Home Top News Screenwriter, director Armando ‘Bing’ Lao, 75

Screenwriter, director Armando ‘Bing’ Lao, 75

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SCREENWRITER, director, and film lecturer Armando “Bing” Lao died on Tuesday, June 18 at the age of 75. The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) confirmed his passing via social media.

“Today, we mourn the passing of the award-winning screenwriter and director, Armando ‘Bing’ Lao,” CCP’s Film, Broadcast and New Media Division said in a post. Though no details were given, his passing at the Philippine Heart Center was described as “peaceful.”

“He pioneered the Found Story school of filmmaking, a scriptwriting approach that he believed best captures the essence of Filipino reality by drawing inspiration from real-life objects and phenomena,” the CCP continued.

Mr. Lao mentored over 40 workshop batches in his Found Story school, guiding storytellers to create films that resonate with audiences. Many of his own screenplays garnered awards, like Itanong Mo sa Buwan, directed by Chito Roño, which won the Gawad Urian Best Screenplay award in 1989, and Tuhog, directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, which took the Gawad Urian Best Screenplay award in 2001, among others.

He also received international attention, writing the screenplays of Brillante Mendoza’s films Serbis (2008) and Kinatay (2009), which made waves at the Cannes Film Festival.

Filipino movies where he served as creative consultant include Masahista (2005), Thy Womb (2012),  Taklub (2015), Pamilya Ordinaryo (2016), Ma’Rosa (2016), and John Denver Trending (2019).

Mr. Lao also directed his own films: Biyaheng Lupa (2009), Ad Ignorantiam (2012), and Dukit (2013). The CCP said that “his depiction of Filipino culture and experiences has helped promote the nation’s heritage through film, serving as a cultural archive for future generations.”

In honor of his legacy, the Film Development Council of the Philippines conferred on him a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Parangal ng Sining. Despite being partially paralyzed from a stroke in 2022, he accepted the award in person.

Actor Coco Martin, who starred in many of Brillante Mendoza’s films, credited Mr. Lao’s guidance in shaping his career.

“Hinding hindi ko makakalimutan ang lahat ng aral at gabay na ibinahagi mo sa akin. Isa pong malaking karangalan na makilala ka at maging bahagi ng iyong mga dekalibreng obra (I will never forget all the lessons and teachings you shared with me. It is a great honor to have been a part of your masterful works),” Mr. Martin said in a Facebook post.

The University of the Philippines Film Institute, where Mr. Lao had taught as a lecturer, posted their own tribute.

“His contributions to Philippine cinema, especially as one of the pillars of the Philippine New Wave, are immeasurable. Bing’s dedication to nurturing young talent and pushing creative boundaries has left an indelible mark on our institution and the wider film industry,” the school said.

Mr. Lao’s wake is ongoing at the Arlington Memorial Chapels, Araneta Ave., Quezon City. Cremation will take place on June 22 at 8 a.m. — Brontë H. Lacsamana

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