Sa kainitan ng issue sa theater community tungkol sa pahayag ng kontrobersiyal na baguhang indie filmmaker na si Rafael "Rafa" Santos kaugnay ng usaping "Sky Flakes at catfood," hindi maiwasan ng ilang showbiz personalities ang mag-react sa kanilang Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Matatandaang ilang araw ang nakararaan ay sumabog ang balitang may "derogatory remarks" diumano na sinabi si Rafa sa kanyang ANC interview tungkol sa theater actors, as against the mainstream actors (CLICK HERE to read related story).
Si Rafa ay director ng Samarito, isang short film entry sa forthcoming 7th Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival sa CCP theaters ngayong July 2011.
Nakalap ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang ilan sa mga comment na ito ng showbiz personalities.
Kung marami ang bumira, nanlait, tumira, umalipusta kay Rafa, meron din namang positibo ang pananaw.
Narito ang ilan sa kanilang pahayag:
DAVID FABROS (celebrity photographer): "My first reaction was shock, then anger, then after a while, natawa na 'ko. I'm sure gratitude and praise can be expressed in a nicer, more a more diplomatic and appropriate way."
FANNY SERRANO (actor, celebrity makeup artist, fashion designer): "Sa totoo lang, feeling ko ay tinira nya ng pailalim ang mga mainstream actors being paid sooo high only to deliver a Sky Flakes acting. And i think, pwede ring artista si Rafa kasi ang galing nyang mag-deliver ng isang believable acting...
"Super bongga sa dami ngayon ang imbiyerna sa kanya up to the level of boycotting him. Clap clap clap! At least, pinag-uusapan sya... And I'm sooo interested to watch his film to see kung may 'K' nga sya."
CARLO MACEDA (actor turned indie film and events producer): "He will be fine. A lot of people in the industry are like that and they became superstars. Maganda bawi nyan later, hero na hero ang plot. Pabugbog muna sa simula, tapos magcha-charity event na yan. Change of heart kuno kuno.
"And then, if we buy it, instant success, just add water. Very good publicity work. Bonggang slant, twist and slide. And if we boycott the film, sayang naman yung work nung mga theater actors, as some claim they just want to be recognized. Sky Flakes na nga lang binayad di pa natin papanoorin?
"But before we point fingers, who is really to blame? Is it the actors who allowed themselves to be treated that way? Is it really the director who just described his observation, tapos nagagalit lahat kasi the truth hurts?
"Is it our forefathers who defined our nature as a race? Or is it the small budget that was given kaya everybody is getting a Sky Flake's share? Or let's just blame our parents kasi sometimes we loose our manners?...
"Hindi sa I agree. It is funny. We got angry because sometimes we just can't handle the truth. MALALIM 'yung sinabi niya at matapang siya for putting it out. Looking beyond the obvious, we can find wisdom.
"After all, it's for art's sake. And if you are reading this and you are still angry, have a Sky Flakes, you'll see it's not that bad at least hindi ka tataba."
ARNELL IGNACIO (actor-TV host): "Saw the interview. I think he was struggling to say something praiseworthy about theatre actors. Saksakan lang nang pangit ang pagkakasabi. Tingin ko, before his turn came to answer, he was trying to come up with words to express what he had in mind.
"Then, biglang napunta na sa kanya ang tanong at inatake ng kaba. Nagkalat. Personally, I would like to give him a chance to say what he really wanted to say. Probably, a second round of interview with the 'theatre' (people) as his audience should be arranged. I'll bring a tin of Sky Flakes and my cat. It may be fun episode!"
Meron din namang mas malalim ang pananaw, o mas tumitingin sa kapakanan ng movie industry and theater community in general.
SUZETTE DOCTOLERO (headwriter, Amaya of GMA 7): "Agree. Pero hindi ba dapat na ring baguhin ang pagbibigay ng libreng serbisyo? Oo nga't walang malaking budget ang indie film, pero kahit point system sana, mailaban. I hate the term 'for the sake of art' para pumayag ng libre.
"Mabuti sana kung lugi ang pelikula. But most indie movie gets screened pati sa abroad. May alam akong filmmaker na ganyan, puro libre tao niya nung nagsisimula siya, ngayon ganda na ng lifestyle—nakabili na ng bahay at kung ano-ano... tsk!
