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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Kapampangan producer to hold ‘film festival for a cause’

ANGELES CITY -- Award-winning Kapampangan film producer Ferdinand Lapuz will hold a film festival for a cause to financially assist the scholars of his alma mater Holy Angel University (HAU) here.

The festival will showcase the most recent films of Lapuz on March 11 to 13 at the HAU Theatre. Directors and co-producers of "Dementia," "Ekstra," "Barber's Tales," and "Bwakaw" have all given their approval to lend their films for the scholarship project.

Lapuz received several best producer awards and nominations from different local and international award-giving bodies, including the prestigious Madrid International Film Festival held last year.

"Hopefully they're only the initial batch and I will make it an annual festival so I can continue helping HAU scholars," said Lapuz, adding that he chose the films for their cinematic quality and educational value.

Dementia stars Nora Aunor, who recently won the Gawad Tanglaw for best actress. It was directed by Perci Intalan and co-produced by Octobertrain Films. The film is presently in the official competition of the Fantasporo International Film Festival in Portugal.

Ekstra, meanwhile, features Vilma Santos, who won best actress in the Dhaka International Film Festival, Gawad Tanglaw and Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. It was directed by Jeffrey Jeturian and co-produced by Joji Alonso. The film also bagged the Cinemalaya special jury prize.

Directed by Jun Lana and co-produced by Antonio Tuviera, Bwakaw highlights Eddie Garcia, who garnered the best actor award in the Asian Film Awards, the Asia Pacific Film Festival and the Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival. It consequently won four awards in Vesoul, France as well as the grand jury prize and best screenplay award in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was also the representative of the Philippines to the 2012 Academy Awards in the United States.

Lana also directed Barber’s Tales, which was produced by APT Entertainment. It stars Eugene Domingo, who won best actress in the Tokyo International Film Festival and best director for Lana in Madrid.

"This film festival is my way of giving back to the Holy Angel, which has done so much for me. It is now my turn to do something for Holy Angel," said Lapuz, who graduated cum laude with a BS Business Management degree in 1987.

During his college years, Lapuz also won best director in HAU's first inter-college drama festival.

In 1990, he migrated to Canada where he volunteered as host and tour guide to Filipino filmmakers participating in the annual Toronto International Film Festival. He later ventured into marketing their films in other international film festivals, including Venice, Berlin, Locarno and Cannes.

"He deserves recognition for almost single-handedly marketing Filipino films during that long dry spell before the advent of indie films. Through his efforts, our movies reached practically all the film festivals in the world, beyond Cannes and Berlin, which inspired local filmmakers and producers to make more world-class films," said Robby Tantingco, HAU Vice-President for External Affairs.

Lapuz is not the only prominent alumnus who has granted the HAU's invitation to contribute to the scholarship fund by showcasing their works.

Previously, National Geographic Award-winning photographer Yen Baet also held a photo exhibit, which raised P225,000 for the HAU scholarship program.

Lapuz said the film Magnifico, which won best film in the children’s films category in the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, inspired him to “dedicate his life not just to promote Filipino films but to actually produce them.”

He then co-produced and marketed the early films of fellow award-winning Kapampangan director Brillante Mendoza such as Masahista, Tirador, Siquijor, Serbis, Lola and the HAU co-produced Manoro.

The works grabbed various awards from film festivals abroad, especially Kinatay, which earned Mendoza the coveted best director award during the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

For those interested, please contact Myra Lopez of Center for Kapampangan Studies through telephone (045) 888-8691 local 1312, mobile phone 0999 959 0601, or email kapampangancenter@gmail.com.

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