• Filmmaker’s independence crucial – Ang Lee

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     Ang Lee: A freedom to express himself. PHOTO BY ALEXIS CORPUS

    Ang Lee: A freedom to express himself. PHOTO BY ALEXIS CORPUS

    Celebrated director Ang Lee cherishes his independence as a filmmaker.

    “I want to have my independence. To me, independent doesn’t mean cheap. I’ve done the cheapest movies, I’ve done the most expensive movies. I would like to have that freedom to express myself,” Lee said.

    The two-time Oscar winner is in Manila for “A Salute to Ang Lee,” a two-day tribute organized by the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in the Philippines.

    On Thursday night, Lee attended the special screening of Life of Pi, the
    film that gave him his second Oscar for best director in 2012.

    He disclosed plans to make a movie in the Philippines.

    He did not mention the film he plans to do in the Philippines, but a report in theguardian.com mentioned that Lee is working on the script of a film about the epic rivalry between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

    At the open forum after the screening of Life of Pi, the director said he feels a closeness with the Philippines, having grown up from a “neighboring country.”

    He was born on October 23, 1954 at Taipei, Taiwan. His family are migrants from mainland China who moved to Taiwan and later the United States.

    “They say where I shot [a part of]Pi [at white sands beach of southern Kenting], at the top of the hill on a clear day, you can see the northern islands of the Philippines. The movie [also]mentioned Manila twice but I’ve never been here,” he continued. “It is my first time here and I am very excited.”

    Gentle-mannered and soft-spoken, Lee said he is “really looking forward to be friends with you and wish we have more communication.”

    A film director, producer and screenwriter, Lee’s body of works span two decades that earned him countless recognition. The most significant remain the Oscar’s Best Direction awards for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi.

    “I cannot help but be proud whenever I heard about Ang Lee as a filmmaker excel not only in Taiwan but also conquered the international community. From helping shape Taiwan film industry, director Ang Lee conquers Hollywood and creates movies of critical acclaim,” Ambassador Raymond Wang, the TECO chief, said in his speech.

    Lee’s visit is a banner event for the Philippine movie industry. “This is a privilege for all filmmakers in the Philippines. I have to know his secrets, in terms of CGI, time frame and budget. I got so many questions,” director and actor Cesar Montano, who looks up to Lee as his “personal hero,” told The Manila Times.

    Also in attendance were award-winning directors Tikoy Aguiluz and Brillante Mendoza. The two led in the awarding of the Lino Brocka award to Lee.

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