Ronald Arguelles was still a student not yet done with his thesis when he joined ABSCBN Corporation as a talent in 1988. He was recruited to be a researcher of a new art magazine show called “Café Bravo.”
“During that time, we were very passionate about what we were assigned to do. We were students and were very eager to work. We worked on a pilot show for six months without a talent fee. I don’t know how I survived that period but I surely learned a lot from there.”
He later moved to another “passion project”: “Tatak Pilipino,” where he worked first as researcher and then as segment producer. In between, he went back to school and finished Film and Audio-Visual Communication Studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman.
Arguelles became a regular employee in 1992 and became channel head of Sky One, the predecessor of Cinema One, in 1994. He oversaw the channel’s transformation into Pinoy Blockbuster Channel in 1998 and then into Cinema One (C1) in 2001.
Today, he is brand head for movies at ABS-CBN subsidiary Creative Programs Inc. and executive producer of Cinema One Originals. IMDb lists 99 movies that credit him as producer or executive producer from 2005 to 2018. More films are bound to be added to the list this year. IMDb is an online database of films, TV programs, home videos and video games and internet streams that include cast, production crew and personnel biographies, plot summaries and fan reviews and ratings.
Repository of films
Arguelles says C1 provides linear curated programming as a repository of films acquired and collected in ABS-CBN’s film archives. Meanwhile, C1 Originals, which was launched in 2005, serves as a discovery platform for ABS-CBN Films.
“The challenge now is to make the C1 brand relevant outside of the cable platform,” he says.
The C1 team addresses this challenge by doing more collaborations with other groups and extending the brand to the digital platforms of ABS-CBN and others. “I’m also working now with the DTT (digital terrestrial television) group of ABS-CBN programming and leading a movie channel called Movie Central.”
Asked what motivates him to go to work every day, Arguelles quips, “I ask that question every day.”
But the passion for film and the quest to discover new talent seem to drive him to continue working at ABS-CBN, where he’s remained for three decades and counting. He continues to grow professionally, working with other groups such as promotion, marketing, sales, third-party production groups and within the ABS-CBN Film Ecosystem to bring the best of the best concepts into cinematic reality.
Going forward, Arguelles expects to produce more films, discover even more filmmakers, talents, writers, directors and producers, and to upgrade the technology they are using—all to improve the viewing experience of C1 and ABS-CBN audiences worldwide.
He believes C1 productions reflect the Lopez Value of a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.
“Aside from discovering new voices and talents that we could later hire for other platforms, I would like to think that diverse content—regional films, original unique works, strange, inspiring stories outside of the formula mixed with other more commercial ideas and genres—would be the ideal content need of our audience looking for variety and true representations.”
His message for “LopezLink” readers: “Watch more Filipino movies to understand our current culture and history. Read more articles about our programs from our website and print media, like behind-the-scenes productions, or documentaries about our passion projects. Learn more about the passion and hard work behind our productions.” (Story/Photos by: Carla Paras-Sison)