Elwood “El Maestro” Perez is a prolific and controversial filmmaker from the ‘70s with a filmography of over 50 films. He has received Best Director awards from Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF), and Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS).
In 2008, he was tagged by Cinema One as “A True Titan of Philippine Cinema,” “A Maverick Among Masters” in the 2013 Cinema One Originals Film Festival, awarded as “Master Filmmaker” by the Film Development Council of the Philippines, “Philippine Cinema Original” by the 2014 Cinemaone Originals Film Festival, “One of Southeast Asia’s Leading Cinematic Provocateurs” in the 2015 Hongkong International Film Festival, and a “Film Icon Visionary” by the 2016 New York SOHO International Film Festival.
As tribute to his 50-year legacy in the filmmaking industry, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP)’s Philippine Film Archive (PFA) will showcase free screenings of nine (9) films from the seminal works of Elwood “El Maestro” Perez on the FDCP Channel from September 25 to 30.
PFA’s “50 Years / 50 Films: An Elwood Perez Film Retrospective” features Perez’s “Isang Gabi… Tatlong Babae!,” “Inday Garutay,” “Masarap, Masakit ang Umibig,” “Nakawin Natin ang Bawa’t Sandali,” “Stepsisters,” “Ibulong Mo Sa Diyos,” “Bilangin Ang Bituin Sa Langit,” “Otso,” and “Esoterika: Manila.”
The Elwood Perez Retrospective is part of the 1st Philippine Film Industry Month celebration spearheaded by FDCP.



Director | Writer | Production Designer
Elwood “El Maestro” Perez was born on February 4, 1945 in Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines, he is the only son of World War II veteran and merchant Pedro Esguerra Perez and public school teacher Edna Cunanan Mendoza. From elementary to college, he excelled both in the field of academics and extracurricular activities, writing plays and performing on stage.
Coming from a movie-going clan, at the age of 3, he started watching movies, the very first film he remembers is Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) in Ambassador Theater in Mabalacat, Pampanga. At age 9, he wrote, directed, and acted as the lead role in his first Filipino play, “Ander di Saya” in grade school.
Upon arriving in Manila for college, he spent three and a half years studying pre-medicine before shifting and finishing his degree in English, where he received a scholarship from The Dawn, the official student publication of The University of the East (UE). Aside from being part of the Editorial Staff in The Dawn, he was also part of the UE Dramatic Guild, where he met his friend and colleague in Regal Films, the late renowned-filmmaker, Joey Gosiengfiao.

50 Years in the Industry

Fresh out of college, the young Elwood Perez became a writer and stage director for the drama anthology series “Balintataw,” along with Joey Gosiengfao and Lino Brocka. He was discovered by Fred Cortez Jr., that led to his directorial debut film “Blue Boy,” in 1970 starring Cortez Jr., which became a flop. In 1973, he was assigned to direct Valentina in the trilogy of “Lipad, Darna, Lipad!,” with directors Emmanuel H. Borlaza and Joey Gosiengfiao that became a huge hit flocked by moviegoers. The trilogy became his formula and expertise that he adapted to most of his films such as “Bawal : Asawa Mo, Asawa Ko (1974)”
Director Perez has worked with Star For All Seasons Vilma Santos-Recto, producing around seven films with her, Philippine cinema's "Superstar" Nora Aunor with six films, and six films with the reigned "Sex Goddess of Philippine Movies" in the '70s and '80s now politician, Alma Moreno.
He is known to debut stars in the big screen such as Mutya ng Pilipinas title holder Baby Delgado, and actors Mark Gil and Jimi Melendez. He also added to the successful chemistry of the love team “Guy-and-Pip”, Nora Aunor and Tirso Cruz III’s pet names to their fans love team in his 1985 directed films “Til We Meet Again (1985)” and “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”



1974 | Drama/Romance


Three women -- Amalia Fuentes plays a bored socialite who seduces her stepson (Orestes Ojeda); Boots Anson-Roa plays a laundry woman, a rape victim who falls for her tormentor (Ray Marcos), and Pilar Pilapil plays a haughty model who pretends to be rich—a social climber.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Wifrido Nollido (screenplay), Orlando Nadres (screenplay), Joey Gosiengfiao (screenplay)

Cast: Amalia Fuentes, Boots Anson-Roa, Pilar Pilapil, Luis Gonzales, Ricky Belmonte, Ramil Rodriguez, Ray Marcos, Orestes Ojeda


