TBA Studios celebrates Philippine film history with ‘Habambuhay’
While the pandemic has given the local film industry a great challenge, pushing local cinema theaters to close their doors, it still found its way to thrive through virtual streaming platforms and other online releases. But it wasn’t until the 2021 Metro Manila Film Festival that many have realized the biggest issue it is confronting when netizens expressed their divide about international and local films on social media. Sure, the annual film festival shouldn’t be the only way to measure Filipino viewers’ patronage of the country’s cinematic works. But when put side by side with Hollywood mega films, many think it what’s truly ours aren’t just that great.
Here to remind everyone of the beauty and importance of the Philippine film industry is TBA Studios with its special docuseries, dubbed “Habambuhay,” highlighting its rich history and role of Filipino filmmakers, old and new, in shaping the movie culture we have today.
Divided into two episodes, the first part, “Sandaan (100), Sangandaan (Crossroads) / Philippine Cinema at the Crossroads,” puts the spotlight on Filipino cinema’s early beginnings with filmmaker Jose Nepomuceno whose zarzuela movie “Dalagang Bukid” marked the beginning of full-length moviemaking in the country back in 1919. The hour-long presentation goes through the past 100 years of Philippine Cinema, from the pioneering reels in the ‘20s until the ‘40s, great directors’ masterworks in the ‘50s and ‘60s (Gerry De Leon, Lamberto Avellana, Manuel Silos, to name a few), to the breakthrough films of Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal and Mike De Leon in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and through the rise of the independent filmmakers of the new millennium (including such auteurs as Brillante Mendoza and Lav Diaz).
Its second part, “Showbiz Clan: The Eigenmann Legacy,” details the colorful life and illustrious career of Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, who have contributed a lot to Philippine cinema not just through the films they starred in, but also through their renowned family of actors. Their legacy has been continued by their children, Mark Gil, Michael de Mesa, and Cherie Gil, who many see as among the most awarded and highly regarded thespians, having all worked with the industry’s top-notch filmmakers.
Also appearing in the docuseries are some of the local film industry’s brightest stars like Nora Aunor and Gloria Romero, industry pillars such as Charo Santos-Concio and Luis Nepomunce, among others.
“Habambuhay” is led by award-winning screenwriter and director Doy Del Mundo, and will be released on TBA Studios’ Youtube Channel for free on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m.
Watch its trailer here: