Talent manager Ferdy Lapuz was in a dilemma when he received comments from FB about his talent, actor Soliman Cruz, not wearing proper attire while walking the red carpet at the 79th International Film Festival of Venice which recently ended.
It turned out that the actor’s luggage (complete with tuxedo, brand new barong and shoes) hadn’t arrived in Venice in time for the actor’s red carpet. He was forced to buy a simple white long sleeve from a nearby department store.
“Nawala po ang luggage ni Soliman kaya hindi siya nakapag barong,” Lapuz posted on FB to assuage FB critics.
Cruz was one of the main actors in the Romanian film To the North, competing in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival. He just won the Best Supporting Actor trophy at the recently concluded Cinemalaya Film Festival for the movie Blue Room.
He’s just one of many actors in Ferdy Lapuz’s stable of talents.
Lapuz’s showbiz career began in the late 80s with his stint as an intern for Viva Television. “I was on Let’s Have Dina on IBC 13 with Dina Bonnevie directed by Al Quinn. Then I became an associate producer for Regal TV.
He has managed several projects including Regal Shockers, Mother Studio Presents and Maricel Regal Drama Special. “It was just for a few months because I went back to school. Eventually I emigrated to Canada.
At the time, he was directly involved in certain cinematographic projects in the conceptualization, the casting and then worked on the participation of films in international film festivals.
In total, he spent 15 years as a producer and 11 years as a talent manager. Early on, he also helped Filipino films on the festival circuit including Sibak (1994) at the Toronto International Film Festival. “I found my own way of finding relationships in the business and became friends with directors Mel Chionglo, Joel Lamangan, Chito Rono and the Siguion Reynas (Tita Midz, Carlitos and Bibeth).”
Some of the films he helped find film festival connections were Babae Sa Breakwater by Mario O’Hara which entered the 1994 Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes and Magnifico by Maryo delos Reyes which was the first film to compete at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. It won the Crystal Bear and the Golden Prix Award at the Berlinale’s Kinderfest.
Another film he helped find at film festivals is Auraeus Solito’s Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, which won in Montreal and again in Berlin.
The highlight of his life as a producer was in 2008 when the film Serbis by Brillante Mendoza took part in the Cannes film festival. “It was the first Filipino film to compete since Lino Brocka’s Kapit sa Patalim in 1984. In 1989 Mendoza won Best Director at Cannes for Kinatay and our other film, Lola, competed again in Venice.”
Another talent under his wing is actress Dolly de Leon who won critical acclaim at Cannes for her appearance in Ruben Ostlund’s film Triangle of Sadness. Other talents include Carlos Dala, Topper Fabregas, Bombi Plata. teen actors Ynigo Delen and CX Navarro and upcoming actors Jericho Arceo, Yian Gabriel, Dincent Lucero, Luri Naluz. “I co-manage Therese Malvar with GMA Sparkle,” he said.
From his experience, anyone considering talent management should love Filipino movies and television and should be aware of the whereabouts of showbiz personalities. “Sometimes I discover talent just by watching movies and TV. That’s how I discovered actress Sue Prado now run by IdeaFirst Company where I worked as a producer for their films.
At one point in his showbiz life, he shuttled between Manila and Canada where he remained from 1990 to 2015. In 1997, he worked at ABC5’s talent center under June Torrejon-Rufino. “I managed the late Caloy Ogag Alde and Mickey Ferriols at the time.”
While working in the purchasing department of an import company in Canada, he found time to entertain Filipino delegates attending the Toronto International Film Festival. “In September, I would take my vacation and entertain the Filipino delegates from directors, actors to key personnel from the films. I would arrange airport pickup and drop-off, plan dinners at Filipino restaurants, and sometimes even a trip to Niagara Falls. I had a friend who called me Bona (from the Lino Brocka film of the same title) because of what I was doing. I’ve never been ashamed of being called Bona (la alalay) because I love what I do.
He has known important stages in showbiz but these have not changed his life.
Unlike some high-level managers, he leads a simple life in Angeles City surrounded by plants and caring for his mother. “I’m pretty much grounded. I live in Angeles City and have had the same circle of friends for over 30 years. The only big difference is that I have easy access to movie celebrities. among them, actors, directors, writers, editors, production designers, among others. I remember standing in line at the Metropolitan Theater to see Vilma (Santos).
By chance, he had the chance to work with Santos (Vilma) in Jeffrey Jeturian’s film, Ekstra. I was amazed when I saw Ricky Lee, Charlie Arceo, Rody Lacap, Manet Dayrit, the late Tatus Aldana, Edgar Martin Littaua and Malou Santos in Toronto.
He became a plantito during the pandemic and spent a fortune spreading them. “What I learned during the long lockdown was to learn how to save money and stay healthy. Money can’t buy good health.
Fulfillment watches his talents being recognized as the latest shower of praise for his talents Soliman Cruz and Dolly de Leon, among others.
“I am a movie fan. I enjoy every moment of my work in showbiz. I like to be surrounded by actors, staff and crew because we share the same passion. I can also travel during filming. I also have the opportunity to travel outside the country when we attend international film festivals.
So far, he has participated in some 90 international film festivals during his showbiz career.
It’s a pretty good life for someone who worked as a student at Dunkin Donuts to finish his business administration course at Holy Angel University in Angeles City.
He can’t pick a favorite movie he helped produce over the others. “I’m proud of all the films I’ve produced. It’s not a perfect filmography but each film has a connection with my life. I would like to mention Cris Pablo’s 2005 film, Bathouse. It was the first time I saw my name recognized as a producer on the big screen.