Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Filmmaking With A Mission

The feelings lay buried, unspoken, for many days. I couldn't bring myself to talk about it, not even to my Beloved who contained her uproar while I turned the bedroom into a research den. Nor to the staff who had labored long office hours to put the numbers together, edit-compile reels and print and bind six hard copies of the 100-page Proposal to beat the nationwide deadline.

I refuse to even think about it now. But, it happened again.

Last month, the sponsoring film arm of a major TV Network had called, advising me that the full-length screenplay I submitted had been shortlisted by the Nominating Committee. Because of this, a Sequence Treatment (equivalent to a chapter outline/plot breakdown) was needed for final jury purposes. That same night, I jumped on the keyboard and finished the Treatment within one seating of just a couple of hours. It was easier to deduce that from an already completed screenplay replete with dialogue.

As I pressed the SEND button on the email, the visual design of the film became even clearer to me: the rustic locations in land and sea, the docu-style camera mood and high-contrast tone of lighting, the pockets of action and dramatic pacing, the rhythm of suspense and romance, the mystery of the past era entwined in a paranormal experience of today. I was certain it was going to find its way to the silver screen.

Inspired by true stories, the film proposal entitled LUTANG (meaning, Afloat) is about the contemptuous killings of journalists who are on a crusade exposing the massive corruption in government that has allowed illegal mining and illegal logging by big business and multinational companies. In my country, and in the remotest of our virgin islands, there are over a hundred of these unsolved cases, and the film intends to be an important voice in unraveling the hidden mysteries.

To land a slot among the final 10 winning screenplays didn't only mean recognition for me as a bonafide screenwriter, who would then be capable of getting commissioned to write for local film houses. In addition to the long-term rewards, winning one coveted seat will earn me the prize money: a million pesos seed fund for actual production shoot!

A number of my colleagues had been as confident as myself. Having worked in television for many years, and on this film script for many months, I felt secure it had all the ingredients of a good screenplay worthy to be co-funded and produced by a huge cable channel here that has likened itself to HBO Originals.

I had tossed the script to my peers in the TV/film industry, and they have gone beyond praise, even suggesting character actors in the major roles, and offering locations and post-production facilities for editing and musical scoring --- certain as I was that this was going to be made.

Worse, as industry professionals, we all thought my credentials as an active practitioner and a few calls to network executives would have enough clout to influence the jury.

I was, we were wrong. The screenplay LUTANG (Afloat) failed to capture a slot in the final ten to be endowed with a production seed fund of one million pesos each.

Minutes after receiving the lethal email, I called the competition secretariat hoping to find some clues for my own learning as to why the screenplay was rejected, or who composed the jury, or did it rate even just as a runner-up in the final tally. Was my screenplay too heavy, were they looking for something more entertaining than enlightening? Did they prefer small personal stories rather than something that might spur some controversy of national interest and inspire some action from the youth? Did they want a simpler movie made for TV, and not a full-length picture that will help save the Palawan islands, or the Sierra Madre mountain ranges and the aboriginal tribes being driven away from their ancestral lands in order that foreign investments can pluck and yank the minerals underneath?

The program manager on the other line was deft in saying they couldn't divulge any more information than the list of winners contained in the email. She went on to say Thank You for participating and the standard line 'hope to see you next year'.

As I hanged up, all my hopes for the film shut down. I went over the script a few more times that day, and every day there after. And in each time, I felt I had done it its best: there was nothing more I could have done better character-wise, content-wise, story-wise.

A journalist friend of mine who has a huge interest on the subject of murdered journalists and broadcasters, once told me that TV professionals such as myself must refrain from entering open scriptwriting competitions for the sheer fact that like any other writing contest, works are judged subjectively by a jury that might be inept to the purposes of 'filmmaking with a mission' and can not therefore be measured on their entire merits.

Now in hindsight, I feel I should have listened to him.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sun Sails

shimmers of warm light fall upon the softened crest

making tiny strides glisten with a radiance

seen only by the melancholy heart.

underneath, countless species behind ageless corals

savor the ocean's breath

while way above,

sails ride the wind with

souls in search of meaning.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The World in 2010.

Indeed all Life is strange: complexities of Nature punctured with mysterious happenstance or fate in random places.

