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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.

Mar 16, 2018

Writer-Director-Actress Bibeth Orteza Confident Direk Maryo J. De Los Reyes Will Guide Her In Her Tasks As The New Director Of Tofarm Filmfest

BIBETH ORTEZA, a seasoned director, writer and actress, is the new festival director of ToFarm Filmfest, with Joey Romero as managing director and Laurice Guillen as consultant. A brainchild of Dr. Milagros How, EVP of Universal Harvester Inc., it aims to uplift the plight of our farmers by showcasing their aspirations, trials and personal journeys as caretakers of agriculture.

It was held in 2016 and 2017, producing acclaimed films like “Paglipay”, “Pauwi Na”, “High Tide” and “What Home Feels Like”, some of which even got recognized in film festivals abroad. The festival director then was the late Director Maryo J. de los Reyes. Now that he’s gone, it becomes Bibeth Orteza’s responsibility to choose the next set of entries, which will now include a short film competition.

“We’re deeply saddened by the demise of Direk Maryo J. delos Reyes,” Dr. How says. “He gave so much of himself for TFF. When he suddenly left us, we found ourselves at the crossroads. Should we go on with the project or not? After a lot of study, I personally thought it’s best to carry on what Direk Maryo has started. The festival would be a continuation of his vision for the farmers and for our film industry. This is our tribute to him.”

Bibeth came to Manila to study in UP then got into theatre and became a TV and movie comedian called Bibeth Bisaya with her thick Visayan accent. No one can question her credentials because through the years, she has made many acclaimed films as an actress, like “Bwakaw”, “Babae sa Bintana”, the original “Temptation Island”, “Nine Mornings”. She even played the president of our country in Robin Padilla’s “10,000 Hours” and bagged a Metro Filmfest best supporting actress award for her role as Sid Lucero’s cranky mom in “Toto”.

Bibeth is also a noted activist and a cancer survivor. As a writer, she has written countless scripts both for the big and small screen. Among her acclaimed full length films are “Palipat-lipat, Papalit-palit” directed by the late LIno Brocka, and the films directed by her husband Carlitos Siguion Reyna: “Inagaw Mo ang Lahat sa Akin”, “Abot Kamay ang Pangarap”, “Kung Mawawala Ka Pa”, “Ligaya ang Itawag Mo sa Akin”, “Ang Lalake sa Buhay ni Selya”. On TV, she wrote such long running shows as “Okay Ka Fairy Ko”, “Iskul Bukol”, “Vampire ang Daddy Ko”, “Hay Bahay”, some of which she also directed. She also wrote the biography of Comedy King Dolphy.

“It’s an honor to succeed Direk Maryo J as festival director because I was part of the very first movie that he directed, “High School Circa 65” in 1979,” she says. “I believed that with his guidance and vision, maayos nating mairaraos ang ToFarm filmfest this year. Although I haven’t directed a movie, napili raw nila ako kasi I can be maternal to the filmmakers who’d want to join. Madi-discuss ko sa kanila ang problems sa script nila and what can be done to improve them. May soft spot sa’kin ang filmfest na ito kasi my own lolo was a farmer, so I have an idea kung ano ang mga pinagdaraanan nila.”

Her own husband is a director and her son Rafa Siguion Reyna is an actor but she told them not to join any entry this year. “Sabi ko, baka sabihing ginagamit ang position ko para may work sila, although si Rafa had an entry last year, yung ‘Baklad’ ni Topel Lee. But this year, I told him, kung may kukuha sa kanya, tumanggi siya out of delicadeza.”

Entries to the ToFarm Filmfest 2018 are now being accepted. Deadline for submission is on April 20, 2018. For more information on how to submit original manuscripts, log on to www.tofarm.org, or check the Festival Mechanics and Rules and Regulations. The week-long TOFARM Film Festival 2018 will run from Septemer 12 to 18, with the Awards Night slated on September 15. We’re sure Direk Maryo J is smiling in heaven knowing that a project he has started is now in very good hands.