Laurice Guillen feels humbled to be nominated as NCCA head

Filmmaker Laurice Guillen has received a recommendation to be the new chief of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. She believes that fellow nominee, Tirso Cruz III, would make a "capable chairperson" of the Film Development Council of the Philippines.


"I am very humbled by the fact that he endorsed me and that he trusts me," said Laurice Guillen, who was suggested by Senator Jinggoy Estrada to be the new chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

"If this pushes through—after all, it's just an endorsement—the final appointment will come from the President [Noynoy Aquino]. It's the President's decision. But if I am appointed and I accept the appointment, I will continue to make films because I still have the energy and the passion to make films."

Will she leave her post as Cinemalaya competition director if she accepts the position? "No, hindi ko iiwan. If it becomes a conflict, I will remain with my current commitments. But I was assured that it is not a conflict."

Senator Jinggoy Estrada and the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino and Directors Guild of the Philippines also recommended three other individuals for various positions: Tirso Cruz III as chairperson of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, Grace Poe as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, and Tony Reyes and Romy Suzara as heads of the Film Academy of the Philippines.

Direk Laurice gave Tirso her own endorsement. "Si Pip [Tirso's nickname] kasi, ang puso niya nasa film industry. Hindi mo masa-substitute ang experience of belonging to the industry and knowing the problems like the back of your hand... I think he will make a capable chairperson."

DEDICATED TO JOHNNY DELGADO. Last August 31, the director's latest film, Sa 'Yo Lamang, had its jampacked premiere at SM Megamall. In her prayer before the screening, Direk Laurice mentioned that she was dedicating the film to her late husband Johnny Delgado who succumbed to cancer on November 19, 2009.

(CLICK HERE to read more about the premiere night)

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She said she still finds comfort in talking to Johnny. "Yung faith namin, pag yumao, hindi ibig sabihin na wala na at nag-disintergrate. He's always there. Yung mga pelikula, from the very start [of my career], he has always been my partner in the craft. Ganun na yung relationship namin, hindi lang mag-asawa.

"Whether or not he is cast in my film, he is my worst critic because he can tell me straight what he thinks. Noong simula nakakapikon, pero he tells me things that others may not be telling me. Kumbaga, continuous pa rin ang spiritual conversation namin."

Ten years ago, she directed the ensemble family drama Tanging Yaman, which starredJohnnyDelgado and for which he won a FAMAS Best Actoraward. In Sa 'Yo Lamang, she distinctly missed his presence. "Kasi he's really masaya at nagpapatawa siya."

Is she still grieving the loss of her husband? "I am really too busy to grieve. I don't think he would have wanted me to stay and be grieving in my room. He would have wanted me to go on and be productive. At the same time, panatag naman ang loob ko na he's in a better place.

She added: "Of course, it doesn't mean that I don't miss him."

INSPIRED BY CHARLIZE THERON. Bea Alonzo shot a lot of confrontation scenes for this Star Cinema movie. When Direk Laurice and Bea were discussing her role as the coldhearted Dianne, they talked about having a Hollywood star as a sort of peg for her portrayal.

"Si Bea maraming pinaghuhugutan," observed the veteran director. "She practically grew up with Star Magic and sabi ko nga sa kanya, 'Para kang si Jennifer Aniston.' Then siya na ang nagsabi na dapat maging Charlize Theron.

"Kailangan dito, pull [out] all the stops. I told her, 'You can explore more of your inner self than you have ever done.' I am happy with what Bea has done. She's a very bright person... madali niyang naintindihan ang proseso at madali niyang na-identify yung nuances ng emotion na hinihingi sa kanya."

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Did she think that Bea was able to relate to her character since her own British father left her family when she was still a child? "I'm sure that she touched on that. Without us discussing it, I'm sure lahat yun nagamit niya."

Direk Laurice pointed out that she has worked in the past with some of the stars in the film, and others have undergone workshops with her.

"Nakatrabaho ko na noon si Lorna and Boyet [Christopher de Leon] and I worked with Shaina Magdayao for Tanging Yaman when she was only 10 or 11 years old. All the rest, I am working with [for] the first time."

Aside from Bea, LT and Christopher, the film also stars Coco Martin, Shaina Magdayao, Enchong Dee, Diether Ocampo and Zanjoe Marudo, among others.

Direk Laurice thanked the moviegoers who came to the premiere of Sa 'Yo Lamang, which has been graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board.

"Maraming salamat sa mga nanonood kasama ang kanilang pamilya. It is really intended for the family. 'Wag kakalimutan magdala ng tissue, at sa mga babaeng mahilig mag-makeup, waterproof mascara," she said with a laugh.

What movies will she be directing next? "Wala pa. Iniisip ko nga na yung next picture, siguro gumawa naman ako ng light romance, although ewan ko, yung mga ganitong klaseng drama ang ino-offer sa akin," she said with a smile.

She mentioned that Star Cinema wants her to direct a film titled 12th of August, which is about a man who mysteriously disappears on that date.

Does it take a toll on her to direct heavy dramas? "No, not really. You know, maganda nga [ito] sa akin kasi ang dami kong very deep and large emotions na kailangan ilabas at nakakatulong sa akin."



(CLICK HERE to read PEP's review of Sa 'Yo Lamang)

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