XIAN LIM TAKES THE STRINGS
The actor will make not just one film, but two, though both will be adaptations of Philippine literary masterpieces: Florante at Laura and Ibong Adarna
Film-TV actor Xian Lim is about to make history (in the Philippines). He is all set to direct a pioneering Filipino puppetry film. (Yes, there are puppeteers in the country who are not with a foreign government and are also non-oligarchs. They are mostly little-known artists from hardly known cultural groups.)
Xian will direct a film with puppets as main characters for the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), specifically for the program Sining Sigla of the CCP Office of the President, whose occupant was a film-TV director for many years, though he started his career as an artist as a theater director: Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.
Foremost puppetry practitioner in the country Dr. Amelia Lapena Bonifacio of the University of the Philippines has acknowledged Xian’s work, which will be the first ever the country.
The actor will make not just one film, but two, though both will be adaptations of literary masterpieces of the Philippines:
Florante at Laura and Ibong Adarna. The screenplays were written by ventriloquist-puppeteer Ony Carcamo who was once entertainment editor of a tabloid attached to a broadsheet (not the
Daily Tribune). Ony’s alter-ego puppet Kiko in his ventriloquist act may appear in any of the two films — with Ony himself giving voice to the puppet, as all ventriloquists do.
The puppetry films belong to Sining Sigla’s MALA project. The acronym stands for Modern Adaptation of Literary Arts. But as Ony explained at the virtual media conference for Sining Sigla, when MALA is written in lower case, it becomes the Tagalog prefix that means “resembling” or “like.” “The films will be
mala-Florante at Laura and mala-Ibong Adarna. They will not be the full-length versions of those literary masterpieces we inherited from our ancestors. Those two works have dozens of characters, long-winding plots that take hours to stage. So we’re doing film adaptations that can be viewed on a shorter time. Our versions will be just mala,” explained Ony at the Zoom media huddle.
Xian has directed only one film so far, and it must be familiar to CCP officials and personnel.
Tabon, a suspense-drama, was an entry in the 2019 Cinemalaya at the CCP. It had mixed reception, but a film is a film and not everyone can conceive and direct a film to qualify as an entry to a festival as prestigious as Cinemalaya. That acceptance must be more than good enough qualification for Xian to be asked to direct what is expected to be a historic film.
The films will be shown online for free at the CCP Facebook page in either October or November.
Sining Sigla is actually a festival in its own right. One component will be historic for actor-director Ricky Davao because it will be his first time to helm a project for the CCP. And it is a mini-festival in itself: Isang Pagbabalik-Tanaw sa Hari ng Balagtasan. That hari (king) is Jose Corazon de Jesus, more popularly known as the poet “Huseng Batute,” after whom a laboratory theater at the CCP is named.
It’s the third time that a mini-festival for the versatile literary man (he also wrote plays, essays, editorials and even screenplays for which he also acted) will be held at the CCP. Its format is a cultural variety show and this year’s edition will be hosted by GMA 7’s star comedian Michael V. Among the performers will be John Arcilla and soprano Lara Maigue.
Sining Sigla also has a jazz festival component that will be shown on the Facebook pages of the CCP and the CCP Office of the President on 25 to 27 September and 2 to 4 October 2020, all at 7:30 p.m. Among the artists performing will be saxophonist Tots Tolentino and Michael Guevarra, singers Nicole Asensio, Lorna Cifra, the allfemale group Baihana, the Simon Tan Trio and pianist Pipo Cifra.
Aside from individual performances, there will be one grand performance for all of them to be directed by Stanley Seludo, a member of the CCP Board of Trustees who is a musician himself.
As of this writing, dramatic and messy events have broken out off-camera among showbiz idols, such as Liza Soberano getting upset by a female netizen’s Twitter comment that she is “sarap ipa-rape sa
ano,” followers of former child star Xyriel Manabat howling at netizens’ nasty comments about the seemingly oversized breasts of the now 16-year-old Civil Engineering student. Also, Miss Universe Catriona Gray has filed a case against the (female) editor and (female) writer of a tabloid who published the world beauty queen’s alleged nude photo.
If those stories still sizzle by weekend, I’ll be able to deal with them in my Sunday column.
DR. Amelia Lapena Bonifacio of the University of the Philippines has acknowledged Xian’s, which work will be the first ever such film in the country.
XIAN Lim dabbles in directing movies with the Filipino puppeteery film, ‘MALA.’