My childhood years belong to an era where watching Filipino movies in the movie houses are something to look forward to. I can still remember how my Father and I would watch local movies at the then-famous Agrix movie house here in Los Banos (the site where Anthony Genuino’s Los Banos Centro Mall is being built). No torrents. No downloads. No pirated dibidis. And if one missed the movies on the theaters, there is always our suking VHS rental houses to the rescue. (Man, I can still remember how to clean the VHS head with a clean bond paper. Ah, the little wonders of those days.)
The movie industry of the nineties is rich with Carlo J. Caparas’ insert-the-name-of-the-place-and-add-the-word-massacre movies, comedy films by Viva Films (Kuwadro De Jack and Pusoy Dos will always be my favorite), the last glorious days of Pinoy action movies, titillating flicks by Seiko Films (oh yeah!), and the thriller/haunted/shocker movies by Regal Films.
Let me focus on the last one – Regal Films. The movie outlet who taught us that haunted refrigerators and toilet bowls (Undin!) do exist; who coined the term “Anak ni Janice” which is synonymous to tiyanak (I wonder how Janice De Belen’s children from John Estrada and Aga Muhlach would react to this.); and who gave us a lesson on Aswang survival (Thank you Manilyn Reynes and Ana Roces).
Regal Films played an important role in shaping the contemporary Philippine cinema, thanks to the efforts of Mother Lily Monteverde. But in my opinion, there is another two-word term synonymous to Regal Films’ success aside from Mother Lily andhorror movies.
If there is one person who scared me when I was as a child aside from the creepy kid on the TV commercial of pediafortan and Mr. Shooli (Jun Urbano), that would be the most famous extra of Filipino movies – Lilia Cuntapay. Her long white hair, her toothless scare face, and the way she stares at her victims was enough for me to run to my parents in tears. Or hide under my pillow.
And of course, aside from her roles as white lady, aswang, and mangkukulam in the movies, there is always her appearance on the Halloween specials ofMagandang Gabi Bayan. I can still remember her creepy face as a white lady on theCeres bus haunted stories (where the camera caught a real image of a white lady on a highway somewhere up north).
Lilia Cuntapay. The country’s most famous extra. Even if you are not really into Filipino movies, I know that her face is familiar to you (though I bet that not all of you know her real name, like my favorite Professor in College.). And it is but proper for the movie industry to recognize her talent by making a movie starring her on her very first lead role.
A few weeks ago, the trailer of her movie 6 Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay spread on the internet. The movie tells the story of “dakilang extra” Lilia Cuntapay through the days leading up to a fictionalized awards night where she is nominated as a Best Supporting Actress for the very first time. The movie is one of the entries of this year’s Cinema One Originals.
Last night, November 13, the awarding ceremony for the said movie festival was held at the RCBC Theater. And the movie bagged six (6) awards including Best Actress for Lilia Cuntapay (other awards are Special Jury Prize, Best Supporting Actress for Geraldine Villamil, Best Screenplay, Best Editing, and Audience Choice Awards).
At last, Lilia’s talent is now being recognized by the industry. I hope this is not the last movie with Lilia Cuntapay. Today’s generation still need to know more of this brilliant, talented, and famous extra. I also hope that this movie be released commercially or if not, be more available for more viewers and movie goers to see.
It’s time for this industry to recognize talented extras (and sidekicks). Who knows?We might see Mang Andres (AKA Bangkay) and Bubble Gang’s Diego Lorico and Myka Flores on their first-ever movie in a starring role in the near future.
The Philippine movie industry needs more talented and creative minds to resurrect.And with the recent emergence of quality independent and mainstream movies, we may be slowly achieving that goal.
And I am sure that Lilia Cuntapay played her part on this movement.
Mabuhay si Lilia Cuntapay!
- Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay Facebook Page
- Lilia Cuntapay Facebook Page (More Lilia Cunatapay-turned-classic-portraits photos)
- Capsule reviews for Six Degrees of Separation from Lilia Cuntapay
- Cinema One Originals Awards 2011 list of winners