Noranian Turn” – an indication of Aunor’s iconic stature. The first special journal issue (which I edited, for Kritika Kultura’s August 2015 issue) to focus on Philippine stardom was titled On Nora Aunor and the Philippine Star System. A tell-all memoir by Ricardo Lee is in the works, and several other scholars have signaled their intention to provide further book-length entries to the Noraniana Collection (incidentally the name as well of the special section in the Iriga Public Library that features available media materials on Aunor, as well as a Facebook page of de Guzman’s, fully titled the Noraniana Collection Project, that provides information and updates on said materials).

The larger consequence of the Aunor effect is that more books on Filipino film auteurs – almost 80, as of the current count – have been published than in any other category; this includes a number of Who’s Who-styled collections, of which a number that only incidentally feature showbiz personalities might still show up sooner or later.[6] Histories (in the arrangement I provided) follow quite some distance behind, while screenplays managed to catch up only after I included teleplays, novelizations, and behind-the-scenes accounts. I found I also needed to combine books on screen cultural studies and political economy, as well as personal anthologies of reviews and criticism, in order to have totals in each category that did not depart too excessively one from another.

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The Other Firsts

The same year, 1983, that Baby K. Jimenez’s two-volume Ang True Story ni Guy [The True Story of Guy] came out, two anthologies of reviews and criticism were published. The first, Readings in Philippine Cinema (ed. Rafael Ma. Guerrero), deserves to have a longer-lasting impact because of the scholarly usefulness of its selections; the second, The Urian Anthology 1970-1979 (ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson), has become better-known mainly because the critics’ group behind it continued to spew out decadal installments. (Personal disclosure: I was a member of the organization and appeared in some of the later volumes long after I left the group.) The Aunor effect was palpable even in the non-biographical texts: she was the first Best Actress awardee in the critics’ annual awards, and was featured in the only celebrity article, “Cinderella Superstar,” written by National Artist for Literature Virgilio S. Almario (a.k.a. Rio Alma) and anthologized in the Guerrero collection.[7]

The obvious gap left to fill would be for a singular-author anthology – which came out the next year, in Isagani R. Cruz’s Movie Times. Several other authors (including the present one) followed suit, and even writers creating or compiling materials in other areas made sure to include a chapter, if not a section, on cinema. With the banishment of the Marcoses, a new sociological trend, premised on qualitative analysis and engagement with poststructuralist theory, began to make its presence felt. Many of the personal anthologies acknowledged this swing in film studies, although the first volume dedicated entirely to the approach was a slim and now-rare collection published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, titled Unang Pagtingin sa Pelikulang Bakbakan: Tatlong Sanaysay [A First Glance at the Action Film: Three Essays] and written by Zeus A. Salazar, Agustin Sotto, and Prospero Reyes Covar.

As for the first history text, again Salumbides’s Motion Pictures in the Philippines may be regarded as an initial book-length attempt, enriched and expanded by several article-length accounts in various collections. A number of specialized histories preceded the first general one, Bienvenido Lumbera’s Pelikula: An Essay on the Philippine Film (1989): a problematic defense of martial-law censorship policies in Film and Freedom (1975) by Guillermo de Vega, Ferdinand E. Marcos’s mysteriously assassinated presidential assistant; Joe Quirino’s projected (though not completed) three-volume History of the Philippine Cinema series opener, Don Jose [Nepomuceno] and the Early Philippine Cinema (1983); and Nick Deocampo’s Short Film: Emergence of a New Philippine Cinema (1985).

