The Film Development Council of the Philippines honored one of the matriarchs of the Philippine film industry – Maria Azucena Vera-Perez Maceda or widely known as “Manay Ichu” through its event A Spotlight on Mothers of Philippine Cinema held last June 9, 2018 at the Cinematheque Centre Manila.
Manay Ichu literally grew up in the industry, having hailed from the family who owned Sampaguita Pictures, one of the biggest film productions in the Philippines from the ‘30s to the ‘70s. Sampaguita Pictures Produced the most beloved classics and generated thousands of jobs for Filipino filmmakers and talents throughout its existence.
Manay herself became a producer of popular and highly acclaimed films like Dyesebel and Batch ’81. Her passion and love for the industry did not stop in producing films. With her Sampaguita roots, she helped found and enhance film related agencies, proving that you can be an important part of the film industry even if you are not involved in making a film.
She helped found the Movie Workers Welfare Foundation (MOWELFUND), The Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), the Philippine Motion Pictures Producers Association, the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) where she headed the International Film Festival Committee (IFFCOM).
“Truly, Manay Ichu is an exceptional force in the film industry. She has helped found the current pillars of Philippine Cinema has has made steadfast strides for its further development. We are more than honored to recognize her for her life’s work,” said FDCP Chairperson Liza Diño.
In her speech, Manay Ichu mentioned the lessons she has learned in the industry. “Remember that aside from being an art form, this is basically a business, so you have to at least break even so you can recover your investment and produce the second film. Para que pa kayo magpoproduce ng bagong pelikula (kung) kayo lang ang nakakaintindi, wala namang manonood? Hindi na kayo makakagawa ng pangalawang pelikula, tandaan nyo yan. Never make a film solely to satisfy yourself. Make your film for a wide audience,” she said.
She also shared that one must love the industry without expecting any in return. “Love your craft and love the industry. Don’t expect anything back aside from your investment of course. Huwag mong asahang ibalik kaagad sa’yo ang ipinakita mong pagmamahal sapagkat balang araw babalik yan sa inyo tulad ng tinatamasa ko ngayon,” Manay furthered.
The celebration was attended by special guests who are close to Manay Ichu’s heart such as Ms. Gina Alajar, Ms. Nova Villa, Ms. Gloria Romero, Ms. JoAnn Bañaga of TV5 and Regal Producer, Mother Lily Monteverde. Everyone gave a special message for Manay Ichu including two of her sons, Atty. Ernest Maceda and Mr. Erwin Maceda who were present together with their respective families . She was awarded with a plaque of honor by Chairperson Diño with well wishes on her future endeavors.