Written and photographed
By Jude Bautista
Understandably in any film award giving body screenwriters and other technical people are almost always second-class citizens compared to the actors and actresses, the goddesses who inhabit the silver screen. Even less recognition is given to entertainment writers who continually promote and try to make sense of what goes on and off screen.
The 61st FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) is probably the last body anyone would expect to recognize writers which is known for honoring the commercial or mainstream films in the Philippines.
Two entertainment writers/ journalist / TV hosts were honored April 21, 2013 at the AFP Theater along with all the glitz and glamour of the stars. Butch Francisco of STAR TALK TX on GMA network was given the Dr. Jose Perez Memorial Award and Cristy Fermin of ANG LATEST on TV5 was given the Arturo M. Padua Memorial Award. Fermin however, was not able to attend the ceremony.
Butch Francisco was holding back the tears during his speech, “I’ve always been saying na sa lahat ng mga award giving bodies pinaka maganda ang tropeo ng FAMAS. More than the physical attributes what I really appreciate about this award is the honor attached to it. You see I’ve been on television 18 years. On print 500 years. This is the first time I’m being acknowledged for whatever little contribution I’ve given to the entertainment profession. I’m sorry for being emotional but this is the first time.”
Butch mentioned all of his mentors and networks who discovered him, especially on his TV career, “I never had the chance to meet Dr. Perez but I’d like to thank his family led by Mrs. Maceda here. I’d like to thank the Philippine Star, Ricky Lo for the long period I wrote for them. Thank you also to ABS CBN for discovering me, to my GMA 7 STAR TALK family for nurturing me. Malou Fulgar my manager and adviser I see Ethel Ramos here and the other press people. You were a part of my life and my career. Tess Celestino, Arnel Natividad, Maribeth Bichara for the early years. I love you all, of course to the FAMAS for providing this wonderful recognition, of course to the creator and savior for this wonderful blessing thank you for the very, very long career capped by this very good blessing.”
Marichu Vera Perez who presented him with the award gave a short background on the awardee, “Ang mga sulat at pinagsasabi sa column ni Butch Francisco, na realize naming ay manunulat na laging nagsisikap na i-project ang magandang image ng mga artista imbes na siraan at palakihin ang mga iskandalo. Malaking bagay yon para sa min. Di lamang yon. Nagpakita siya ng tunay na pagpaphalaga at respeto sa ating mga senior stars at bihira na ang ganoon. Dahil kung wala ang senior stars natin wala ang mga artista sa harap natin ngayon. At dahil dito pinasya ng amin pamilya na ibigay ang Dr. Jose Perez Memorial award sa newspaper columnist, talk show host na si Mr. Butch Francisco na malalim ang kaalaman sa industriya.”
Butch Francisco is also a member of Manunuri Ng Pelikulang Pilipino a very well esteemed circle of film critics and academicians which gives out the yearly GAWAD URIAN awards. An indication of the prestige of the award he received is the presenter.
Marichu Vera Perez is the matriarch of the original film clan in the Philippines, which owned and operated SAMPAGUITA PICTURES. The early production company dominated the country’s film scene starting from the 1930’s. According to her biography, incidentally written by Francisco in the Manunuri website, Marichu Vera Perez is very instrumental in the establishment of several film organizations today such as the FILM DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL OF THE PHILPPINES, CINEMA EVALUATION BOARD and the OPTICAL MEDIA BOARD among others.
For any student, fan and auteur of Philippine cinema, the article on Marichu Vera Perez’ GAWAD Urian Lifetime Achievement award is a must read. Follow this link to the article in the official Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino Website.
Marichu was also producer of BATCH 81 of which she had monumental conflict with director Mike De Leon. In spite of her conflict she was driven to help finish the film, which was also exhibited at the CANNES film fest along with KISAPMATA in 1982.
This year, the Philippines is represented by 3 films in CANNES: NORTE, HANGGANAN NG KASAYSAYAN (NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY) by Lav Diaz, DEATH MARCH by Adolfo Alix Jr. and the short film ENGKANTONG LAOG SA MAHABANG DAPITHAPON (The Nomadic Creatures of a Long Twilight) by Derick Cabrido.