The first screenplay published in book form was actually a back-to-back edition of Ricky [as Ricardo] Lee’s Brutal/Salome (1981), featuring Marilou Diaz-Abaya’s 1980 film and Laurice Guillen’s 1981 entry respectively (personal disclosure: I was a member of Cine Gang, the outfit that published the text). As in the case of Nora Aunor, the succeeding screenplays published during the decade were also by Lee: Moral (1982), Bukas … May Pangarap [Tomorrow … There’s a Dream] (1984), and Himala [Miracle] (1982) in Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon [Old Man and the Miracles of Our Time] (1988), with only Bienvenido M. Noriega Jr.’s Soltero [Bachelor] managing to intervene in 1985. Surprisingly, the first novelization – of Romy V. Suzara’s Mga Uod at Rosas [Caterpillars and Roses] (1982) – came out after the millennium; not surprisingly, it was by the film’s scriptwriter, Edgardo M. Reyes, whose other novels served as bases for a number of film adaptations.[8] The WWII-era’s only singular film book (by Abe Yutaka and Hitō Hankengun, mentioned earlier) was succeeded by a still, strictly speaking, non-Filipino behind-the-scenes account, of Gene Cajayon’s The Debut (2000), written by Cajayon, John Manal Castro, and Dawn Bohulano Mabalon.

Book chapters on, or descriptions of, Philippine cinema began appearing in foreign-published volumes on Third World (later Third) film and media, from the late 1970s onward, with Fredric Jameson’s controversial lionization of Kidlat Tahimik’s Mababangong Bangungot [Perfumed Nightmare] (1977), in The Geopolitical Aesthetic (1992), considered one of the early high points. The first foreign-published books on the national cinema were about the Marcoses’ involvement in film activities, both of which were part of the anti-dictatorship movement’s output: Primitivo Mijares’s The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos (1976), with its sensational “The Loves of Marcos” chapter detailing the President’s supposedly multiple dalliances with movie stars and celebrities; and Hermie Rotea’s Marcos’ Lovey Dovie (1983), on the steamy romance between Macoy and Dovie Beams, the American starlet he handpicked to play the woman he loved in Jerr Hopper’s Maharlika (1970), his self-alleged heroic exploits during World War II that were subsequently repudiated by his own US Army superiors. Mijares shortly disappeared under suspicious circumstances, and his teenage son’s corpse was dropped from a plane in a badly mutilated condition.

The first Philippine film book not published in Manila was Stars in the Raw (1982) by Jessie B. Garcia, the same author who wrote “The Golden Decade of Philippine Movies” (1972, reprinted in Rafael Ma. Guerrero’s aforementioned Readings on Philippine Cinema) – the article that first recognized a local Golden Age, in this case the studio-controlled system from after WWII to the 1950s. The book was published in Bacolod, as was his unauthorized Vilma Santos bio Queen Vi (1984), while another book, on tragic sex-film star Claudia Zobel, came out the same year in Iloilo City.[9] Nick Deocampo’s Short Film (1985) was the first non-script film book translated into another language (by Mark Garner and Matxalen Goiria into Spanish), as El Cortometraje (1986).

In the 1990s, two “official” reference materials on Pinas cinema were edited by Nicanor G. Tiongson, then the Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines: Tuklas Sining [Art Discovery]: Essays on the Philippine Arts (1991) had a chapter by Bienvenido Lumbera titled “Philippine Film” that was in the main a historical summary; while the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (1994) had a volume, Philippine Film, that was later updated (as simply Film) in the encyclopedia’s second edition, published in 2017. Like the same editor’s Urian Anthology decadal series by the Filipino Film Critics Circle, these publications were bulky, glossy, and extremely expensive even by middle-class standards.

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Quo Vadis

The ubiquity of internet media initially lulled me into thinking that a bibliographic project, even semi-annotated like the one I completed, may no longer be necessary, much less convenient. The constant emergence of new information would be relentless, and the preponderance of false data could prove frustrating to everyone but the most dedicated researchers. Nevertheless, after taking out bibliographical material that I thought were either unwieldy (theses or dissertations) or unnecessary (martial law-era bulletins), I imagined I had a sufficiently manageable list – only to see it growing way beyond the original size I tried cutting down in the first place.

