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January 12, 2012


National Artist for Cinema and Broadcast Arts Eddie Romero transfers the rights of his film Ganito Kami Noon, Paano Kayo Ngayon to the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

The signing of the deed of donation happened on December 1 at the NCCA office and was witnessed by NCCA officials led by Chairman Prof. Felipe de Leon Jr.

Romero feels that it is only proper to transfer the rights to one of his acclaimed films to the institution that continuously promotes the culture and arts community of the country. Aside from that, it is a form of giving back to the institution where he served as chairman of the Cinema Values Reorientation Program (CVRP), then project of the NCCA that produces TV series with good technical and social values, and helps find independent filmmakers.

Romero, who visited the agency with his wife Carol and daughter-in-law Vivian, stayed for a short chat on how he ended up writing films, his passion for writing and creating stories, and his take on the current developments on filmmaking.

Romero shares that writing is his first and foremost passion. “I have been writing since the early age of 7 or 8,” he says. In his short biography written by Lena Pareja, she tells that Romero, who was born on July 7, 1924, has been a writer ever since he learned to read and write. When he was in high school in 1936, he sold his first short story to Philippines Free Press, a national magazine then run by its American founders.

His transition to filmmaking, however, started when movie director Gerardo “Gerry” de Leon, asked him to write a movie. Romero remembers telling him that he can write one in English, but not in Tagalog, since he was Visayan. “And he said, go ahead and write it. I speak Tagalog, so I can do the translation” Romero tells. It is through this invite that Romero’s first screenplay, Ang Maestra was born. Aside from “Ganito Kami Noon. . . ”some of his critically-acclaimed films include “Agila”, “Banta ng Kahapon” and “Kamakalawa”.

When asked about his writings and how he creates them, he casually tells that it comes to him naturally. He explains that one doesn’t have to push himself to write. If you do that, it’s hard. You have to go through a lot of learning”

When asked about what he thinks of today’s films and the filmmakers, he tells: “I still watch movies or TV series until now. Some are good, some are bad. But I don’t have any trouble with young filmmakers right now. There are more good films now than before, because there is more awareness of the medium. Dati-rati, it was better writing for Liwayway magazine.”

Romero goes with the flow of things. He is not one to attest to the developments of the modern times, may it be good or bad. He is one who just lets his creativity flow, as manifested through his writings, and the films that he created. And importantly, he is one who appreciates technology and new ideas brought by the times and new generation. And his message for the young filmmakers of today: “Be true to yourself. Be you.”

Originally published in The Manila Times.

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