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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Walang tulugan for German "Kuya Germs" Moreno

Entertainment section

Walang tulugan for German "Kuya Germs" Moreno
by Maria Eleanor Elape Valeros

There's no dozing off for Master Showman German "Kuya Germs" Moreno as he moves on with his dreams of revitalizing the bankability of local filmmaking, after romping away with a Lifetime Achievement Award recently from the Aliw Awards, proof of his being an institution in the local entertainment industry.

Last Saturday evening (ermmm...Sunday dawn actually!), Kuya Germs brought up again the issues on the backbreaking taxes imposed upon celebrities that primarily induces the slowdown of moviemaking, which eventually led to the slump.

Done in the usual Q&A format, showbiz writers Emy Abuan and Veronica Samio sought the ken of the former president of the Kapisanan ng mga Artista ng Pelikulang Pilipino on how could the dying movie industry be resuscitated to its ritz and glitz.

With 52% of the industry's gains remitted to national coffers, the industry is left with 48% that is divided among producers and cinema/moviehouse/theater operators, says Kuya Germs, mentioning of other factors considered as forms of attack on the local entertainment industry such as the influx of foreign films that now goes beyond Hollywood-produced. Korean movies have gained a strong following among a younger crowd and have become an additional glowing threat to Pinoy films.

Then he counted in the producers themselves who have chosen to go on hibernation from making over a hundred films last year to a little over 50 as of latest count. He lamented that some active producers back then lately only make movies whenever there is a film festival. Above all factors is the blatant illegal reproduction of videos or piracy that sends movie industry haplessly on all fours.

The issue on excessive taxation and the need for a legislative action was already discussed in a consultative meeting of the Film Development Council of the Philippines headed by director Laurice Guillen last year where film leaders gathered to discuss on approaches to reviving the ailing domestic film industry, Kuya Germs cited this.

But the continued social and political unrest in the country has put off follow-up discussions as issues that should not have been priorities were the ones attended to by legislators, even by those in position who had had a stint with the entertainment industry, he chuckled at this.

However, Kuya Germs obviously shied away from the question on why he had to leave the KAPP post, only saying that aside from the requests of former KAPP president Rudy Fernandez and the proddings of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. to hold on to the post, he long felt the need to pass on the torch which is appropriate after a term of six years to give way for others who might have the potential of moving the industry now in a slump back in kinesis.

With his evasion from talking straight from the shoulders on why he gave up the post allowed the circulation of rumors that he himself is convinced the industry players themselves are the ones who pushed wrong buttons that led to the eventual bogdown of a once money-making mill.

Well, Kuya Germs is already Kuya Germs and everybody who knew what he went through to become a pillar of the industry have already saved the respect for his views that even when he wasn't able to expound on some important points, he will always be listened to, his ken sought after.

I think Kuya Germs failed to mention that the producers themselves are the ones so tied up with old movie formulae (gasgas na ang tema!) and that the entertainment industry also failed to serioulsy take independent filmmaking. Also, giant networks are culprits for putting into free television productions as costly as those done in the movies with high-paid stars back then.

Let me cite an essay by director Marilou Diaz Abaya to best speak for my idea on why showbizness has reached this miserable state it has right now. It has been reiterated that reforms should be adopted in the Philippine movie industry, reforms that would earn and deserve the privilege of self-regulation; reforms that would direct at making better and varied genres of movies; and reforms that would share space with the viewing public in order that they, too, may empower themselves and exercise their right to uphold their faiths, their convictions, and their sensibilities.

Meanwhile, apart from being recognized for his achievement as an entertainer that could best be represented by his collection of payaso (clowns), Kuya Germs beamed with pride to stay on top spot as most-watched program via GMA Pinoy TV, a 24-hour international channel designed for all Filipinos overseas.

Walang tulugan (the yell he is known for) is a popular call to keep awake so as to focus on the mission of the entertainment industry which so names it. Kuya Germs won't doze off, he says, until he comes up with the first 10 of the Walk of Fame, patterned after that in Hollywood. He called on Mayor Sonny Belmonte for support to have this realized in Quezon City, being "City of Stars".(/30)