1976 | Comedy, Drama


A Goldoni style comedy that revolves around poverty-stricken girl (Trixia Gomez), who joins the cabaret (a dance hall with taxi dancers) to survive and to support her younger sister (Andrea Bautista, the producer’s daughter) and brother (the child Bong Revilla, an action superstar and current Philippine Senator). This movie launched the movie careers of Gomez and Rico J. Puno, the current singing sensation. Vivian Velez was discovered and eventually became a major player in the industry as a producer and a star. Others in the cast are Marlon Ramirez, Anita Linda, Bella Flores, Angie Ferro, and Marissa Delgado. Presumed as a lost film until film buff and collector Jojo Devera found and partially restored the title in 2020. An anonymous donor who’s also a collector, gave Devera a DVD copy culled from U-matic tapes. The partially restored “Inday Garutay” is part of the PFA’s Elwood Perez Retrospective on the FDCP Channel.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Joeben Miraflor

Cast: Trixia Gomez, Marissa Delgado, Rez Cortez, Vivian Velez, Rico J. Puno, Marlon Ramirez


1977 | Drama


This 40th anniversary presentation was a smashing success at the box office. Christopher de Leon plays the sacrificing adopted son and Mat Ranillo III as the wayward real son of wealthy couple Anita Linda and Amado Cortez, are rivals over achievements and the love of a social-climber, Vilma Santos. All three were nominated for their performances, Mat Ranillo III won the FAMAS Best Supporting Actor award. Others in the cast are Lily Miraflor and Ma-an Hontiveros, in her big-screen debut. Its English-dubbed version, My Brother, My Wife, was entered in the Asia-Pacific International Film Festival in Taipei and the ASEAN Film Festival in Sydney, Australia.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Orlando Nadres

Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Mat Ranillo III, Ma-an Hontiveros, Anita Linda, Amado Cortez, Lily Miraflor, Lillian Laing, Sandy Garcia


1978 | Drama, Romance


This box office hit stars Vilma Santos and Christopher de Leon whose young love affair is marred by family conflict coupled with pressure by small-town morals. After many years, they meet again in the city as successful career people, only to be drawn into another scandalous liaison. Despite all pressures, social, economic and otherwise, they throw all caution to the wind. Baby Delgado (Mutya ng Pilipinas title holder) debuts as the spoiled daughter of Tony Carrion, the boss. She hooks de Leon with a promise of career promotion. The film also stars Anita Linda, Romeo Rivera and Mario Escudero.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Orlando Nadres

Cast: Vilma Santos, Christopher De Leon, Baby Delgado, Roel Vergel de Dios, Freddie Yance, Anita Linda, Romeo Rivera


1979 | Drama


The launching film of Marichu Vera Perez of the distinguished Sampaguita family was a big box office success. Rival movie goddesses Rio Locsin and Lorna Tolentino are pitted against each other in this suspense-drama about three stepsisters. Kristine Garcia plays the young Lorna, while Mark Gil debuts in this film. Romeo Rivera, Vivian Lorraine and Lucita Soriano lend support. Also starring are Greggy Liwag, Herbert Corpuz and Joe Fabregas, winners of the contest for male lead roles. Original hit songs fill the soundtrack to aid the entry of composer-recording artist Rey Valera as musical director. Filmmaker, reviewer and author Rafael Guerrero acclaimed this film as one of the Director’s best.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Orlando Nadres, Wilfredo Nolledo

Cast: Lorna Tolentino, Rio Locsin, Mark Gil, Lucita Soriano, Matimtiman Cruz, Anita Linda, Joe Fabregas, Greggy Liwag, Herbert Corpuz, Romeo Rivera


1988 | Drama


The Director’s somewhat heavy-handed treatment balanced this somehow convoluted plot, making it an emotional, thrill-a-minute, roller coaster ride. Audience reaction made it a mega-hit which sat well with the FAMAS, conferring it eight awards including Best Picture. Vilma Santos as the suffering Monica Quijano, won the Best Actress award, while Miguel Rodriguez, as her insufferable tormentor, the Best Supporting Actor, for their over-the-top performances. Arguably, the quintessential Filipino movie replete with elements of song and dance interspersed with melodrama, rhetoric, action and suspense, it also earned honors for Song, Editing, Production Design, Cinematography and Direction.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Orlando Nadres