The most active film-book publisher in the country has been Anvil Publishing, which started in 1990 (with The National Pastime, also my first book) and amassed a total of 36 titles, or 43 if we include the earlier National Book Store publications. The university presses come next – the University of the Philippines’s with 31 books, Ateneo de Manila University’s with 16, and the University of Santo Tomas’s with 10. The Cultural Center of the Philippines a.k.a. Sentrong Pangkultura ng Pilipinas had about a dozen, but the title of “most active” can be claimed only by the newly established publishing arms of two studios: Viva Films’ VRJ Books came up with 15 volumes in 2016-19, or nearly four film books per year, while ABS-CBN Publishing had 18-plus books in 2015-19, or about three per year. This would be logical when we consider that both outfits are dedicated to entertainment titles, but it also leads us down another pathway: books that resulted from social-network postings, inasmuch as these sources not only allow drafts to be reviewed (by peers and trolls alike), corrected, and compiled, but also to generate public interest prior to publication.[10]

A so-far final new-media mark is to have books exist exclusively online. At this time, people buy them less and less from on-site stores and book fairs, and increasingly from internet sellers. Younger readers have become resourceful enough to seek out soft copies in a gray area where copyright claimants have become too negligent, or greedy, or both, thereby forfeiting their moral claim to prosecute people who make their products available to less-privileged citizens all over the web. Amauteurish! (pardon the promo) seeks to make as many titles as possible available for free or at minimal cost, while Shonenbat Collective on Facebook provides distribution for a so-far small number of books. These and forthcoming future initiatives have preempted government and academic resources from taking charge of on-the-ground book development, and deserve to prevail for as long as netizens find purchase in discursive activities outside of institutional interferences.

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Acknowledgments

Help in finalizing the bibliography (and, in that respect, this article) came from the following: Deogracias Antazo, Rofel G. Brion, Byron Bryant, Jerrick Josue David, Cristina Gaston, Mike de Guzman, Nestor de Guzman, Patrick Flores, Eric Nadurata, Jim Paranal, Eduardo J. Piano, Jojo Terencio, Mauro Feria Tumbocon Jr., and Boy Villasanta. Assistance for the study was provided by the Inha University Faculty Research Fund.

Notes

[1] The types of books that I took out appear in the introduction to the categorized listing that I posted. Later exclusions included Bela Padilla’s 100 Tula ni Bela [100 Poems of Bela] (Pasig City: VRJ Books, 2017), since it was a literary entry that was not a novelization, screenplay, or memoir, premised on the film titled 100 Tula Para Kay Stella [100 Poems for Stella], dir. Jason Paul Laxamana (Viva Films, 2017), that the author had starred in; and Gemma Cruz Araneta’s 50 Years in Hollywood: The USA Conquers the Philippines (Quezon City: Gemma Cruz Araneta, 2019), which was essentially a history text whose title intended to draw attention to an expression that the author attributed to her mother, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil. Stanley Karnow’s description in his book, In Our Image: America’s Empire in the Philippines (New York: Ballantine, 1989), of the Philippines spending “three centuries in a Catholic convent and fifty years in Hollywood” (Chapter 1), has become the most well-known appropriation. An exception I had to include was Queen Elly’s Vince & Kath series, described in endnote 10.

[2] In “Film Book Publishing,” Philippines Communication Journal 3 (June 1987): 76-79. One final category that could constitute a bibliography all its own would be the sources, acknowledged or otherwise, of material used in Philippine film projects. (When the films themselves become the source, as in novelizations or published scripts, they’re included in the listing I made.) Anyone who came of age during the Second Golden Age would understand my reticence: the wider critical community, led mainly by literary scholars, became obsessed over the issue of originality, wrongheadedly regarding it as a form of anticolonial resistance. Local film critics were unfortunately – and (I must add) irresponsibly – unaware of the Cinema Novo movement, as explicated in Robert Stam and Ismail Xavier’s “Transformations of National Allegory: Brazilian Cinema from Dictatorship to Redemocratization” (reprinted in Robert Sklar and Charles Musser’s 1990 collection Resisting Images: Essays on Cinema and History). Of particular relevance here is the movement’s valuation of the symbolic function of anthropophagy, where pop-cultural cannibalism (or the local reappropriation of First World exports) is considered a worthy means of educating the audience about the artificiality of material from colonial centers, as well as of replicating the First World’s exploitation of its colonies from the vantage point of the dispossessed. The concept, for those who wish to delve further, is related to and overlaps with the carnivalesque, an even more prominent quality of Brazilian cinema.

