One of my top secret missions is volunteering at the Mowelfund film archive. There, I can be alone---be my real self, away from the maddening, chaotic crowd. I don't have a title. I am just a silent worker. My first archive experience: Manuel Conde!
I found refuge cleaning the still photo negatives of Manuel Conde's "Genghis Khan," knowing its history as the first Filipino film to compete at the Venice Film Festival and one of the local films embraced by Hollywood. Also, I got to see & touch the negatives of Conde's "Juan Tamad" series! There's a certain magic seeing with your very own eyes the works of one film master. Its like the force is creeping inside you, reminding you to treasure our colorful film history.
Today, I cleaned up old cans that have been piled up for ages at the Mowelfund so we can "recycle" them for other film prints that is in need of a canned "home." I "discovered" the can used by Raymond Red in his feature debut film, "Bayani" starring Julio Diaz. Red is the first Filipino Cannes winner for his short film, "Anino" starring John Arcilla, Ronnie Lazaro and Eddie Garcia.
Here are our gadgets: scraper, mask, old newspapers, tissue paper, water, paintbrush. Mind you, we had to scrap every sticker, masking tape, packing tape on the can and it is a tedious process! Hated the tapes because they were unfriendly to an "archivist"---you pull the tape, they get torn into tiny bits and pieces but the problem is still there---they are still "stuck" to the can! You scrape and scrape even with your own hands until the tapes are gone! Whew!
But it was truly a very fulfilling experience! You feel like a hero for one day.