• Veronica Pulumbarit

Cinemalaya 2020 film fest spotlights screenwriter Ricky Lee

The annual film festival Cinemalaya puts the spotlight this year on renowned screenwriter Ricky Lee with virtual events that include a grand virtual reunion of his workshoppers.


Cinemalaya is traditionally held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay City but is going online this year from August 7 to 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the highlights of the festival are three virtual events featuring Lee:

August 8: Ricky Lee 4D: Celebrating Four Decades of Communal Storytelling

August 9: Mga Tao at Mga Tauhan: A Masterclass on Storytelling by Ricky Lee

August 15: Mga Tao at Mga Tauhan: A Masterclass on Storytelling by Ricky Lee

The reunion, dubbed "Ricky Lee 4D: Celebrating Four Decades of Communal Storytelling," will be hosted by film and TV director Paolo Villaluna and comedian John "Sweet" Lapus.

The panelists include TV executive Richard Reynante; book publisher Jun Matias; director Michael Tuviera; producer Bianca Balbuena, as well as actresses Meryll Soriano and Cherie Gil, among others.

Lee has been giving free screenwriting workshops from his home in Quezon City since 1982.


On August 9 and 15, Cinemalaya will be hosting two of Lee's storytelling masterclasses dubbed "Mga Tao at Tauhan."

The masterclasses will feature Lee's 11 steps in creating stories and how to write during the COVID-19 pandemic.



Ricky Lee: Journalist, novelist, screenwriter


Lee was born Ricardo Lee in Daet, Camarines Norte on March 19, 1948 and took up A.B. English at the University of the Philippines.


According to his profile on the UP Film Institute website, Lee was one of the 100 recipients of the distinguished Centennial Award of the Cultural Center of the Philippines in 1999. The award honors the 100 most outstanding Filipinos in the past 100 years.


Lee has written over 180 screenplays and received more than 80 awards for his works.


He also produced books such as "Trip to Quiapo," a scriptwriting manual; "Si Tatang at mga Himala ng Ating Panahon," an anthology of his works, among others.

Lee is also the Creative Manager behind ABS CBN's acclaimed TV dramas such as "Maging Sino Ka Man," "Mangarap Ka," and "Magkaribal."


Last July, on the day Congress voted against the granting of a franchise to media giant ABS CBN, Lee posted this message on Facebook: "Sa araw na ito ng pagbababa ng desisyon ng Kongreso tungkol sa usapin ng franchise ng ABS-CBN, gusto kong ipahayag ang aking paghanga at papuri sa lahat ng mga artista at celebrities ng kompanya na walang takot na nagpakita ng kanilang suporta para sa kanilang home company. Marami sa kanila ay nakatrabaho ko sa mga pelikula at TV shows ko at naging mga kaibigan ko na rin. Sa gitna ng napakarami nating problemang pinagdadaanan sa mga panahong itong napakadilim, they make me feel really proud."


Author's Note: The author, Veronica Pulumbarit, was fortunate to have participated in three Ricky Lee screenwriting workshops at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City in 2019.


Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge with us, Mr. Lee. You are an immense blessing from God, to the country, and the Filipino people.

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