[3] For the rate of total local film production, see the “Annual Filipino Film Production Chart,” covering 1919 to 2015, that I posted on this blog. I may have to add here that I have opted for a more liberal definition of what constitutes a book beyond the standard prescription of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization of “a non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages, exclusive of the cover pages, published in the country and made available to the public” (“Recommendation Concerning the International Standardization of Statistics Relating to Book Production and Periodicals,” adopted during the 1964 General Conference in Paris; italics mine). Typical of several university press series, a non-periodical monograph or collection shorter than 49 inside pages, which presents basic identity markers overtly or implicitly (such as title, author[s], editor[s], publisher[s], copyright claim, and year of publication), ought to suffice in the Philippine context.

[4] A year-long full-time stint, equivalent to a graduate-level internship, where I assisted the editor of the Modern Language Association Bibliography, made me familiar with the basic elements required in bibliographic listings. (Vital missing element in my own sets: total number of pages of body text and preliminaries – generally overlooked in most other biblio lists as well.) The MLA office was just around the block from the Tisch School of the Arts, which would have made it ideal save for the fact that since my coursework was complete by then, I didn’t have any use for its proximity to school. The organization’s political intramurals would be another story altogether, deserving of its own fuller account.

[5] The term “bakya crowd” was coined by director Lamberto V. Avellana to explain why his quality productions did not make money. Supposedly the members of the audience, who were unsophisticated enough to wear noisy bakya or wooden shoes in movie houses, did not have the capacity to appreciate his works. To refute his argument, Jose F. Lacaba wrote “Notes on Bakya: Being an Apologia of Sorts for Filipino Masscult” for the January 31, 1970 issue of the Philippines Free Press, as well as “Movies, Critics, and the Bakya Crowd” for the March 1979 issue of the Art Association of the Philippines Liham [Letter] – both reprinted in his blog Ka Pete (click here for the former and here for the latter). In response, Avellana claimed in his last interview that he was misunderstood – that he intended the term as an endearment, not an insult (Ernie A. de Pedro, “Portrait of a Director: Lamberto Avellana,” Filipino Film Review, vol. 2, no. 1, January-March 1985, pp. 22-27).

[6] Other artists who have written their own overt autobiographical accounts are Daisy H. Avellana, Mark Bautista, Rustica Carpio, Celso Ad. Castillo, Wenn V. Deramas, Jerry B. Gracio, J. Eddie Infante, Maine Mendoza, Pilar Pilapil, Armida Siguion-Reyna, and Jake Zyrus. Film artists who have been written about in book form include, aside from Lino Brocka and Narcisa B. de Leon, Lamberto V. Avellana (by Simon Godfrey Rodriguez, Nina Macaraig-Gamboa, and Wylzter Gutierrez), Gabby Concepcion (by George Vail Kabristante), Manuel Conde (by Nicanor G. Tiongson), Carmen de la Rosa (by Manuel B. Fernandez and Ronald K. Constantino), Dolphy (by Bibeth Orteza), Mona Lisa (by Celine Beatrice Fabie), Robin Padilla (by Deo J. Fajardo), Piolo Pascual (by David Fabros), Fernando Poe Jr. (by Alfonso B. Deza), and Vicente Salumbides (by Boy Villasanta, in addition to Salumbides’s own first-person text), plus the recently terminated love team of Nadine Lustre and James Reid, a.k.a. Team Real (by Christianne Dizon). More biographical accounts are discussed in endnote 9.