Cast: Vilma Santos, Eric Quizon, Gary Valenciano, Miguel Rodriguez, Eddie Garcia, Nida Blanca, Barbara Perez, Nadia Montenegro, Armida Siguion-Reyna, Perla Bautista, Rachel Ann Wolfe, Deborah Sun, Ruben Rustia, Vangie Labalan


1989 | Drama, Romance


Though unaccredited, this is the Director’s story that he has imbued with his most personal views on life, love, career and happiness. This is also his most critically acclaimed work. Despite its length (more than two hours), this novelistic film is visually exciting, well-paced, and has a feeling for detail. Showing the great gap that yawns between the rich and the poor, the movie also reveals the last vestiges of Spanish feudalism. Peasant proprietor’s daughter Magnolia de la Cruz (Nora Aunor) accuses rich, aristocratic, landowner’s son Anselmo Gonzales (Tirso Cruz III) for having robbed her of the honor to go up the stage as high school valedictorian during graduation rites. What follows is a bittersweet contest for love, wealth, honor and power between the two of them, spanning two generations. Nora Aunor turns in a well-modulated performance playing first, determined barrio lass that grows up into a powerful woman, succeeding in acquiring the wealth of a proud but resentful man who always considers her déclassé, and whose love she lusts for but is always at arm’s length. Second, the daughter she bears who stubbornly falls for the son of the man her mother loves and hates. The big surprise is Tirso Cruz III who gains acting prominence for the first time in his father and son roles, succeeding handsomely in displaying a multi-dimensional range. The film received numerous nominations and was conferred a total of eighteen awards by the FAP, FAMAS and other award-giving bodies (URIAN and STAR). The film and the Director won two awards each (FAP and FAMAS). Nora won three from FAP, FAMAS and Urian. Tirso also garnered three (FAP, FAMAS and STAR). Screenplay got two (FAP and FAMAS). Editing, one (FAMAS). Music, one (FAP). The production designers cornered the most awards (FAP, FAMAS, STAR and URIAN).

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Jake Cocadiz, Jigz F. Recto

Cast: Nora Aunor, Tirso Cruz III, Miguel Rodriguez, Gloria Romero, Ana Margarita Gonzales, Perla Bautista, Vangie Labalan, Mario Escudero, Flora Gasser, Beverly Salviejo, Rolando Tinio


2013 | Drama, Romance


Hoping to reconnect with his roots in the city of his birth, Lex (PMPC New Star Awardee, Vince Tañada) returns to Manila. He writes a screenplay for an indie film based on his neighbors in a flat he moves into and what he believes is going on behind their closed doors… but are they really the people he thinks they are? He realizes that his perceptions are in conflict with the objective facts. Is it even possible to create a work of fiction that is true to the facts when the very act of writing entails reimagining those facts? In the process, he discovers that his illusions of filmmaking, romance and the city itself are at odds with the truth.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Elwood Perez, Vince Tañada

Cast: Monique Azerreda, Vince Tañada, Anita Linda, Jun Urbano, Vangie Labalan, Gabby Bautista, Mark Joseph Garde, Jordan Ladra, Adelle Ibarrientos, Chris Lim, Cindy Liper


2014 | Drama, Romance


Drawing from his personal adventures and misadventures, film director, Elwood Perez veers away from standard-issue plot conventions in this paradoxically moral tale of a young man en route to becoming a creative artist. In didactic Pilipino komiks tradition, Ronnie Liang embodies the schizoid character of Mario/Galogo, an up-and-coming graphic novelist in this treatise on the otherwise lofty subject of learning given the characteristic, wildly entertaining Elwood Perez touch. In a voyage of self-discovery, this protagonist---alternately ingenious and ingenuous---plunges into the territory of the exalted, the charmed and the bizarre, swimming through the uncharted waters of the unique Filipino experience, emerging from it all as an authentic Manileño imbued with the thought that tolerance is sophistication. The multilingual cast is a convergence of Manila denizens of cross-cultural persuasions.

Director: Elwood Perez

Writer/s: Elwood Perez, Jessica Zafra

Cast: Ronnie Liang, Boots Anson-Roa, Carlos Celdran, Vince Tañada, Federico Olbés, Tesa Martinez, OJ Mariano, Francis Manalo, Jordan Ladra, Adelle Ibarrientos, Cherry Bagtas, Solita Del Sol, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Snooky Serna


18 October 2019, Friday