Friday, March 3, 2017

Film council focuses effort on regional cinemas
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, March 2 (PNA)--Giving due importance to filmmakers outside of Metro Manila, the head of the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), who was here on a recent visit, said the government body is focusing its efforts on the development of regional cinemas.

“We need to empower the regions since our cinema is almost ‘Manilacentric’ amidst so many films coming from the regions that must be given due importance,” said Liza Diño, FDCP chair, who visited here and conducted film education among university mentors in Bicol.

Diño said she believes in a “direction that will decentralize to the regions as the right perspective.”

She said FDCP has continuously visited the regions to consult with the local government units (LGUs), academe and filmmakers.

Diño said they have rolled out the “Film Festival Development Assistance Program” which supports locally initiated film festivals that will empower film makers in the regions.

“There are already a lot of initiatives coming from the private sector who are really passionate film makers putting together films produced in their locality, from north to south,” she said.

Diño said instead of FDCP creating film festivals, which is its mandate, they have opted to encourage and support existing film festivals in the regions.

She cited the film festivals in Mindanao, which have been around for the past 12 years; those in Iloilo, for the past four years; and those in Pampanga and Cebu.

Diño made especial mention of the film festival in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley where there is no cinema and films are being shown in open air venues in the town plaza with the entire townsfolk watching.

You will realize that cinema is not only in Metro Manila but anywhere and there are so many filmmakers who are really good in making films in their own dialects,” she said.

Diño said the phenomenon of the increasing number of filmmakers in the country indicate that film is a powerful tool to use in expressing and taking pride in one’s roots and culture, which she deems to be a “positive form of regionalism.”

She cited Iloilo filmmakers who commonly dwell on folklore so that their films become full of “magic realism” while in Mindanao the stories told are those of the indigenous people there.

“Cinema allows us to discover and rediscover who we are and I think if we take this chance and celebrate that maybe this is one way for us to understand each other,” Diño said.

Wilfredo Manalang, FDCP executive director, said the government is financing the establishment of a hub for filmmakers, film enthusiasts and educators, which will be called “cinematheque” and will be in partnership with LGUs.

Manalang said cinematheque is a type of moviehouse with 150 seats with rooms allotted for workshops and forums about film.

“It will be constructed in no less than a 500-square-meter lot,” he said.

He added what the LGU will have to provide is the lot where the cinematheque will be constructed while the FDCP will provide the staff and operational expenses.

Manalang said cinematheque will show different kinds of films not shown in commercial moviehouses like films from different countries to be provided by their embassies.

He said there are already five cinematheque units being constructed and established in Manila, Baguio, Iloilo, Zamboanga and Davao while the construction of one in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley is ongoing.

“We are encouraging all the regions to at least have one cinematheque,” Manalang said.

Diño said cinematheque is a home for regional cinema, independent films and films deemed not commercial and an alternative venue where students can show the short film they have created for public viewing.

“It’s so important to have a cinematheque because right now independent films are here. We have art house films, experimental films and these need a home, a venue because you will never see them in a commercial venue,” she said. (PNA)