Acclaimed screenwriter and National Artist Ricky Lee has recently launched two books of his most outstanding screenplays coinciding this year's Cinemalaya Film Festival. Ricky launched the books at the Cultural Center of the Philippines which is the on-site venue for the Cinemalaya film screenings.
The first book titled "Mga Screenplay ni Ricky Lee Volume 1: Brutal, Moral, Karnal" were screenplays directed by the late National Artist Marilou-Abaya.
Meanwhile, the second one titled "Mga Screenplay ni Ricky Lee Volume 2: Himala, Cain at Abel, Salome" were screenplays directed by the late National Artist Ishmael Bernal (Himala), National Artist Lino Brocka (Cain at Abel), and Laurice Guillen (Salome).
Ricky admitted that it was tough compiling his numerous scripts into books.
"Mahirap actually, ilang shuffling 'yun. Meron akong shortlist kasi nasa 200-plus ang produced scripts ko. May kulang-kulang na 100 scripts ang gusto ko lumabas," he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
He shared that his friends helped him in grouping and trimming the scripts to turn them into a two-volume book.
"Kay Marilou (Diaz Abaya), madali ang theme, definite agad, dahil tungkol sa kababaihan, then noong natapos na, naisip ko, dapat may Lino (Brocka), then dapat 'yung ‘Himala,’ kaya na-decide [to publish] ‘yung second volume. Pero ang hirap, magulo ako. As I said I go all over the place, ang pelikula ko paiba-iba, mahirap ang grouping,” he relayed.
The Filipino screenwriter also shared that he is thinking of producing a third volume that would feature screenplays directed by the late Mel Chionglo.
He said: "Another volume would have my collaborations with other writers like Anak with Moira Lee and those with Jun Lana. Ang dami, then if there’s a fifth volume, they could be the OFW stories like Flor Contemplacion, Bukas May Pangarap."
Ricky was also happy to be back at the theaters for this year's Cinemalaya. The screenwriter admitted that he missed watching movies in the theaters for the past years.
"Na-miss ko ‘yung feeling nanonood ako sa loob ng sinehan. Wala akong control sa pinapanood ko sa big screen. Unlike sa bahay, napo-pause ko siya. Tigil ko muna, iihi muna ako, mamaya na lang. Or minsan till the next day. Hindi ako masyadong enjoy kung napo-pause ko siya, nako-control ko. Kulang na lang in-edit ko (mga scenes)," he confessed.
He continued: "Pero 'yung nasa loob ako ng sinehan sa Cinemalaya, sa dilim ng moviehouse and I’m totally powerless sa harap ng screen, hahayaan mong higupin sa kwento niya (film). Siya ang may complete power, absolute control over me. I love that feeling, kunin mo (film) na ako totally."
Ricky was named National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts back in June.
In an interview with CNN Philippines in June, Ricky remarked that the title does not only put the spotlight on him but also to all the Filipino screenwriters.
"In a way it calls attention doon sa mga nagawa kong trabaho before. Hindi lang naman siya nagko-call ng attention sa akin kung hindi sa writer behind those films so iyon 'yung iniisip ko ngayon, hindi lang ako ito, lahat ng writers. Kaya nung nalaman kong paparangalan ako as National Artist ang gusto kong gawin agad ay puntahan lahat na scriptwriters na kakilala ko at kaibigan at sabihin sa kanilang atin ito, para sa atin ito," he stated.