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‘Bayang Magiliw’: Gil-Eric collaboration

DIRECTOR Gil Portes on the set of ‘Bayang Magiliw’ with Wendell Ramos and Princess Manzon

Manila, Philippines – BEST OF – Director Gil Portes has worked with some of the best scriptwriters for movies and television. The likes of Jehu Sebastian, Butch Dalisay, Tony Perez, Ricky Lee, Doy del Mundo, Senedy Que, Adolf Alix, Lualhati Bautista, and Eric Ramos.

Gil takes pride in directing such great actors as Nora Aunor, Vilma Santos, Gina Alajar, Dolphy, Bembol Roco, Gloria Romero, Amy Austria, Christopher de Leon, Eddie Garcia, Jaclyn Jose, Tessie Tomas, Cherie Gil, Ricky Davao, Joel Torre, Gina Pareño, Alex de Rossi, Dina Bonnevie, Tommy Abuel, Mark Gil, among others.

Some of his best films: “Markova,” “Munting Tinig,” “Saranggola,” “Merika,” “Andrea,” “Miss X,” “Gatas,” “Two Funerals.”

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THIRD TIME – Gil’s latest work is “Bayang Magiliw,” showing sometime in April.

“Bayang Magiliw” is the third cinematic collaboration between director Gil M. Portes and screenwriter Enrique “Eric” Ramos. Their first two films together were the 2009 romantic thriller “Pitik Bulag” and the 2010 black comedy “Two Funerals.”

But in fact, Direk Gil and Eric first teamed up in 2008 when OctoArts Films decided to produce a sequel to “Miss X,” one of Direk Gil’s most successful films. Written by Ricardo Lee, the original 1980 movie starred Vilma Santos as a Filipina who feel victim to an illegal recruiter and ended up a prostitute in Amsterdam.

Direk Gil thought he needed a new writer who could provide fresh take on the subject. He tapped Eric, the founding editor-in-chief of FHM Philippines who had written the Palanca Award-winning script of “Azucena,” which became an acclaimed film by Carlitos Siguion-Reyna in 2000. Unfortunately, the “Miss X” sequel fell through after the supposed lead actress, Katrina Halili, figured in a controversy.

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SOMEDAY –Other producers have since expressed interest in the “Miss X” sequel, and direk Gil remains optimistic that the project will someday see the light of opening day. Meanwhile, his tandem with Eric finally took off the following year with “Pitik Bulag,” starring Marco Alcaraz, Paloma, and Victor Neri. Produced on a very modest budget, the film was rated A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, which commended its “tightly woven story” and “excellent” direction.

In 2010, direk Gil and Eric joined Cinemalaya when the indie festival inaugurated its Directors Showcase category for veteran filmmakers. Their entry was “Two Funerals,” about a mother’s journey to claim the body of her daughter, whose coffin was inadvertently switched with that of a middle-aged man, a fellow victim in a horrific road accident. Starring Xian Lim, Tessie Tomas, Jeffrey Quizon, Mon Confiado, Benjie Felipe, Althea Vega, and Princess Manzon, the film won five major awards at the festival, including best director and best screenplay.

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TOWN SCANDAL – “Bayang Magiliw” is officially direk Gil and Eric’s third collaboration as director and screenwriter. Eric began the script in early 2012 after direk Gil tossed him a story idea based on a real-life scandal that befell a local official in his hometown of Pagbilao, Quezon.

From there, Eric wove a story about a provincial town ruled by a mayor whose sexual appetite is as prodigious as his zeal for the Catholic doctrine of “go forth and multiply.” The result is a new comedy from director Gil M. Portes that finds humor in the most contentious political issue of our time. “Bayang Magiliw” is a social satire about a fictional town in Quezon province called Magiliw where reproductive health is a crime.

It stars Wendell Ramos, Giselle Toengi, Arnold Reyes, Jackie Lou Blanco, Lloyd Samartino, Racquel Villavicencio, Althea Vga, Sue Prado, Princess Manzon, Rob Sy, Benjie Felipe, Tony Mabesa, Dax Alejandro, Jess Evardone, AJ Dee, and Ellen Adarna.

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