Film academy strapped for cash, awards stalledBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP) has been unable to carry out most of its projects, director-general Leo Martinez reported, because of its inability to collect funds from the government.
“We have a lot of collectibles from local government units (LGUs), but only a few have responded to our demand for them to remit proceeds of the tax,” Martinez told the Inquirer.
The FAP head was referring to the cultural development tax (CDT), provided by Metro Manila Commission (MMC) Ordinance No. 79-06 in 1980 “[for the] promotion, enhancement and development of Filipino arts and culture.” The CDT was to come from the P0.25 levy on all admission tickets in movie houses in Metro Manila.
Under the ordinance, which was amended in July 1984, 30 percent of the tax should go to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), 20 percent to the FAP, 20 percent to the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines (ECP) and 30 percent to the MMC (now Metropolitan Manila Development Authority).
Martinez said most LGUs stopped remitting in January 1992. “Manila and Makati kept their their accounts updated but other cities, like Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon, still have payables,” he pointed out. “We don’t understand why it is taking the city mayors too long to act on this.”
No awards rites
He said this was why the FAP cannot hold its Luna Awards this year. “We plan to just hold a small gathering to hand out the awards. We can’t afford a big, televised ceremony.”
Martinez said the FAP had also put off the launch of its “Sine Panitik” project. It was supposed to be a joint undertaking of the FAP and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which granted a subsidy of P500,000 to build a literary film library for students.
“Sine Panitik” aims to produce four full-length films, adapted from or based on four short stories and eight poems considered as Filipino literary masterpieces. The NCCA subsidy was to cover royalties for the short stories and poems, as well as the fees of scriptwriters who were to interpret them.
The first batch of “Sine Panitik” films was supposed to be shown at the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival (New Wave category) in December.
“The grant wasn’t enough to mobilize the project. The FAP would still shell out money for promotion and administrative expenses. This is really frustrating,” said Martinez.
Another project, “Doon Po sa Amin: A Pride Campaign,” has likewise been put in the back burner. The plan, Martinez said, was to ask students to submit essays or screenplays about what they are most proud of in their cities or provinces, and then make documentaries or short films out of those. “We spoke to Interior Secretary (Jesse) Robredo about the project and he said he liked it. Sadly, the project hasn’t moved.”
Martinez said the “unfortunate situation” that the FAP is in could be partly blamed on an “oversight” of the Department of Education, which the academy is under. “Nobody is in charge of culture—unlike before, when it was still under the DECS (Department of Education, Culture and Sports). How can the government help the industry … when it doesn’t have a Cabinet representative?”
On the bright side, reported Martinez, the FAP’s Film Gym program, which teaches the basics of filmmaking for a minimal cost, was still ongoing. He said a P1-million grant from Sen. Kiko Pangilinan in 2011 allowed the FAP to offer the program.
The latest Film Gym session began on May 24. The FAP subsidizes 75 percent of the tuition for the workshop, so a participant shells out only P6,000. “This is not income-generating—pinapaikot lang namin ang pera,” said Martinez. “We don’t even charge for the maintenance of the training facility.”
Martinez said the FAP meant to promote what it labeled “advocacinema” through the Film Gym program, which was designed to help teachers, students and non-government organizations promote their advocacies through film.
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