"Habang ang kawawang artista at staff na ginamit niya noon, hanggang ngayon, walang bayad. Exploitation ang tawag dito. Hindi ko nilalahat ang filmmakers dahil marami rin namang maayos makitungo at hindi rin naman talaga kumikita.
"Pero bahagi ng pagbabago sa movie industry, ang pagbibigay ng respeto, kaangkupang bayad (o kung wala, royalty) para sa lahat ng workers (artista man o staff). Hindi sa mukhang pera, pero ano bang masama kung kumikita? Respeto."
GINA MARISSA-TAGASA (award-winning film and television scriptwriter):"Dahil kay Rafa Santos, nakuha ng mga theater actors ang sympathy at attention ng showbiz. Kaya sa mga nagdi-diva-divahan na stars at starlets na wala namang talent, magising kayo dito. Bea Garcia says PASSION, may ganon ba kayo? 'P' is for Pera-pera lang yata. Oopss! I behave.
"Seriously, I admire the DISCIPLINE and PASSION ng mga actors na ito. And some of our successful and good actors/directors came from Theater -- Cesar Montano, Noni Buencamino, Irma Adlawan, Joel Lamangan, Soxie Topacio, to name a few."
Samantala, ang theater stalwart na si Dr. Anton Juan, isang prestihiyoso, award-winning, at respected theater actor, director and playwright, ay may pinost din online na kanyang personal comment bilang isa sa mga haligi na ng teatro.
Isa ito sa mga naunang posts among theater leaders noong sumabog pa lang ang balita, pero recently lang nakakuha ng permiso ang PEP upang ilathala ito.
Narito ang post ni DR. ANTON JUAN, in full:
"SKY FLAKES AND CAT FOOD AND GRACE - by Dr. Anton Juan
"All utterances being signs of a greater context and foreboding, it is my duty as a Filipino artist and educator to flesh out this 'Sky Flakes and Cat Food' phrase. Evidently it is a symptom of indifference to the construction of words—a malaise that has arisen from the vast mouth of ignorance that is eating up our society.
"It is a symptom of a 'wala lang' (oh, nothing really) malaise in an ABS-CBN cum GMA cum AFP formula Philippine society, where words are not the sincere and true expressions of ideas and truth. Surely in this world, where the insensitive maker of words simply utters out of formulated taxonomies, equivalences to persons, objects, and things will arise resulting in the inhumanity of meaning and cynicism.
"In this case, the theatre actor has been, at the origin of the statement, designated as being equal to convenient and sustainable—and mind you, these words are so mis-used by art and cultural managers, and we must admit, even by theatre managers. But it is the attitude and the lack of insensitivity attached to the utterance that changes the utterance into a mockery.
"If the utterer, Mr. Rafa Santos, had been more aware of the field of attitudes that cloak words, and if in his intent he were to make a self parody as all theatre actors do to 'ennoble' their ridiculous talent fees, then first of all he would own the utterance in defiance of the system. But he does not. First of all he is not a theatre actor.
"In this case, he is a celluloid or digital image-maker, with the celluloid or bullet as the medium of his craft. Secondly, his intent is clearly from the 'practical' and exploitative point of view, which is the origin of his encodification of his 'Sky Flakes and catfood utterance' in response to why he cast theatre artist. The theatre artist therefore is now like, in this case a literal image of a stuffed cat in biology labs, to which a formulation has been attached.
"And the formulation of this taxonomy is: Theatre actor = Sky Flakes and catfood; this equivalence translates to theatre actor = sustainable production; theatre actor = sustainable product.
"Ergo: Use them. They're cheap.
"But this brings us to a wider context. The question by a T.V. host posed an opposition of categories regarding casting framed in a question seeking the reason for choosing the theatre artist as cast—Santos' reason being, the theatre artist is: 1. Never late; 2. Is content being fed Sky Flakes and catfood.
"Clearly in these oppositions, there are other cultural interventions: the TV/film industry and how it looks down or upon theatre artists; the theatre artists themselves who would still continue to shuttle from theatre to film/TV.
