Film council urges festival supporters to keep the faith


Filmmakers, who joined the just-concluded 2013 Sineng Pambansa National Film Festival: All-Masters Edition, said they expected the festival organizer—Film Development Council of the Philippines(FDCP)—to help in their films’ distribution and participation in film festivals abroad.

Eleven film projects received a grant of P1.5 million each from the FDCP’s Film Investment Program. The films were screened in over 300 SM cinemas all over the country during the festival that ended Tuesday.

“Now that the festival has ended, dapat dito magpakitang gilas ang FDCP. It is part-owner of the films. We expect help, especially since the council is connected to other film commissions and organizers of different festivals abroad,” Chito Roño, director of “Badil,” told the  Inquirer on Monday.

FDCP apology


Gil Portes, who created “Ang Tag-Araw ni Twinkle,” agreed. “The FDCP owns

40 percent of the film. I’m looking into selling the rights to air it on television. I’m also exploring the idea of joining festivals abroad in 2014. The council could very well link me to the right people.”

The FDCP on Sunday apologized for the delays and changes in screening schedules that marred the weeklong Sineng Pambansa.

“FDCP chair Briccio Santos requests the consideration and continued understanding of the public,” said an FDCP statement sent to the Inquirer on Monday. Three of the participating filmmakers failed to submit their entries on time, and screenings of three other films were delayed.

The festival began on Sept. 11. Roño’s “Badil,” Tikoy Aguiluz’s “Eman” and Romy Suzara’s “Tinik” were still in “various stages of postproduction” on opening day. “Badil” and “Tinik” were eventually shown in SM Cinemas, but not “Eman.”

Screenings of the films made by Maryo J. de los Reyes (“Bamboo Flowers”), Mel Chionglo (“Lauriana”) and Jose Javier Reyes (“Ano ang Kulay ng mga Nakalimutang Pangarap?”) in some areas in Metro Manila and in the provinces experienced delays because the copies failed to arrive on time.


Learning experience

“I hope this will be a learning experience for the FDCP,” Roño said. “What we should all do is simply acknowledge what we lacked in certain areas and change this next year. It’s a problem that can be easily corrected. It’s not the first time that a festival was held in the country. The council should have hired a professional events manager.”

He would willingly work with the FDCP again in succeeding projects, Roño added. “It was commendable that the FDCP was able to make this unique arrangement with SM for the [screening of] films,” the director pointed out. “Sadly, it did not [fully] take advantage of the opportunity. These films may not be considered commercial enough but they are good-quality films.”

The SM Group was a cosponsor of the event.

Despite the problems that the festival encountered, Portes said, “All the participants agreed that it was a great concept.” He explained: “The fact that the FDCP was able to put all these veteran directors together in one festival was one mean feat. I salute the

FDCP and SM for this.”

To be included in the lineup, Portes added, “even though some people say ito ay festival ng mga laos,” was a great honor.

He also said,  “This proved that we’re still capable of making great films. To a certain extent, that was a success.”

However, Portes pointed to the lack of promotions as a big setback. “How could you make people go to the movie houses to watch the movies—tickets for which were priced at only P100—if they didn’t know there was this festival? This is the failure of SM Cinemas, which took charge of promotions. Just the same, the FDCP should have hounded SM to do its job.”

The FDCP statement read: “We would like to reiterate our gratitude to SM Cinemas for partnering with us in this endeavor. [Its] willingness to provide more than 300 screens all over the nation for a whole week is truly nothing less than a strong affirmation of their all-out support to Philippine cinema. This is an example of a public-private partnership that we hope will continue for years to come.”

The council likewise asked supporters to “remain committed in sharing our mission and advocacies … A festival of this scope and reach is truly unprecedented. [We are] doing our best to bring Filipino films to more Filipinos nationwide.”

Santos called on Filipinos to continue to patronize “the remarkable works of the masters as a fitting honor to them and as a way of acknowledging SM Cinema in joining the FDCP in this national undertaking of great significance for the utmost benefit of the country and the film industry.”

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  • Jao Romero

    i wonder why old dogs were given the grants instead of young bloods. i thought the whole point of a “development” council is to help new blood break-in in the industry. these old codgers don’t need the help of a film grant to make films. they’re already industry insiders. they have access to producers that can help them make films. they can pitch films on their own to studios just on the strength of their names. Philippine Cinema will never “develop” if we keep funding the old names. they’ve had their chances. we keep funding the same people that make the same tired stories. give others a chance.

    that said, i still wanted to support the festival. alas, with just a one week showing for ALL films, one could not possibly be expected to watch every one of them. i have 2 days free in a week, and even that i could not spare to watch even one film. it was just bad timing over all. MMFF has Christmas, maybe they should have scheduled it for Holy Week. i’m sure more people will be able to see those films.

    i hope they release a special DVD with all the films in it. i’m tempted to torrent the whole thing but i refuse to pirate Philippine films on principle. Hollywood is free game but Philippine films should be sacred.

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