Home » Entertainment » Acclaimed PH director Gil Portes passes away

Acclaimed PH director Gil Portes passes away

26gil portes copy

Multi-awarded Filipino director Gil Portes, known for his films “Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Pule” and “Mga Munting Tinig,” passed away last Wednesday. He was 71.

Reports said that Portes was taken to the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City where he was pronounced dead on arrival. It did not say the cause of his death.

Portes left behind his wife Telly and sons Justin and Carlo who are all based in the US. They are expected to arrive in Manila soon for the funeral arrangements.

Details of the interment would be announced soon.

The last two movies which Portes directed were “Hermano Pule” (2016) and “Moonlight Over Baler” (2017).

Portes graduated with a Journalism degree at University of Santo Tomas but his first job was in advertising. At 23, he joined ABS-CBN as a production assistant.

Later on, he received a scholarship grant at the City University of New York, where he studied television and film production.

In 1976, Portes made his directorial debut with the film “Tiket Mama! Tiket Ale! Sa Linggo ang Bola.”

Birthday wish
Portes turned 71 on Sept. 13, 2016. That was his last birthday celebration with the members of the entertainment press who attended the media conference for his second to the last film “Hermano Pule” held at 77 Limbaga Restaurant in Timog, Quezon City.

Members of the entertainment press then sang him the birthday song as he was presented with a birthday cake with candles.

“My only wish on my birthday is that ‘Hermano Puli’ will be successful,” said Portes then. “ ‘Ang Hapis at Himagsik ni Hermano Puli’ is one of the projects in my bucket list. I am happy to have it completed. What makes me happier now is the positive reaction and enthusiastic interest in the movie.”

Portes is only one of two Filipino directors who have sent three Filipino entries to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film Category. He tied for the most number by a Filipino director with the late Marilou Diaz-Abaya.

In 1999, Portes sent “Saranggola” as the Philippine entry to the Oscars, followed by “Gatas” in 2001 and “Mga Munting Tinig” in 2002.

So far, the Philippines has yet to win or even score a nomination in the foreign language category.

Of his three-Oscar entries, Portes said that the Alessandra de Rossi-starrer “Tinig” was the most successful because it was ranked No. 7. Only the Top 5 films are considered official nominees.

“Ang dapat maintindihan ng viewers, ang judges ng Oscar ay different sa mga judges ng Berlin or Venice film festival.

Sa US, they go for films with so much hope. ‘Munting Tinig’ is very hopeful. ‘Hermano Puli’ is full of hope. Basta ako I leave it to fate. I leave everything to God,” Portes added.

“Yung tinalo nilang Best Picture sa Egypt Film Festival, ’yun ang nanalong Best Picture sa Oscar.”

“Nung sumali ang ‘Mga Munting Tinig,’ yung Best Picture during our time, nag-tie kami sa audience award sa Palm Spring Film Festival, ’yung ‘Nowhere In Africa.’ It’s a German film, nag-tie kami;

“Kung meron lang kaming pera to promote the film, siguro we can enter the Magic 5. Pagnaka-pasok ka na sa Magic 5 (sa Oscars), you have a very strong chance to win,” Portes added.

The acclaimed director said that a big budget is needed to campaign for a movie for some 5,000 members of the Academy.

“Kami sa ‘Mga Munting Tinig’ noon, we had only $30,000 dollars. Hindi kasya yun! You need a promotion na lalabas sa Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and three other journals. Then you are given two free screenings ng Oscar. Kailangan mag-rent ka pa ng theaters at magdagdag ka ng screenings;

“Pero ang pinakamahal is you have to produce DVDs na ipapadala mo sa mga members ng Academy na boboto, kaya mahal ’yun, Around 400 lang ang boboto sa Best Foreign Language film but there are 5,000 members of the Academy or more.

Hindi mo kasi alam ’yung 400 na ’yun, so you have to hit all the members of the Academy,” Portes said.

Dream cast
With successful movies in tow, Portes then revealed his dream cast for future films.

“I want to work with John Lloyd Cruz. I like him. Maybe Piolo Pascual or Sharon Cuneta. I still want to work again with Nora Aunor or Vilma Santos,” he said.

“With John Lloyd, puro usap-usap pa lang kami. Nothing has been formalized. But I already have a wonderful material for John Lloyd kung matutuloy,” Portes said.

“Ang maganda kay John Lloyd and Piolo very daring na sila ngayon, hindi na pwede ang pa-tweetums.They are not getting any younger. So let’s do more mature roles for them,” he added.