"Inspite of being treated in a non-equitable way by the film industry till they get to a star level as say, Eugene Domingo and other theatre people who have climbed to the top. This statement is only a symptom of the greater system of exploitation that occurs in the industry, and the Hobbesian choices theatre artists, writers, directors, are forced to make— between the mouth of Hell and starvation.
"Theatre artists indeed can be treated differently from the way movie artists are. While there is a reverence for their discipline, there is in fact that other condescending attitude that yes they can be fed 'Sky Flakes and catfood.'
"Yet we, theatre artists, must also admit there are those among us who apart from the love of art, also love the limelight and are willing to sacrifice for this. This does not mean however that the carrot stick swung before our faces of bigger roles and bigger parts, of directing serials and advertisements that lie, carries with it the care and pandering given to the sexy pussies (who certainly are not fed cat food) and cocks (who do not peck on the crumbs of Sky Flakes) who strut around the animal farm, where they get propped up in the kliegs and smoke machines, fully powdered and legally blonde or dumb.
"For directors, there will be the fear these cocks and pussies and hopefuls hold for the 'direk' a fear of not being cast in the serials, and God and those who play gods on every exploitative strata and hierarchies know what body and soul they will give to get parts.
"For theatre artists, there is no choice. You are given this month, this number of days, and there is no pandering. Also they can change their mind if they have already assigned you shooting days. Or they can always cancel a call or a shoot. Or cancel you altogether.
"So, I am not in any way surprised that such a statement should come from the mouth of a petty bourgeois mouth, one which is starting his career as a film director. In fact if he were aware of histories in theatre, there was a time when we actors and directors fed on "styrofoam" as we called that left over "kropek" made from who knows rotten shrimp shells and fish ground and made into cans and cans of neither yellow nor cream colored squares of Styrofoam that you had to down with a coke. Or cracked biscuits in cans, the discards of factories. And that was termed as 'lamay'—KUNG may kapeng ipakain sa iyo.
"E, 'yung REP (Repertory Philippines) nga, ni tubig wala. I and Bibot (the great late Zenaida Amador of theater) used to have kape at pan de sal during Lear and Our Town rehearsals courtesy of our own remembrance and pocket.
"Dulaang UP has a 'Bring your own mug' policy and coffee and whatever biscuits or turn-overs from departmental parties will grace the table shared. Or Beth bless her soul, and Judy Ick and Teroy at World Theatre Project rehearsals would bring Spanish bread and pasta yet!—kung anong meron, share. But all of these are not 'institutionalized' sustainability.
"THESE ARE NOT 'SKYFLAKES AND CATFOOD' PAMATID-GUTOM, or Consuelo de Bobo. THESE SHARING IS GRACE. GRACE, BY WHICH THE THEATRE ARTIST LIVES.
"The statement this utterer of sounds made is only a sign that yes, there is a vast exploitation of theatre artists within the system of stars of the Film industry. I also believe that this statement is a result of the contagion of the inability to express oneself in words with a definite logic of framing one's answer before speaking.
"This process is lost because precisely in the media, this is the way they speak and this has now seeped into the veins and cells of these upstarts who think they are being witty, and has seeped into the cells of the people who will, wala lang, accept such statements, wala lang, accept corruption, wala lang, that a dictator or a general thief of the country should be buried as a national hero, wala lang, that Caparas should be National Artist magaling naman cya wala lang, or the woman who gets hit by the pressing iron by a drunken philandering husband should believe he really loves her and that is the way to express it wala lang. and that wala lang, pinatay ko cya kasi wala lang, at direk sige na kahit na anu gagawin ko talaga? Sige kain ka wala lang, kain ka ng CATFOOD, tanga!
"Wala lang, utter any its okay, people won't remember anyway. Wala lang leads to no sense of history, to the malaise of forgetting. WE then allow these horrible myths and lies to grow and become the eventual meaning of our country and our race.
"Maybe we theatre artists should also start to reflect, get stronger, and say: NO WE DO NOT ALLOW.
"It is time to REFLECT, seek within ourselves why this equivalent of the theatre artist has come up from the vast mouth of ignorance. TIME TO SHOW MUSCLE."
Nakakuha rin kami ng komento mula sa dalawa pang independent theater directors na sina Ronaldo Bertubin at Francis O. Villacorta.
