BAYANI SAN DIEGO WRITES : IN SPITE of Doy del Mundo’s fame as the scriptwriter of “Maynila sa Mga Kuko ng Liwanag,” “Batch 81,” “‘Merika,” “Bayaning Third World,” among others, no mainstream producer wanted to touch his second film as director, “Paglipad ng Anghel.”

Del Mundo recounts: “I submitted the screenplay to a major studio. I don’t think it even made first base, I guess because it’s not a genre movie and could be expensive because of the required special effects.”

But as an indie filmmaker, he has learned that persistence pays off: “If you believe in your work, you should make things happen.”

Unlikely producer

His debut film, “Pepot Artista,” won best picture in the first Cinemalaya. Five years after later, “Anghel” takes flight, with a little help from friends. The unlikely producer: De La Salle University, where Del Mundo is a fellow. “They gave me a free hand as long as I kept to the P2-million budget,” he says, describing La Salle’s involvement as “manna from heaven.”

Soon after, “Dake Hukom of PostManila graciously offered the equipment and expertise of his post-production group.”

It was an “ambitious” project, Del Mundo admits, and wouldn’t have been possible “without the help of friends” — particularly the cinematographers, production designer, editor, music and sound experts, and actors Ricky Davao and Cherry Pie Picache.

He learned the fine art of “making pakiusap (pleading),” he says. Some of the actors are his former students and most of them (Sid Lucero, Joel Torre, LJ Moreno, Epy Quizon, Christian Vasquez, Stephanie Henares) are La Salle graduates. He also got some famous La Sallians — broadcaster Mike Enriquez, actress Bianca King and directors Jose Javier Reyes and Trina Dayrit — to do cameos. After all, the film is part of One La Salle Scholarship Fund project, the school’s centennial campaign to raise P1 billion for 18,000 full scholars.

About goodness

Fittingly, the film explores goodness, Del Mundo says, as inspired by a real-life incident related by the late journalist Manny Pichel — people helping a dying beggar. “Sid’s character helps a poor lola (Anita Linda) and grows a pair of wings. He is a good person who doesn’t like showing off.” Unfortunately, a reporter gets wind of the winged man. And here the script makes a strident critique of media.

“Much of local free TV programming is predicated on entertainment,” Del Mundo notes. “Show biz events have become news, along with the RH bill and fish kill. This did not happen overnight. Network decision-makers cultivated the hunger for this kind of entertainment. The media have developed viewers as consumers for sensational stories, dirty dancing, manufactured reality programs.”

Graded A by the Cinema Evaluation Board, “Anghel” premieres at the SM Mall of Asia Cinema 6 on Sunday, June 12, as part of La Salle’s centennial celebrations.

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