Listen. Mother Earth’s solid crust shuddered more than once,

tearing down an entire race of a chaste class. (Haiti)

Hear Her waters crushed onto shores without restrain,

claiming in its path the sorrows of a million lives. (Pakistan)

Watch Her roots, the Earth’s pillars, succumb to sudden fires,

causing both wild and peaceful herd to flee. (Russia )

Feel Her winds wrestled with the horizon calm,

crashing any and all that is tangled in its swirl. (New York)

Fear Her mounds spewing black ash across vast lands,

breaking the silence of the sublime. (Indonesia)

Then understand it is only either by greed or by fault:

Human error spilled the oil across the Gulf.

Chilean miners are trapped,

Allied soldiers are bombed,

Afghan Talibans are shunned.

Make sense out of the nuclear tension in Korea;

the labor unrest in Greece.

The looming jobless in the once “green pastures” of America.

When Nations fall into the new divide,

Count the Final Tally.

Then let Father Time forestall its warning.

as we wait for Mother Nature to cleanse her earth.

But yet, there are compensations, things to console with:

Rescue and aid from strangers they may be, leap across all corners of the World.

Homeless birds, though soaked to death in oil, heal in human hands to soar again.

Ocean species, while besieged by tainted currents, converge in untouched territories to breed again.

Pine trees & purple flowers, though aging & uncared for, bloom in eternity.

Races unite for many a cause,

And for many, a new consciousness arises.

Come, assemble under the changing weather

And let Mankind shift itself.

It is only in its transformation that the season bequeaths itself away.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Horizon Calm


above a sea of clouds

an endless space of hovering light,

heaps of White

move softly about as the Blue divan lay still.

a soft divide of faint Yellow and silky Orange

shuffle upward yielding to Velvet hues.

in the distant horizon,

a Pink beacon permeates

gaining intensity as we glide.


across the ocean below

fields of fiery Red trees alight Autumn in a continent

while realms of verdant Greens hover Spring in another.

Father Time suspended while we sphere Mother Earth.

Life above and below in a constant roll

People of all races,
Blacks and Whites,
Browns and Blondes,


As one

once Horizons obscure.


The miracle of colors pass me by

Till the Light slowly fades to reveal its First Star.

And then...

there were many more.

The Horizon Calm cedes into Infinity.

(Black in Perpetuity)

Where Nothing is Everything.

@Pat Perez airborne Nov 2007& Sept 2009 /June 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

At First Light

In the still of the night

half-hour to the crack of dawn

blameless birds chirp under the half-moon

while a careless breeze whiff down the trees.

Amid the city of glass and class

a sky softly fielding hues of blue

yearning for the breath of Earth

longing as my soul for the radiance of the First Light.

what troubles past the other day

now clothed behind the new day.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Somewhere in the Palawan Isles

My carefree breathing felt heavier than the gentle breeze rustling amid the glistening leaves. Only the faint sound of a cricket probably calling out to its mate disturbed the silence of the moonlit evening, as the Palawan waters shimmered against the pitch black stillness of the horizon calm.

An occasional gush of the eastern winds whistled soothingly into the depth of the moment, no longer afraid as I was briefly of the solitude. The serene atmosphere smelled of burnt fern, reminiscent of the comforting cool of Baguio and temperate Tagaytay and yet, not quite the same as their feverish calling for company.

A single leaf would find itself cradled to the ground by every singular motion of a wind's whiff.
And over the distant shores, balls of light emit a subtle radiance that reminded me of life beyond this beautiful landscape of red earth.

The stars invisible as they are from this virgin island laden amid a gently sloping mountain range look down upon me, as I await the hour of my birth. I find respite in this personal space to be re-aligned with the cosmic energies, to be rejuvenated once more for a new stretch of life.

Another leaf, dried and lifeless had fallen with the suden gush of the gregarious wind. This time the eminent sound of its whistling lingering longer than the last time, and evoking an echo at its tail that wasn't there when I first noticed it.

I go back to an annual tradition of geting inside myself, taking stock of where I am and which way I am bringing myself to go next. Only now I have both more and less choices.

More perhaps because of the immense opportunities that go with lifelong experiences, and yet less because of the passage of time inevitably lost in the learning and coping with living a human life.