Mula kay Direktor RONALDO "RONI" BERTUBIN (isa ring theater-film-TV actor at TV commercial director):
"Ang bukas na liham na ito ay naglalayon na ipahayag ang aming saloobin sa isyung kinasangkutan ng isang direktor na nagsabing..ang mga taga teatro ay maari ng kumain ng skyflakes 3 beses isang araw at maari pang samahan ng de latang pagkain ng pusa.....ako sampu ng aking mga kasama ay nasaktan sa tinuran ng nabangit na direktor...
"Ako si Ronaldo Bertubin ay naging bahagi at magiging bahagi ng teatro hangang sa aking pagtanda. Sa teatro naitawid ko ang aking pag-aaral, dahil sa teatro naitaguyod ko ang aking kapatid na doctor at pamangking nurse at patuloy pa rin naming pinakikinabangan. At dahil sa teatro alam kong nakakatulong ako sa iba pang nangnanais na malinang ang kanilang kakayahan.
"Ako sampu ng aking kasamahan sa PRO. PRO (Professional Productions ) ay nakikiisa sa saloobin ng iba pa naming mga kasama...ang tinurang salita ng direktor ay labis na nagdulot sa amin ng kahihiyan...dahil ipinakita niya sa amin ang kawalang respeto sa aming propesyong pinili. Pinakita niya ang kawalang damdamin sa mga taong maaring nakatulong o gagamitin niya sa mga susunod niyang pelikula.
"Ang buhay sa Teatro ay nagmolde sa akin upang matutong makisama, rumespeto sa bawat isa at ang pagtulong sa mga taong nangangailangan ng aking talento ay di ko kayang pahindian lalo at nakasama ko sa Teatro... Kaya kong gawin ang isang bagay kahit di ako bayaran pero walang nagpakain sa akin ng biskwit, kadalasan pa ay masaya at maaga naming natatapos ang lahat.
"Kaya naman kapag binibigyan ako ng pagkakataon gaya ng mga "final casting" sa commercial aaminin kong hinahangad ko na mga taga teatro ang makasama ko. Di dahil mura ang bayad kundi sa kadahilanang alam kong magagawa nila ang trabahong iniatang sa kanila at kadalasan binabayaran sila ng tama at inaalagaan sa pagkain...
"Matagal na rin naman ako sa industriya ng commercial at masasabi kong malaki ang respeto ng industriya sa mga taga teatro kaya dina kataka-taka na ang ibang director, assistant director, caster, writer at producer sa daigdig ng commercial ay pawang mga taga teatro.... Di dahil mura sila kundi dahil sa nirerespeto kami sa industriyang aming kinabibilangan.
"At nang mabigyan ako ng pagkakataong magdirek ng aking pelikula (SIKIL, KURAP, LOVEBIRDS, LAST VIEWING), kinukuha ko ang mga ksamahan sa teatro di dahil sa mura sila kundi dahil nakakaunawa sila at napapagaang ang mga eksena at mapapansin din ito sa ibang pelikula at teleseryeng ating sinusubaybayan.
"At bilang direktor lagi akong naghahanap ng pagkakataon kung paano ko sila pasasalamatan at magagantihan.
"Iyon ang pagkakataong ibinigay sa direktor na ito... Binigyan siya ng pagkakataong mapanood sa telebisyon, upang maipahayag ang kanyang saloobin.. Di naman sila nagbibiruan noong pagkakataong iyon kaya naman di tamang gawin niyang isang malaking biro ang kanyang sagot.
"Sa kanya na rin nanggaling na ang mga taga teatro ay di palahingi at handang magsakripisyo kung kinakailangan...kaya dapat lang naman na IRESPETO AT IGALANG NIYA ANG AKING MGA KASAMA AT KAIBIGAN SA TEATRO.
"Di ito matatapos at marahil isang simula upang ipakita sa lahat na kaming mga taga TEATRO ay karapat - dapat na igalang at irespeto....
"Ronaldo M. Bertubin (DGPI)"
Mula naman kay FRANCIS O. VILLACORTA:
"It is infuriating to know that some people think so lowly of theater artists but seek the help of these actors in realizing their films.
"Mr. Santos should be thankful that there are actors who love their craft so much that FOOD is not an issue. Maybe, he should work with actors who demand buffet meals and billeting at Marriot's, actors he can look up to."
