BY JOEL C. LAMANGAN
Finalist, Directors Showcase
2010 Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition
“Sigwa,” meaning “storm,” spans 40 years of Philippine social unrest.
Our story is initially told by Fil-Am Dolly, a junior correspondent of a US magazine, who was sent to the Philippines in 1970 to do a story on student activism in Manila. Today, she has returned after being arrested and deported in 1975, on the third year of martial law. Her mission is personal this time: to look for her daughter, who was supposed to have died 35 years ago, but who, she has been told, is alive.
The film, being a composite of the stories of Dolly and each one of her former activist collective, is revealed fragment by fragment, as she surprises them by her unannounced presence.
JOEL COBARRUBIAS LAMANGAN has directed 57 feature films and a big number of stage plays and television presentations. He received his theater training at the Central Institute of Theater Arts in Southeast Asia, the Brechtian Theater in Germany and the Theater of the Oppresses in Havana, Cuba aside from the long stint with the Philippine Educational Theater Association. He graduated at the Lyceum of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and at the University of the Philippines with major concentration on Philippine Studies.
He acted and directed on stage and in television while training for film at Communications Foundation for Asia and at the Sydney Film and TV School in Australia. He started in the movies as a bit player for acclaimed directors Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal and eventually moved on to more challenging featured roles.
Joel sprang from a wholly artistic milieu. He would later distinguish himself at the box office as a director making glossy melodramas. His films echoed images of Hollywood at its glamorous best where the women were beautiful, the men dashing and settings picturesque while an orchestra performed the theme song in the background. But while the formula proved most successful for somebody eager to make a name like Joel, his heart was longing for something else. He wanted to make the films that delved in social ills and into the inadequacies of the government or to be able to present radical solutions that will change the world.
Joel currently holds the position of President for the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Pelikulang Pilipino (NMPP), an organization that provides humanitarian assistance to the movie workers in the Philippine Industry. He is also one of the Board Directors for the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines.
Joel has been given due recognition time and again in his chosen field. One of his most valued accomplishments was to receive the Decade Award as Best Director for Gawad Urian Awards and PMPC.