[7] Pointed out in a Facebook comment (January 28, 2020) by the same Aunor scholar, Nestor de Guzman, mentioned earlier. I am indebted to this same person for the details of publication (unavailable in standard bibliographic sources, online or in the real world) of several Aunor volumes in this bibliography.

[8] Emphasizing this in an endnote rather in the body text, so as not to sound too insistent: close observers would have noticed by this point that the Aunor effect had already occurred twice. She was the star of Himala [Miracle] and Mga Uod at Rosas [Caterpillars and Roses] (both 1982 films). The Ricky Lee anthology where Himala first appeared was his first book to be reprinted, in 2009; further to that, Lee also republished his script in an exemplary behind-the-scenes volume, Sa Puso ng Himala [In the Heart of Miracle] in 2012.

[9] In relation to endnote 6, special mention may be made here of two cases: the cited book on Vilma Santos, Queen Vi, by Jessie B. Garcia, that was pulled from circulation for allegedly disparaging her parents; and possibly the most innovative semi-autobiography ever published in the country, titled Pro Bernal Anti Bio, initiated by Ishmael Bernal, passed on to Jorge Arago, and completed by Angela Stuart Santiago. Bernardo Bernardo announced he was at work on a memoir before he passed away in 2018, but its printing schedule still has to be disclosed by his heirs. Finally, although Brocka is the most cited filmmaking auteur in the bibliography, Aunor not only preceded him, but also exceeds him by a definitive margin.

[10] As of this moment, I am unaware of any other attempts at creating books compiled from social network posts except for Richard Bolisay’s Break It to Me Gently (2019) as well as (partially) Ishmael Bernal, Jorge Arago, and Angela Stuart Santiago’s Pro Bernal, Anti Bio (2017). Millennial Traversals, the digital book I uploaded in 2015, is an unusual case in that it was reprinted in the University of Santo Tomas journal UNITAS’s May 2015 and May 2016 issues, which in turn were reprinted in 2019 as a back-to-back book edition by Amauteurish Publishing. Another trend in the direction of film production is typified by the Vince & Kath series by Queen Elly, originating as fictionalized Facebook exchanges (labeled a “textserye” and later a “social serye”) among its characters, compiled and published in 2016 as a digital volume by ABS-CBN Publishing, and turned into a film, Theodore Boborol’s Vince & Kath & James (Star Cinema, 2016); the book was then followed by six sequels with individual subtitles: Books 2-5, also titled Vince & Kath, were subtitled Remember, Promise, Walang Titibag [None Can Destroy], and Cheer and Var (Vince and Kath’s nicknames), respectively; Books 6-7, titled Vince & Kath & James, were subtitled The Reunion and The Finale, respectively.

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Entries in the 2 Editions of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art

The second edition of the Cultural Center of the Philippines Encyclopedia of Philippine Art is a noteworthy improvement over the first – except, again, for the exorbitant selling price. Now comprising 12 volumes, including two for literature, it however overlooked several books on film, an area which has been booming way before the millennium and shows no sign of letting up. (Just in time then for my uploading in Ámauteurish! of a fairly comprehensive bibliography on Philippine cinema.) I had the same contributions in Film (Volume 6, ISBN 978-97-18546-62-8) for this edition, plus an additional one in Theater (Volume 9, ISBN 978-97-18546-66-6).

These entries are listed below, starting with a file of the preliminaries of the Film volume, including (for good measure) the page where I’m featured, and ending with General Sources, listing the materials I had written. The same warning I sounded regarding my entries in the first edition still applies: these articles had been co-written, relied on dated auteurist perspectives, and were occasionally outright erroneous. Scanned PDF copies, in order of pagination:

