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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 22, 2010

Mother Lily celebrates Regal's 50th year

FREEHAND by Mario E. Bautista

IN 1960, Mother Lily put up a film company importing foreign films. Her first venture was re-issuing “All Mine to Give”. She got it for $500 and earned millions as it was shown for a month at Podmon Theatre. She then got sexy flicks “Marsha” and “Southern Comfort”, also hits. In 1976, she started producing local films with “Kayod sa Umaga, Kayod sa Gabi”, a sex comedy with Gina Pareno and Beth Oropesa, a hit. Since then, she has made more than 1,000 films and introduced Regal Babies like Maricel Soriano, Snooky Serna, Dina Bonnevie, Rio Locsin, Cherie Gil, and many more. As she celebrates Regal’s 50th year, she and daughter Roselle start their special anniversary presentation with “Mamarazzi”, an endearing comedy-drama starring today’s hit comedian Eugene Domingo as an old maid who gives birth to triplets. She works as a make up artist in a funeral parlor and does everything to give her kids a good life. Two of them are girls portrayed by Andi Eigenmann in dual roles. One is a boy played by AJ Perez. Also in the cast are Diether Ocampo as the father, John Lapus as Uge’s best friend, plus Carla Abellana, Arron Villaflor and Xian Lim, directed by Joel Lamangan, opening on August 25 also as Mother’s special birthday presentation.

After this comes “White House”, a horror flick starring Gabby Concepcion with Lovi Poe, DJ Mo and Megan Young, directed by Topel Lee, and a remake of “Temptation Island” starring new Regal discoveries who’d be launched in a grand manner, directed by Chris Martinez. For the December filmfest, they have “Super Inday and the Magic Bibe” with Marian Rivera and Jake Cuenca, directed by Mike Tuviera, plus the annual horrorfest, “Shake, Rattle and Roll 12”. What are Mother Lily’s favorite films among those she produced? “Relasyon, Broken Marriage and City after Dark, all by Ishmael Bernal, Sister Stella L by Mike de Leon, and Mano Po 1 by Joel Lamangan.” Other memorable films of Regal are “Pahiram ng Isang Umaga”, “Virgin Forest”, “Bilangin ang Bituin sa Langit”, and “Scorpio Nights”. Who’s her favorite director? “Si Ishma, and I know he loves me so much.” And who are her favorite Regal Babies? “I won’t mention names na lang kasi baka ma-hurt yung di ko mabanggit.” Who gave her the most headaches? “Noon, pinasakit nila talaga ulo ko but now, I can say I forgive them, pero may utang pa rin sila sa’kin.”


TV EXEC Perci Intalan formally introduced theatre actor and “Talentadong Pinoy” resident judge Audie Gemora as head of Talent5, their own talent management and development arm to be the counterpart of GMA Artist Center and ABS-CBN Star Magic. They realize that for them to be competitive, they have to build up their own home grown talents. Some folks question Audie’s qualifications. He defended himself by saying he applied for the job and it wasn’t given to him on a silver platter. “I showed them all my credentials in training people, my management skills and showbiz background that can help me in this job,” he says. “Please don’t be hostile to me.”

Perci says they’re confident that with Audie in charge of discovering and developing their stars, they’ll soon come up with new idols the public will love. “We have a three year timetable for this. We know it won’t happen overnight. We start our own talent search, Star Factor to be hosted by Ruffa Gutierrez, for teeners aged 13 to 18. They can go to the Mall of Asia Music Hall on July 25 for the Manila auditions. Then we’ll have auditions in SM Davao on August 1 and SM Cebu on August 7. The panel of judges include star makers like Direk Joey Reyes, Ryan Cayabyab and talent manager Annabelle Rama. We’ll later have our own Talentado Center to handle the careers and bookings of past and present contestants of Talentadong Pinoy. We also plan to put up our own showbiz school that will help train not only stars but also technical people like cinematographers.”


