Director Gil Portes to be laid to rest; cause of his death still unknown

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Director Joel Lamangan on the late Gil Portes (in photo): "His death is a great loss to the film industry. He was a pioneering spirit in the indie film movement. His love for film is beyond compare! He is a good friend!"


Sa biglaang pagpanaw ng award-winning at beteranong direktor na si Gil Portes noong May 24, marami sa industriya ang nagpahayag ng kanilang pagkalungkot at pakikiramay sa pamilya at mga kamag-anak nito.

Nagbigay ng update si Justin, anak ni Direk Gil, tungkol sa details ng wake ng yumaong direktor.

Narito ang text message na natanggap ng Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP.ph): "My brother Carlo Portes and I want to give an update on funeral services for our dad.

"The wake will be today Saturday, May 27, at Holy Trinity Memorial Chapel in Sucat, Parañaque.

"Viewing will be all day and night long to give people time to arrive.

"Actual funeral service will be Sunday, May 28, but details still TBA [to be announced]."

CAUSE OF DEATH. At press time, hindi pa rin batid ng publiko ang sanhi ng pagkamatay ni Direk Gil, na natagpuang wala nang buhay sa apartment nito sa Mapagmahal St., Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City.

Ngunit ayon sa ilang malalapit nitong kaibigan sa showbiz, may matagal nang may heart problem ang batikang direktor at sumailalim na rin ng bypass heart operation ilang taon na ang nakararaan.

Ayon sa report ng Philippine Daily Inquirer kahapon, May 26, mula sa QC Police District, isang kapitbahay raw ni Direk Gil ang nakita itong sumuka noong araw na yun, at kinahapunan ay natagpuan na lamang itong wala nang malay.

Hanggang sa naisugod na sa East Avenue Medical Center na dead on arrival.

Wala pa ang autopsy report kung kaya’t hindi pa matukoy ang sanhi ng pagpanaw ni Direk Gil.

Isa pang nakuhaan ng impormasyon ng PEP ay si Direk Armand Reyes, long time friend at associate director ni Direk Gil sa ilang mga pelikula nito in the past.

Ani Direk Armand, dahil nag-iisa si Direk Gil sa kanyang tinutuluyang apartment, ang may-ari nito ang taga-katok sa direktor tuwing umaga.

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Pero noong May 24, natagpuan nitong unconscious na ang direktor.

Kuwento ni Direk Armand sa text message niya sa amin: “Baka nangamoy na [ang bangkay], kasi parang over 24 hours nang dead.

"SOCO raw ang naglabas ng corpse, na nasaksihan ng neighbor/ka-chika ni Direk Gil.

“Ang neighbor na ito ay P.A. [personal assistant] ni Ai-Ai [delas Alas].

“Kahapon [May 24], sa taping ng GMA show kunsaan si Bibeth Orteza ang direktor, nasabi ng P.A. yung pagkuha ng SOCO sa corpse.

“Nalaman yun ni Bibeth na agad kinontak si Direk Joel Lamangan.”

Nang i-text namin si Direk Joel upang i-verify ito, ang sagot niya, “Yes, I was told of the same thing by Bibeth!

“The family is coming home [from New York], will be here daw by Friday,”

Ang pelikula ni Direk Joel na Bhoy Intsik ang huling dinaluhang premiere night ni Direk Gil sa SM Megamall noong March 2017.

UPCOMING PROJECT. Noong May 9, 2017, um-attend pa si Direk Gil ng producers and directors' meeting sa MMDA office para sa bago sana niyang pelikulang Mindanao.

Mula sa script ni Doy del Mundo, ipoprodyus ito ng Department of Health at balak isali sa Metro Manila Film Festival 2017.

About two months ago, personal pa naming nakasama ni Ronald Rafer si Direk Gil sa Mowelfund Plaza, sa pagdya-judge ng short films spearheaded by Direk Felino Tañada, na tulad ni Direk Gil ay tubong-Quezon Province din.

Noong hapong yun, masaya pang ibinalita sa amin ni Direk Gil na ang “niluluto” nga niyang pelikulang Mindanao ay balak niyang ilahok sa MMFF 2017.

Sina Rocco Nacino at Benjamin Alves ang napupusuan niyang kunin bilang dalawang lead actors sa nasabing proyekto upang gumanap sa roles na mga batang doktor sa probinsiya.

Nang magkita kami sa MMFF presscon after lunch sa MMDA,  kinuha pa niya mula sa amin ang personal number ni Benjamin.

Samantala, noteworthy rin ang media interview kay Direk Gil sa press conference ng kanyang Hermano Puli noon, tungkol sa pagpasok ng Pelikulang Pilipino sa Best Foreign Language Film category sa Oscars.

Nandoon ang PEP upang i-cover ang nasabing presscon.