Preliminaries (Vol. 6, Film: cover, frontispiece, title, copyright, staff, contents), to page xv;
• “Aksiyon” (with Lynn Pareja, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Mesandel Arguelles), 112-13;
• “Animation” (with Lynn Pareja, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Michael Kho Lim), 114-17;
• “Horror” (with Lynn Pareja, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Erika Carreon), 134-35;
• “Komedi” (with Lynn Pareja, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Mesandel Arguelles), 136-38;
• “Musical” (with Lynn Pareja & Nicanor G. Tiongson, with notes from Pio de Castro III & Bienvenido Lumbera; updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 139-40;
• “Acting in Film” (with Justino Dormiendo, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 146-47;
• “Cinematography” (with Nick Cruz, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Elvin Valerio and Clodualdo del Mundo Jr.), 161-64;
• “Distribution in Film” (with Rosalie Matilac, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Albert Almendralejo), 179-82;
• “Producing for Film” (with Nick Cruz & Rosalie Matilac, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Jose Javier Reyes, with notes from Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 196-99;
• “Sound Recording in Film” (with Nick Cruz, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Rica Arevalo), 210-11;
• “Training and Education for Film” (with Lynn Pareja, with notes from Pio de Castro III, Bienvenido Lumbera, & Nicanor G. Tiongson; updated by Johann Vladimir J. Espiritu), 213-14;
• “David, Joel” (by Rosalinda Galang, updated by Elmer L. Gatchalian), 427;
• “General Sources,” 566-67; and
• “Velasco, Johven” (Vol. 9, Theater, including cover; updated from Bonifacio P. Ilagan’s text), 796.

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For those interested in looking further, the following are my entries in the first edition of the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, ed. Nicanor G. Tiongson (Manila: Cultural Center of the Philippines, 1994), ISBN 971-8546-31-6. Scanned PDF copies, in order of pagination, from Philippine Film, Volume 8 (of 10 volumes), ISBN 971-8546-31-6:

• “Aksyon” (with Lynn Pareja), 82-83;
• “Animation” (with Lynn Pareja), 83-84;
• “Horror” (with Lynn Pareja), 90;
• “Komedi” (with Lynn Pareja), 90-91;
• “Musical” (with Lynn Pareja & Nicanor G. Tiongson), 92-93;
• “Acting” (with Justino Dormiendo), 96-97;
• “Cinematography” (with Nick Cruz), 105-07;
• “Distribution” (with Rosalie Matilac), 112-14;
• “Production” (with Nick Cruz & Rosalie Matilac), 124-28;
• “Sound Recording” (with Nick Cruz), 134-36;
• “Studies and Training” (with Lynn Pareja), 136-37.

Finally, a batch of material I forgot about and recently rediscovered from the same encyclopedia edition’s Volume 9, Philippine Literature, ISBN 971-8546-32-4. Most were written by me, but I included the entries on my first book as well as on me as author, as well as a film-book entry (Bien Lumbera’s) that I did not write:

• Isagani R. Cruz’s Movie Times, 473;
• Joel David’s The National Pastime, 474;
• Emmanuel A. Reyes’s Notes on Philippine Cinema, 475;
• Rafael Ma. Guerrero’s (as ed.) Readings in Philippine Cinema, 484-85;
• Bienvenido Lumbera’s Revaluation: Essays on Philippine Literature, Cinema and Popular Culture (entry written by M.T. Wright), 485-86;
• Nicanor G. Tiongson’s (as ed.) The Urian Anthology 1970-1979, 495; and
David, Joel (entry written by R. Galang), 575.

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Meta-Kritika! (Ámauteurish turns 5!)

Launched on June 13, 2014, Ámauteurish! observes its fifth year of more-or-less continuous existence and offers its readers the chance to own a signed copy of author Joel David’s latest book publication, Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic. How? By joining the Philippines’s first Meta-Kritika Contest. Here are the rules:

  1. The contest is open to college undergraduate students (regardless of nationality) in Philippine universities. Associate or vocational students, foreign students on exchange in a Philippine university (or Filipino students on exchange abroad), and out-of-school youth who have completed high-school-level education or its equivalent, will all also be eligible, though not people who have completed at least one bachelor’s degree.
  2. The prospective contestant should select one readily available current or past Filipino feature film, as well as one piece of published commentary by any author (regardless of nationality) on the film; said commentary should be a review, at least, although it may also be a longer critique. “Filipino feature film” refers to any film dramatization with distinctive Philippine issues, whether released locally or overseas. “Published commentary” may include material uploaded on the internet, excluding audio-only or audiovisual presentations. Only one film may be paired with one commentary, and each participant may submit only one entry.
  3. The contestant should provide critical commentary on the film in relation to the commentary on it. In effect, she or he should respond to the film as well as the review or criticism written previously on the same film.
  4. The contestant should complete at least two single-spaced pages, but no more than five pages of writing, using a form that may be downloaded here. Notes and citations may be elaborated via footnotes, if necessary, using the Modern Language Association’s writing guidelines. Entries may be submitted in English, Filipino, or any variation of Taglish; commentaries may also be originally printed in any of the specified languages.
  5. The contest entry should be in MS Word format (as either a .doc or a .docx file) and should be submitted as an email attachment, with “Meta-Kritika Contest submission” in the subject line. The contestant’s name should also be the file name of the entry.
  6. Entries will be evaluated by a specially constituted Board of Judges, using standard nonfiction criteria (accuracy, fairness, originality, expressive creativity). The Board’s decision will be considered final.
  7. All entries will be treated as shared copyright material by the contestant and Ámauteurish Publishing. Winning entries and excerpts from the other contributions may be published in a special folio by Ámauteurish! at the publisher’s discretion.
  8. Writers of the best five entries, as determined by the Board of Judges, will be sent one copy each of Manila by Night: A Queer Film Classic, signed by the book author.
  9. The deadline for entries is midnight (Philippine Standard Time) of October 31, 2019. Winners will be announced in Ámauteurish! on or before December 1, 2019.

Some tips: Resist the inclination to prove your superiority over the film and/or article that you’ll be selecting; avoid as well providing a mere summary of the (film and published) texts. For this reason, it may be better for you to pick out texts that you feel can challenge your analytical ability. There will also be a wide variety of possible responses beyond agreeing or disagreeing with the material. Assume that your readers are familiar or will familiarize themselves with your material, so there won’t be any need to extensively synopsize or summarize what you’re writing about. The minimum expectation is that you will be triangulating your own position vis-à-vis the film and the article. Reading up and watching related materials will ensure that you will be better prepared for the exercise.

Possibly the most difficult challenge of all would be to try maintaining a light, conversational tone, rather than a hectoring or argumentative voice. Spend some time on the opening section of your article; often, achieving the right stylistic mix in raising the issue (just one, please), identifying the texts to discuss, and plotting your own course in pursuit of your position will already help speed you along, once you’ve nailed it. Try anticipating at least one other critical voice in your head, pointing out possible weaknesses in your argument, so that you’ll be able to ensure a rigorous output for yourself.

After completing your draft (preferably using this template), pause long enough until you feel distant from it, then go over it mercilessly, looking for ways to improve it further. Remember that, in writing on material that required technical skills to be expertly created, your own technique will also be subjected to inspection; make sure to use software checkers for spelling and grammar, if available, as well as any available source (starting with the internet, which you should also approach critically) for fact-checking.

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Statement on the Availability of Filipino Films during the Internet Era

Like other developing countries, the Philippines finds itself at a disadvantage in coping with and adjusting to the manifold challenges posed by rapid technological changes during the current digital period. All predigital media have been profoundly transformed, with positive and negative consequences for each one.

The case of film is instructive and exceptional, since this has been the medium where most Filipino talents tended to converge, given its ability to bestow widespread recognition and financial compensation. Given the call to make as much of humanity’s cultural legacy as readily available as possible, the output of commercial media raises special complications, premised on issues of copyright and fair use.

