It’s all about keeping it real.
Multimedia artist Oscar Yema thus describes the huge, diverse body of work he has done over his almost 15-year career, first in television and now in film.
“Telling real stories, that’s always been my passion,” Yema says in an interview. “It’s a habit I have developed because of my news industry background. I have talked to different kinds of people and I have been exposed to a lot of different things, like poverty, crime, nasty lawsuits. Many of the news stories I’ve done were odd, but they were all true. That’s why, even in film, I want things to be realistic as possible.”
A “slice of life,” he maintains, was something that he and the rest of the cast and crew strived to present in Mga Pusang Gala (Stray Cats). The independent Filipino film has earned critical acclaim back home and abroad for its witty portrayal of love, sex and gender roles. It has been shown in film festivals in Manila, Switzerland, and San Francisco.
As line producer, Yema was involved in both the administrative and creative aspects of making the movie.
Yema was originally trained in broadcast journalism. He received his degree in mass communication from the University of the Philippines and has worked for the Philippines’ two biggest television networks over a 10-year period.
He served as director, executive producer, segment producer, and researcher for ABS CBN Broadcasting Corporation, which distributes The Filipino Channel. His credits include well-known news and public affairs programs such as Companera y Companera, Assignment, Magandang Gabi Bayan, Hoy Gising, TV Patrol World, and Inside Story.
He also directed or produced TV shows under GMA Network Inc., including Eat Bulaga, Imbestigador, Emergency, Saksi Newscast, Brigada Siete, Pira-Pirasong Pangarap, and GMA Telesine.
He left Philippine television in 2002 to concentrate on filmmaking. He has since helped direct a digital movie titled Angels starring Filipino character actress Gina Alajar, and a TV series for Singapore TV Works.
Currently, Yema almost single-handedly produces video projects for Luen Thai and Tan Holdings Corp. on Saipan. He also serves as operations manager for M2A2 Productions, a production company he helped established, and as corporate affairs manager for Villa Anna Paradise Resort and Farm in Oriental Mindoro, a popular tourist destination in the Philippines.