Film industry, nagluluksa sa pagpanaw ni Mel Chionglo

by Bibeth Orteza
Sep 21, 2019
Acclaimed director Mel Chionglo passed away this Saturday, September 21, 2019.

Hello po. Welcome ulit, to Labandera Chronicles.

Gutay-gutay ang puso ng inyong labandera, nagluluksa sa biglaang pagpanaw ni Mel Chionglo, (1946-2019), director, writer at production designer.

Ani Directors’ Guild of the Philippines, sa Facebook:

“After an early career as production designer for such classics as Mike de Leon’s Itim, Ishmael Bernal’s Salawahan, Eddie Romero’s Aguila, and Lino Brocka’s Ina, Kapatid, Anak, he eventually made his own films. Notable among these were Playgirl, Midnight Dancers, Lagarista, and Burlesk King, the latter of which screened at the 2000 Berlin International Film Festival’s Panorama Section.

“He was also an industry leader and mentor, respected for the deep wisdom he would quietly share amongst veteran colleagues and upcoming filmmakers. A founding member of the DGPI, he served as its president in 2008. He also acted as Competition Director and Head of the Monitoring Committee of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, and was once a member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

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“The DGPI extends its deepest condolences to the family of Mel Chionglo.”

Una kong nakasama si Carmelo Chionglo sa trabaho sa Kung Mangarap Ka’t Magising (December 1977, dir. by Mike de Leon). Production designer siya ro’n, gayundin sa Temptation Island (July 1980, dir. by Joey Gosiengfiao), at scriptwriter naman ng Girlfriend (May 1980, dir. by Ishmael Bernal).

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Outside of work, we were friends. Great friends. Kahingahan ng sama ng loob. Takbuhan, para hingian ng payo. Hanggang sa naging Mama Mel na ang tawag ko sa kanya, at hindi lang ako. Marami kaming anak-anakan niya because that was what he was. Motherly, almost to a fault. Mapagkalinga talaga.

Noong unang dayo ng Reynafilms, Inc. sa Toronto International Film Festival noong 1994, dala ang Hihintayin Kita sa Langit (July 1991, dir. by Carlos Siguion-Reyna, script by Raquel Villavicencio), ang Sibak: Midnight Dancers ni Mama Mel ang talagang pinilahan na pagkahaba-habang viewing lines na parang umii-snake na sa ilang pasilyo. Pero hindi niya kami iniwan, and along with TIFF Asian programmer David Overbey, mentored Carlitos and gave him advice.

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Nakailang punta rin kami TIFF na magkasama, and from there we’d proceed to New York for a brief vacation. Hanggang sa NY, nagkikita pa kami, kakaing magkasama sa labas, manonood ng sine at play sa Broadway.

Pare-pareho kaming magkakaibigan ng mga pangarap para sa industriya ng Pelikulang Pilipino, lalo na pagdating sa issue ng censorship. Kaya naman noong naging Chairman ng MTRCB ang biyenan kong Armida Siguion-Reyna, isa ang Mama Mel sa mga una niyang inisip na isama sa kanyang board.

Kung papipiliin ako sa paborito kong Mel Chionglo experience, babalik ako sa araw ng kasal namin ni Carlitos, April 1, 1989. Hindi nakarating si Atty. Romy Capulong, isa sa mga ninong. No’ng nagpipicture-taking na pagkatapos ng seremonya, sabi ni Direk Lino Brocka, na ninong din, “Kulang tayo. Hindi balanse ang frame. Mel, ikaw na ang tumayo sa likod ko, ililis mo ang long-sleeves mo.”

Sagot ng Mama Mel: “Hindi maganda, hindi ako naka-barong.” Luminga siya, nakita si Vic Sotto, na buong kakisigang naka-porma sa suot na barong, bilang escort ng nanay niyang Dr. Herminia Castelo-Sotto, isa sa mga ninang.

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“Vic, ikaw na ang tumayo sa kanang dulo,” diretsahang turan ng Mama Mel kay Vic. Nabigla ang taon pa ang aabutin bago makilala bilang Bossing, hindi nakatanggi. ‘Eto ang pruweba, buhat sa aming wedding album. Kaya ganyan kalinis iyan ay dahil sa wedding photographer na si Charlie Peralta, at sa on-the-spot production designer, si Mama Mel.

Laking tuwa ko talagang kami pa ang nagkatabi noong gabi ng SINE SANDAAN. Inabot niya ang pagdiriwang ng ika-100 years ng industriyang mahal na mahal sa kanya.

May forever, Mama Mel. Ikaw iyon, sa aming mga puso.

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Acclaimed director Mel Chionglo passed away this Saturday, September 21, 2019.
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