Si Villacorta ay isang history political science graduate ng La Salle University, at nagtrabaho sa ABS-CBN News, Warner Bros, at CCP. Kabilang sa stage plays na nai-direk na niya ay ang Journey to Rotary: The Paul Harris Story, Hamlet, Juan Luna, Mother Francisca Agonistes, etc. Ilan sa mga ito'y sa universities naitanghal.
Apat na theater actors naman ang nagpahayag din ng kanilang komento:
ANGELI BAYANI: "Rafa Santos' choice of words were unfortunate and misguided. But it is true that at some point of another, we theater actors have taken low-paying, if not probono jobs.
"His statement was a reflection of how we are generally viewed in the industry and I feel that it is a bit extreme to single him out. What is important now is that we address the situation itself, not just the issue, that we may forge harmonious working relationships between theater actors and the entertainment industry."
Si Angeli ay nanalong 2008 Vic Silayan Award, Best Actress, Cinemanila. Ilang stage plays at pelikula na rin ang kanyang nilabasan.
JERALD NAPOLES: "What happened was really offensive, but also a blessing in disguise. This is a manifestation of the undesirable working conditions, we theater actors (most of the time) experience. I'm glad that everyone gets to see and hear this. Ito na ang simula!"
Si Jerald ay klik na klik sa audience sa hit musical gay comedy play ng PETA, ang Care Divas (showing pa rin sa weekends ng July sa PETA theater), bilang isang straight guy sa tunay na buhay at gumaganap na bading sa palabas.
Nakalabas na rin si Jerald sa stage productions na Fake ni Tony Mabesa, Magsimula Ka ni Robert Seña, etc.
ROEDER CAMANAG: "In general, I think, iba yung gusto niyang sabihin, iba du'n sa the way he said it, medyo nakaka-insulto talaga.
"If it's a joke, it's still a bad joke. Sana man lang tumulong siya dahil kung gano'n, sana pinuri na lang niya nang matino. Hindi na lang siya nag-joke.
"Yes, we do that... sanay kaming kumain ng Sky Flakes... kasi naiintindihan namin, [it's for the love of] the craft.
"Pero para gamitin mo, para i-mock... Parang gano'n, e. We were mocked! It's the way he said it. It's the tone... a mockery!
"Kasi, we do that for the love of our craft. So huwag mong ipamukha sa amin 'yan, na mababang uri yung ginagawa namin."
"We do it. We do the dirty laundry. But don't rub it to our faces!"
JONATHAN "TAD" TADIOAN: "Kumbaga, kasi po, marami naman sa mga theater actors ang nakapagtapos. Kahit pa sabihin nating matagal bago nila natapos yung course, it's all professional... and we're professional actors.
"Masyado niyang na-generalize yung mga sinabi niya, which is a foul thing for us, theater people.
"Sanay po kaming kumain ng Sky Flakes. Sa rehearsals namin, kinakain namin, biskwit and coffee. And we're proud of that..."
Sina Roeder at Tad ay parehong kabilang sa Virgin Labfest entries this year.
Si Roeder ay nasa main cast ng dulang Isang Gabi Bago Magbukas Ang Portrait Of The Artist As Filipino Ni Nick Joaquin, nanag-open kagabi, June 30,while Tad is one the leads in Floy Quintos' An Evening at the Opera na magbubukas mamayang gabi, July 1.
May nakakatuwa namang komento si Rody Vera, festival director ng taunang Virgin Labfest, sa kanyang Facebook account.
RODY VERA: "At the Virgin Labfest, we don't serve catfood! Our writers sometimes bring pizza, krispy kreme, spaghetti, KFC. At kung minsan naman, potluck!
"Masaya! At kung skyflakes man ang pagkain, siguradong may chiz whiz, nutella, o kung minsan, sosyal na mga palaman, o diba..."
Sa isang seryosong pahayag pa rin, ang mahusay na aktor-komedyanteng si George De Jesus III (Amphythryon) ay nag-post ng isang panukala sa kanyang Facebook account.
GEORGE DE JESUS: "I don't think it's enough to rant sa mga status messages. How about something concrete?
"If Cannes banned Von Trier for his 'out of context' remarks about Nazis, why not call on Cinemalaya to not show the film of Rafa Santos?"