“The need for a changing of the guard in an organization is needed in order for it to cope with development. [The resignation of Nes Jardin] can only make Cinemalaya more dynamic,” insisted talent manager Ed Instrella on the news that Jardin had resigned from his position as festival director of the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival on March 2.
Inquirer Entertainment sought the reaction of Instrella, whose ward, Alan Paule, was involved in the controversial disqualification of Emerson Reyes’ “MNL 143,” one of the finalists in the annual indie fete.
“Nes must have been so tired of all these (intrigues that he opted to resign). I still think there are other ways of settling the situation,” Instrella pointed out. “You can negotiate, come up with a compromise … Dialogue is very important.”
Jardin, who was president and artistic director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines when Cinemalaya debuted in 2005, earlier said he was “sad and disheartened” by the controversies surrounding the festival.
On Tuesday, he turned down Inquirer Entertainment’s request for an interview “to avoid further complications,” although he did say that after eight years of incessant strife, contention and bickering, he was tired. Current CCP artistic director Chris Millado is slated as his replacement.
At press time, representatives of the CCP, a major stockholder in the Cinemalaya Foundation, are meeting with foundation chair Tonyboy Cojuangco regarding the issue.
The disqualification of “MNL 143” in the New Breed category stemmed from Reyes’ insistence to cast Paule and Joy Viado in the lead roles, despite the fact that Cinemalaya deemed them “unsuitable for the material.” Monitoring head Robbie Tan had wanted Victor Neri and Francine Prieto as leads instead.
Instrella continued: “Since Cinemalaya develops and nurtures filmmakers, it must be very patient. These filmmakers can sometimes be a bit aggressive and emotional. They are artists, after all. You have to nurture them and make sure they excel for the industry’s benefit.”
Like Instrella, film producer and talent manager Noel Ferrer believed that “certain Cinemalaya practices and procedures should be reviewed so changes can be made for the better.”
Ferrer, who produced last year’s New Breed finalist, “Ligo Na U, Lapit Na Me,” described Jardin as someone who “takes on the voice of the independent artist.”
Ferrer recalled the time when Jardin convinced him not to back out from the competition after a “heated discussion” with Tan on whether or not to cast Edgar Allan Guzman and Mercedes Cabral to play the lead roles. Tan reportedly wanted to hire actors that have more “mainstream appeal.”
“He protected the artists. He guarded the festival’s integrity,” Ferrer said of Jardin. “I was eventually vindicated with the movie’s positive reviews and awards, as well as its box-office success [at the fest].”
With Jardin’s resignation, Ferrer said, “He can focus his efforts to champion the cause of independent artists like he used to, without biases and conflicts of interest.”