Screenwriter Ricky Lee: It's important to tell stories, including of life amid the COVID-19 crisis

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Veteran screenwriter Ricky Lee shares what kind of script he would write in the time of COVID-19.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 31) — Ricky Lee has written scripts for the big screen for decades, giving the audience greater insight into what's happening to the country — his finger on the pulse of the Filipino masses.

Lee is never short on ideas or inspiration, and he tells CNN Philippines what he would write now, given that the country is in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.

He said he would do a multi-character film — "walang isang bida" [no one protagonist] — where each person finds themselves woven into the life of another.

"In the film, they never see each other, but in a way and in a better way, they are more connected with each other because they are connected by compassion, by caring for each other, by the realization that we’re all in this together, that no matter what happens, we, humanity, will always prevail," he said.

We are connected when it most seems like we aren't, he added.

"Kung kailan may diskoneksyon na halos total, mas connected lahat ng characters ko. Dati, hindi nila nakikita ang isa’t isa. Nilalampasan lang ng doktor ‘yung batang lansangan. Hindi napapansin ng nanay ‘yung kanyang anak na nagtatrabaho. But now that they don’t see each other, they are more connected."

[Translation: When the disconnect is almost total, it is when my characters are most connected. They didn't even see each other before. The doctor would walk past the child living on the street. A mother would not pay attention to her child who is working. But now that they don’t see each other, they are more connected.]

Lee said it was important to tell stories especially during difficult times, because it gives people hope.

"I think, mahalaga rin to tell stories. We have always survived, prevailed by telling stories throughout the ages. Mahalaga ang kwento because it gives us hope. It inspires us. It makes us feel na nare-reaffirm natin ang ating pagkatao. So I think, mahalagang may nagkukuwento."

[Translation: I think it's important to tell stories. We have always survived, prevailed by telling stories throughout the ages. Stories are important because it gives us hope. It inspires us. It makes us feel that our humanity is reaffirmed. So, I think that's important that someone is telling the stories.]