For the record, nakatatlong pelikula ni Direk Gil ang ipinadala ng Pilipinas sa Oscars: Saranggola (1999), Gatas: Sa Dibdib Ng Kaaway (2001), at Mga Munting Tinig (2002).

Proud na sinabi ni Direk Gil na ang Mga Munting Tinig ni Alessandra de Rossi ay nag-rank No. 7 sa kategoryang ito ng Oscars, pinakamataas na nakamit ng anumang Filipino film dito, ngunit Top 5 nga lang ang official finalists.

Pahayag noon ng yumaong direktor, “Ang dapat maintindihan ng viewers, ang judges ng Oscars ay different sa mga judges ng Berlin or Venice film festivals.

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"Sa US, they go for films with so much hope. Mga Munting Tinig is very hopeful…

“Kung meron lang kaming pera to promote the film, siguro we can enter the Magic 5.

"Pag nakapasok na sa Magic 5, you have a very strong chance to win.

“Kami sa Mga Munting Tinig noon, we had only 30,000 dollars, hindi kasya yun!

"You need a promotion na lalabas sa Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and other journals. Then, you are given two free screenings ng Oscar.

“Kailangan, mag-rent ka pa ng theaters at magdagdag ka ng screenings.

"Pero ang pinakamahal is you to produce DVDs na ipapadala mo sa members ng Academy na boboto, kaya mahal yun!

“Around 400 lang ang boboto sa Best Foreign Language Film, but there are 5,000 members of the Academy or more.

"Hindi mo kasi alam kung yung 400 na yun, so you have to hit all the members of the Academy."

TRIBUTES. Ilang malalapit na kaibigan ni Direk Gil ang nakunan ng PEP ng personal nilang pahayag ukol sa sumakabilang buhay ng batikang direktor at sinasabing “original indie film director."

Hindi matatawaran ang tunay na pakikipagkaibigan ni Direk Gil sa dalawang kapwa niya master directors at nirerespeto rin sa industriya—sina Joel Lamangan at Mel Chionglo.

Sa pamamagitan ng text message, kinuhanan ng PEP ng pahayag sina Direk Joel and Direk Mel tungkol sa pagkamatay ng kanilang kaibigan.

Ayon kay Direk Joel: “His death is a great loss to the film industry. He was a pioneering spirit in the indie film movement. His love for film is beyond compare! He is a good friend!”

Sabi naman ni Direk Mel: “Gil was unique, making only films of his choice and resourceful enough to find his own funding. A true independent filmmaker.”

Ang screenwriter na si Eric Ramos, frequent collaborator ni Direk Gil, ay may post din sa Facebook account nito.

Sabi niya: “Pitong pelikula ang pinagsamahan natin. Pero ang mga alaala at aral -- ng saya at pighati, tagumpay at kabiguan, at, higit sa lahat, ng hindi pagsuko sa mga hamon ng buhay -- hindi ko mabibilang. Paalam, Direk Gil Portes.”

Ayon naman kay Rex Tiri, executive producer ni Direk Gil sa last two films nito (Hermano Puli at Moonlight Over Baler): “There are many exceptional talents in the film industry, but I have yet to meet someone with the same passion to his craft as Direk Gil.

“Despite of his health condition and old age, I never saw a tinge of exhaustion from his already frail body. It was indeed an honor to have worked with him.”

Ang isang successful protégé ni Direk Gil na si Senedy Que, scriptwriter for film and television,, may mahabang post sa Facebook:

“Dear Direk GIL PORTES:

“I am still in shock and deeply saddened by your passing. As I have often expressed to you, I am eternally grateful for the doors (and windows) that you have opened for my writing career.

"’Small Voices’/ ‘Mga Munting Tinig’ will always be special to me because this "little film with a big heart" gave me my first Best Screenplay honors (with Adolfo Borinaga Alix Jr.) and our film won Best Picture at the Palm Beach FF, Star, FAMAS and Urian awards. It also brought us to film festivals in Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Bangkok, and Toronto to name a few that we actually went to and spent great times together...

“You trusted my screenwriting talent when almost no one else did, including my own self. You encouraged me. You lifted me up. You made me believe in ME.

“I am sad because I haven't been spending much time with you and have passed on recent opportunities to work with you again. There is a part of me that has guilt for not doing more... for not giving more...

“You deserve a better place in this "thankless" industry, as you have often inculcated in me. You made sure that I am aware of the pitfalls of the world of entertainment. And you advised me to save up for the rainy days (something you never did yourself). :)

“There are no goodbyes, Direk, only good memories... I will always remember your big voice and your even bigger, uncontrollable mouth! Haha :) And I shall always remember you with fondness and gratitude...

“Direk Gil Portes... thank you. Thank You. THANK YOU! May you rest in eternal peace...”

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