MANILA -- Bea Alonzo is the latest film and TV star to sign up for the scriptwriting workshop of multi-awarded storyteller and mentor Ricky Lee.
"Welcome to my home, heart, life -- Batch 22 Film Scriptwriting Workshoppers," Lee wrote in one of his official social media accounts on Monday morning, accompanying a photo of the recent batch.
The workshop started on Sunday, July 7, at the library in his home in a village in Quezon City and will continue in the next 12 Sundays.
Lee told this writer in an online interview on Monday afternoon about Alonzo's inclusion in the recent batch.
"Kinausap muna ako nung handler niya. Then we met for lunch with her handler. Nag-pitch siya sa sa akin ng storyline niya. I was impressed. May malinaw siyang grasp of characterization and had a fine sense of details. So she became a part of the workshop," Lee said.
Lee welcomed Alonzo and her batchmates that include fellow actors, some award-winning filmmakers, screenwriters and a few members of the media.
This latest batch also includes (in alphabetical order) actor Nestor Abrogena, director Shaira Advincula, director Jay Altarejos, film producer Bianca Balbuena, Ryllah Berico, Jai Shane Cañete, Ara Chawdhury, Tey Clamor, director Prime Cruz, director Sheron Dayoc, Nikki del Carmen, Vaness del Moral, Jordan Dela Cruz, tri-media entertainment journalist Noel Ferrer, screenwriter Jimmy Flores, director Siege Ledesma, Singaporean filmmaker Bradley Liew and Mike Mendoza; actor Mikoy Morales, Monch Novales, TV director Nick Olanka, comedian-actress Candy Pangilinan, DAKILA co-founder and executive director Micheline Rama, Nikolas Red, Albert Bon Reyes, Pamela Reyes, Onay Sales, Daniel Saniana, Leah Jose Sebastian, actor Fifth Solomon and broadcast journalist Chiara Zambrano of ABS-CBN News.
Lee has been conducting free scriptwriting workshops in his home since the early 1980s. Some alumni have produced acclaimed works that have been recognized here and abroad. Armando Lao, Leo Abaya and Lav Diaz were part of the first workshop that was held in 1982.
In the past couple of years, Lee has been conducting workshops in successive months, sometimes with two to three batches in a year.
Alonzo is not the first big name in the industry who has graced Lee's studio. Those who were part of the recent batches include veteran actresses Cherie Gil and Agot Isidro, character actors Ping Medina and Meryll Soriano, and the likes of Jessy Mendiola and husband-and-wife Kean Cipriano and Chynna Ortaleza.
There are also a few actor-workshoppers who have had their scripts produced into films.
Bela Padilla honed her scriptwriting skills under Lee. She is credited for having written the screenplay of the 2017 hit "Last Night," which was topbilled by Piolo Pascual and Toni Gonzaga.
"But it was a different script she submitted for the workshop," Lee clarified to this writer. "I can attest na napakahusay niyang magsulat at pursigido."
Besides being known as a much sought-after actress for film and television, Padilla has been commissioned by film outfits like Star Cinema and Spring Films to write more scripts.
Xian Lim also developed his writing skills under Lee as part of Batch 17 and has finished his first full-length film titled "Tabon" for the 2019 Cinemalaya Indepedent Film Festival. "Tabon" is also Lim's directorial debut.
Lee's seminal book titled "Trip To Quiapo" has been a major source of knowledge for those who want to learn about scriptwriting and writing in general. It remains among Lee's best-selling works available in bookstores nationwide.