JOEY REYES, in turn, will conduct his own writing workshop to help develop TV writers. He has won awards both as writer and director, and also spices up “Talentadong Pinoy” and “Juicy”. He’s now writing and directing a mini-series for TV5 about five separated women wanting to have annulment and legal separation, to be topbilled by Lani Misalucha who’ll tape it while in town. “She’ll play the lawyer of these women. We’re now casting it at hirap na hirap kami kumuha ng artista as most of them are tied up with GMA or ABS. So far, si Aiko Melendez pa lang ang puede.” After being a juror in the recent Cinemalaya, he’s now reviving his Available Light Productions to make his own digital film. “Our last work was ‘Anghel sa Lupa’ for Regal when Cogie Domingo was still a teener. I have many stories na puedeng gawing indie film.”


ANNABELLE RAMA got offers before from GMA and ABS but she turned them down. What made her accept “Star Factor” as her first regular TV show? “The offers before were to host a talk show,” she says.”Iba naman ito as judge lang ako and it’s my daughter Ruffa who’s the host. Also, malakas ang convincing powers ni Perci Intalan so I accepted it. Thanks, Perci, sobrang bilib mo sa’kin. At saka, siempre, malaki ang pay, dahil kung hindi, I’ll just be wasting my time.”

Ruffa chimes in: “Kami mismo ng brothers ko, we told her not to accept a talk show as we know how frank and candid she can be. Mamaya kung ano-ano masabi niya roon and she’ll just get into trouble. Mas mabuti na ito, magkasama kami sa ‘Star Factor’ at bagay sa kanya to be a judge as she’s really a successful talent manager and a power broker who can close a lot of lucrative deals.”

“Before I accepted this, my son Raymond said, ‘Ma, lahat tayo, nasa showbiz na. Baka wala ka ng time for the family.’ But I assured him I will always have time for them. Sila pa rin ang priority ko.”

“But Ma, don’t be so mataray while judging,” says Ruffa. “Baka mainis ang viewers sa’yo.”

“I will just say kung ano ang totoo. Wag mo kong pakialaman sa pagja-judge ko dahil di ko pakikialaman ang pagho-host mo.”

Annabelle will join the screening of applicants in Cebu. “I want to join sana sa Mall of Asia this Sunday but I have to be at the birthday party of my apo, Lorin, at Wack Wack Golf Club.”

What will be the requirements for the applicants? “They don’t have to sing and dance, but that will help,” says Perci. “Our first requirement is good looks, kailangan mukhang artista ka talaga. If you don’t look like a movie star, don’t join anymore. Kaya nga we’ll tape them right away and come up with a screener. Kasi we have to see how they look on screen. May okay kasi in person but, on screen, hindi. We’ll get 12 finalists and choose only one big winner who’d get P1 million cash and a P1 million contract.”


ACE CRUZ is a Hollywood based Pinoy actor-director whose action suspense-thriller, “Outrage”, won the best science fiction film award in the Pasadena Action on Film international filmfest. He’s currently in town to promote the film that will premiere at SM Megamall on August 14. Ace was discovered by Alfie Lorenzo in the U.S. and he did some films for Viva with Robin Padilla and Jay Manalo. But what he really wants to do is to write and direct his own films since he studied this at the University of Southern California. His first directorial job was “Last Chance” with Todd Bridges, which he made for only $10,000 and hit it big on video. “Outrage”, his 6th film, stars Katie Fountain as a woman who inherits a mountain lodge. She goes there with some friends only to experience violence in the hands of a sniper, Michael Madsen (a favorite actor of Dir. Quentin Tarantino), and his co-horts. “The film’s theme is the law of attraction,” says Ace. “If you exude negative force, that’s also what you attract. You have to let go of anger and other negative feelings for your life to be better. I want lead characters who become better persons.”

The action-packed “Outrage” also stars Natasha Lyonne (“Blade”), Michael Berryman (“The Devil’s Rejects”), Derek Lee Nixon (“The Jerk Theory”), and Kenneth Lesco (“Star Trek”). Would he do a film in the Philippines? “That’s my next project, entitled ‘Wishing Well’. I’m now writing the script, set in Boracay to show the beauty of the place. It’s somewhat like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ and ‘August Rush’. I want Vanessa Hudgens of ‘High School Musical’ to star in it as she’s half Filipina.”