PH has movie in her mind, hosts 1st int’l film confabBy Marinel R. Cruz, Tarra Quismundo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In August, when the world watches on screens American spy Aaron Cross dodge cops in the streets of Manila, what people will see perhaps is also one of the best trailers on what the Philippines has to offer as a tourist destination.
Still in the afterglow after playing host to the summer shoot of the Hollywood spy film “The Bourne Legacy,” the Philippines is looking to continue the momentum as it stages this week the first International Film Conference (IFC), an event expected to boost not only the country’s film industry but also its tourism industry.
To be held at the Philippine International Convention Center on Tuesday, June 26, and Wednesday, June 27, the event offers Asia’s film industry an opportunity for fostering regional cooperation and, for the Philippines, a chance to regain its position as a “film capital in Asia.”
To be yearly event
“The Philippines is one of the oldest film cultures in Asia, second only to India, dating as far back as 1912 when we made our first production,” said Briccio Santos, chair of host Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP). “Because of this history, the Philippines can reestablish itself as a film capital in Asia,” he said.
Conceived by the FDCP, the conference is a venue for filmmakers, producers, heads of postproduction outfits, film professors to discuss developments in cinema and explore possibilities for international collaboration, including partnerships in location shooting.
Santos said the FDCP intended to make the IFC a yearly event for the sharing of information on the latest technologies, discussing coproduction initiatives between countries, and exploration of location shooting opportunities.
“We at FDCP believe that the Philippines can be a film hub of the region,” Santos said in his interview with the Inquirer.
“This is important for the film industries of the region so they can access the platform for contents and talents that the Philippines can easily provide, but have remained untapped,” he added.
Largest film market
With the theme “The Future Has Arrived,” IFC Manila will bring together 32 film practitioners from 11 countries, including Southeast Asian nations, Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.
Also attending the conference are officials of the Asian Film Commissions Network (AFCNet), a nonprofit film development organization that holds regular regional meets to discuss developments in film technology and pursue creative collaborations.
The AFCNet, too, hopes to hold the IFC annually to serve as venue for formulating joint programs, policies and undertakings that will foster regional cooperation, leveraging Asia’s position as a major film market.
Santos said that since the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has about 600 million people, and together with Japan Korea and China the region has about 2.8 billion people, “we are in effect the largest market for films in the world.”
“We envision that we not only become the market for films, but also a haven of abundant talents, as well as cocreators of contents for these markets,” Santos said.
Conference speakers will discuss industry trends, including technological innovations, digital cinema and location shooting, the last of particular interest to the Philippines.
The country has been one of the favorite locations of foreign producers. It has played host to the filming of acclaimed Hollywood war films like “Apocalypse Now” (1979) and “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), spy thriller “The Bourne Legacy” (2012) and several international productions of the “Survivor” series, a globally syndicated reality TV show.
“Because films could be the best advertising platform the country could ever have, we will focus on location shooting and create a dialogue between key resource persons and local government representatives in order to create incentives within their locality,” Santos said.
“The experience of Camarines Sur, for example, shows how this is done with the ‘Survivor’ series, greatly boosting their local economy,” he added.
Filmmakers from Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia will speak about coproduction ventures in their countries. “The Bourne Legacy” Philippine producer Lope Juban Jr., president of Philippine Film Studios (PFSI), will talk about the Philippine experience.
“When ‘The Bourne Legacy’ is shown in theaters in August we expect an avalanche of tourism interest in the country,” Santos said. “Eight hundred million people are expected to view this film, which in itself will impact on tourism and trade,” he said.
Also to be discussed in the conference is the industry’s shift from manual to digital projection technology, where the Philippines is a pioneer in the region. Santos said the development could be expected to “change the landscape of [film] distribution and marketing system” in the country.
“Digitization means that movies will be projected to multiple locations from a single source,” Santos said. “This is why we [have the theme] ‘The Future Has Arrived’ [for the conference].”
The conference also aims to draft a joint declaration stipulating regional film industry policies “with one Asia in mind,” Santos said.
“We shall make them help us help them,” the PFSI’s Juban said. The Philippines, he said, has an efficient film infrastructure compared to [Burma], Cambodia or Vietnam. “This means we can lend expertise to them, much like what we have been doing with Indonesia for the past years,” he said. “We’ve sent some of our directors and cinematographers there.”
On Wednesday, Juban will speak about the Philippines’ experience in location shooting and development of tourism.
“I’ll be sharing my team’s experiences in production in the Philippines, as well as how filmmaking here has evolved from the 1980s to the present,” Juban told the Inquirer.
Juban, under PFSI, has been coproducing Hollywood films since the 1980s. Among those films are “Year of Living Dangerously,” starring Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver (1982); “Platoon,” with Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe (1986); and “Born on the Fourth of July,” with Tom Cruise (1989).
PFSI has also been bringing various franchises of the reality show “Survivor” to the Philippines since 2007.
Randy Pingol, vice president for business development of Array’s Technology Inc., will talk about the state of digital technology in the Philippines in a presentation called “The Future of Digital Cinema.”
“We will share how the country has come to adapt to the change in technology, especially in 2D and 3D production,” Pingol said. “There will also be a presentation on video technology, like the 24p, or a video format that operates at 24 frames per second, or the latest, 60p, as well as their benefits.”
End of 35 mm
Ed Tejerero, senior vice president of SM Cinema West Avenue Theaters Corp., will talk about “The End of the 35 mm Era.”
“Digital conversion spells growth for both film producers and exhibitors,” Tejerero said. “Exhibitors are now assured that each movie will be shown simultaneously in Metro Manila and in the provinces. This would also dramatically reduce the overhead of theater owners. Only one operator is needed to program films and cinema ads to be shown for a week.”
This could also mean more alternative content, Tejerero added. “We can see more educational films. The National Geographic Channel, for example, no longer produces documentaries using 35 mm,” he said.
The shift to digital could also mean more cinema ads. “With the 35 mm, you need to spend P50,000 for 10 advertisement prints to be played only in 100 cinemas,” Tejerero said. “With digital, you only need less than P2,000 for everything.”
Producers can now spend less in making films, he said. “Negatives alone cost you P3 million—let’s not even mention the editing and postproduction cost,” Tejerero said. “With digital, there’s no need to spend on negatives and postproduction work is much easier.”
Other topics, speakers
The conference topics to be covered on Tuesday and the speakers are: “The Emergence of Creative Parks in Asia,” Michael Lake, CEO of Pinewoods Iskandar Studios of Malaysia; “The Cambodian Model,” Cedric Eloy, CEO and executive director of the Cambodia Film Commission; “Indonesia’s Co-Production Initiatives,” Syamsul Lussa, director for film affairs of the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Tourism; “Malaysia’s Edge in Co-Production,” Kamil Othman, vice president for creative industry strategy and policy, Multimedia Development Corp. in Malaysia.
On Wednesday, the speakers are Kim Ji-seok, executive programmer, Busan International Film Festival; Kim Taekyun, head of Film Directing Department, Korean Film Council/Korean Academy of Film Arts; Camille Dulor, attaché for higher education and academic exchange of the French Embassy.
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Tags: Aaron Cross , Asian Film Commissions Network , film capital in Asia , Philippine films , Philippine International Convention Center , Philippine Movies , tourism industry , “The Bourne Legacy , ” International Film Conference