As critic and scholar, my primary advocacy in this situation would be in favor of the public domain – the theoretical, legal, much-contested entity that lays claim to any true artist’s or author’s handiwork. In the view of public-domain advocates, the right of an investor and/or a creator to profit from her or his product should always be granted, but it should also be proscribed as immediately and urgently as possible when the public interest comes in conflict with it. We see this occur on a regular basis with the expiration of copyright, when any previously protected work forthwith becomes shared public property. Only when this happens does the creative process become complete: the poet, painter, composer, filmmaker, etc. finally yields her legacy, to be claimed and owned by humanity, with the acknowledgment of authorship as the artist’s or author’s only permanent reward.

This is the reason why in any generation in cinema, we find a virtual cadre of workers who continue the tasks of tracking, claiming, preserving, and reproducing titles that have become rare or that might have been lost. The human weaknesses of hoarding and reprofiting off found material has also been part of this tendency from the beginning, but with the formulation and propagation of values anchored on public interest, we are now witnessing collectors of rare material making their items available to all interested parties at little to no cost. This activity is enhanced by the global reach of internet media – a historical juncture that endows present and future generations with artefacts of culture and literature, many of which were previously reserved for only the most privileged members of society.

For the past few years, the Philippines’s most successful film studio, Regal Films, still involved in production though not as actively as it used to, has been deadlocked in its negotiations with the country’s sole remastering outfit, ABS-CBN Film Restoration, effectively freezing hundreds of movies from the 1970s to the present. Some of the most outstanding titles ever made, number among its releases. My personal disclosure regarding my interest in this state of affairs is that a Regal movie, Ishmael Bernal’s Manila by Night (1980), was one of the 20-or-so titles included in the acclaimed Queer Films Series of Vancouver-based Arsenal Pulp Press. I wrote the monograph for the film – but, as the series editors (Thomas Waugh and Matthew Hays) reminded me, Manila by Night was the only entry that was unavailable to foreign scholars.

A far-from-satisfactory DVD edition went out of print several years ago, while copies presumably unsanctioned by the producer may be found online; I have found myself referring researchers to the published version of the full script (translated to English by Alfred A. Yuson) in the August 2012 issue of Ateneo de Manila University’s open-access journal, Kritika Kultura. Obviously none of these measures could subtitute for an adequately remastered and subtitled official version of the film. Ironically Manila by Night may even count itself lucky in relation to all the other Regal Films productions, since it can still allow the public to reimagine how its filmmaker must have envisioned it, based on the substantial traces it has inadvertently left on the web.

In an instance such as this, I would uphold the effort of individuals (many of whom must necessarily remain nameless for now) who sought to make as readily available as possible any reasonably acceptable version of the film, in the meantime that the producer and prospective distributor work out their differences. Since his outlet has taken the risk of providing this service to the public, I mention in particular Jojo Devera, where a translated integral version of Manila by Night resides in a carefully curated and remastered condition – entirely at his own expense, with the help of other public-domain activists – on his Magsine Tayo! website, free for anyone to watch and study. Since I had been making the call to my circle of friends to make this particular title available, Devera’s posting was in response to my request; for this reason, I hold myself entirely responsible for the movie’s free and ready availability on his web page.

I enjoin all other Filipino and Philippine-sympathetic collectors to heed the historical requisite to provide otherwise unavailable materials for present and future generations to pore over, in order to enable everyone to participate in ongoing discourses on the country, its culture, and its achievements and shortcomings. It is our moral duty to assist one another, in effect to strengthen the public domain, in instances when the institutions responsible for releasing rare holdings find themselves incapable of responding to this need.

April 15, 2018
Incheon, Korea

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Millennial Traversals – Ordinary People: Movie Worker


Thank you for your interest in Millennial Traversals, my fourth sole-authored book. In addition to its distinction as, to my knowledge, the Philippines’s first complete open-access (non-journal) volume, it has reappeared as a print edition of UNITAS, the semi-annual peer-reviewed journal of the University of Santo Tomas – which has also reposted it online. Please click on this link to open Part II: Expanded Perspectives, where the article you are seeking can be found. You may also find more information on the blog page of Millennial Traversals.

Á!