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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 23, 2018

Meet Ilonggo Director Emilio Jay Abello Of The Pista Ng Pelikulang Pilipino Comedy Entry, 'Pinay Beauty'

DIRECTOR EMILIO JAY ABELLO is a regional filmmaker from Negros who did Ilonggo films like “Namets”, “Ligaw Liham” and “Red”. He took a course with the New York Institute of Photography in the late 1990s then worked as cinematographer for Ilonggo directors like Peque Gallaga and Erik Matti, then with Laurice Guillen and Mark Meily. From there, he branched out to being an assistant director then did TV soaps with GMA-7 like “Te Amo” and “Mulawin”.

He also did short films like “Beinte Siete” and “7-Cut” that won awards in the Negros Summer Workshops. He attended more photography workshops in Chicago and Rockport in the USA in 2006 before directing his first full length film, “Ligaw Liham”, an entry in the 2007 Cinemalaya. His next films were “Namets” (the Ilonggo word for Yummy) in 2008 Cinemalaya and “Red” starring Jericho Rosales that won best screenplay in the 2014 Cinema One Filmfest.

He now directs “Pinay Beauty”, a comedy produced by Quantum Films, MJM Prods and Epic Media. This is a satire on the average Filipino’s desire to have whiter skin. “This is my first film that is not set in Bacolod,” he says. “Masaya ito kasi good comedians ang cast. When I first worked in Manila, they call me haciendero because of my fair skin. The crew does not consider me one of them. When I worked with Richard Gomez in a TV show, I was so amazed by his skin color. Ginusto kong maging kasing itim niya so I did sunbathing, but it never happened. Naging gray lang ang kulay ko. This story idea about skin color has been with me for sometime and I told about it to writers Rod Marmol and Alpha Habon who then wrote the full script. ‘Pinay Beauty’ says you should be happy sa kung ano ang ibinigay sa’yo ni Lord. You are happy when you are beautiful and you are beautiful when you are happy.”

And he’s happy to have a cast headed by Edgar Allan Guzman, Chai Fonacier and Maxine Medina. “They’re all very cooperative. Chai plays Annie, the girlfriend of Edgar as Migs. Her dream is to play the role of Snow White in Hong Kong Disneyland and be a princess who joins the Disney Parade. She has an aesthetic plan kung paano siya puputi so she can earn dollars abroad. So nangutang ang boyfriend niya ng P180,000 sa isang loan shark para pumuti si Annie. The loan shark told him his loan will be considered fully paid kapag naipakilala ito ni Edgar sa isang popular actress, si Lovely G, na poster girl for Pinay Beauty on a billboard. So together with his friends Janus del Prado, Hanna Ledesma and Nico Antonio, they hatch up a plan on how to meet Lovely G in person that will lead to a lot of funny situations and misadventures.”

“Pinay Beauty” is an entry in the Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino which will be shown in theaters from August 15 to 21. After this, Direk Jay is also directing the Metro-Manila Filmfest entry, “The Girl in the Orange Dress”, starring Jericho Rosales, Sam Milby and Jessy Mendiola.