Award-winning filmmaker Joel Lamangan, who gave the industry such movies as The Flor Contemplacion Story (Best Picture winner and Best Actress for Nora Aunor at the Cairo International Film Festival), Pangako Ng Kahapon, and Felix Manalo, among others is celebrating his 25th year as director this year.
The younger generation may not know that Lamangan was a theater actor before took the director’s chair. His experience in cinema was as crowd director and assistant to Ishmael Bernal in Himala, where he multi-tasked as casting director.
“I have many experiences I can share as a director in the Filipino film industry, which is incomparable anywhere else,” said Direk Joel at the press conference of his latest movie Siphayo under BG Productions International starring Luis Alandy, Joem Bascon, Alan Paule and Nathalie Hart.
Written by Eric Ramos, this sex-drama opens in cinemas on October 5.
How does it feel to celebrate his directorial silver anniversary?
“I feel happy,” he said of reaching this milestone. “I have done more than 80 movies. I consider that as an accomplishment. In my career, I have experienced everything—I’ve had blockbusters, award-winners and flops. Every movie that I did has been a different experience until now,” he continued.
“I don’t have any regrets. Doing a movie is enjoyable but taxing. But ever since I was young, I’ve been dreaming of becoming a director. I thought I’d be a director in theater but I never imagined I’d end up in the movies.”
Lamangan’s directorial debut was the 1991 Metro Manila Film Festival entry Darna, which starred Nanette Medved.
Even if he’s already 62, his passion for doing movies has never diminished. He wants to continue to film but notes that among his contemporaries, he is the only one who is still very active.
“Doing a film for me is like an energizer. It makes my adrenalin rush. I don’t feel [the rush]if I am not directing a film. I get queasy when I don’t have any projects,” the bankable filmmaker related.
He said he has yet to do his passion project—one on Martial Law from the point of view of an activist. He also wants to do a story of his childhood days. Brought up by his grandparents, Direk Joel said it must have been his grandmother’s influence that made him dream of becoming a director.
Lamangan describes his movies today as “maindies”—a combination of mainstream and indie – but will continue to do mainstream movies all the same, as these are the projects that put food on the table.
“I love mainstream movies. I have done several indie films as well. But I believe that my film projects are a combination of mainstream ideas and indie sensibilities that’s why I call it maindie,” he explained.
“I don’t want to do a film that is extremely indie that the local audience won’t be able to appreciate. For me, the local audience is very important. I don’t do movies for the international market or for festivals alone. I do movies for the Filipino audience here at home. I want them to watch my movies. It is gratifying to hear people say they love watching my movies in cinemas. Very heartening.”