Robbie Tan picks successor in CinemalayaBy Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Robbie Tan, who resigned recently as head of the monitoring committee of the annual Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, would like filmmaker and professor Mike Sandejas to take his place.
“He knows what Cinemalaya needs,” Tan told Inquirer on Thursday. He pointed out that Sandejas had fielded two entries in the annual fest—“Tulad ng Dati” (2006) and “Dinig Sana Kita” (2009). Sandejas was also a member of the screening committee in 2008.
“He’s a good filmmaker. That is the goal of Cinemalaya, to come up with films of superior quality,” Tan said.
Reached for comment, Sandejas told Inquirer that he was still weighing his options, but would make a decision within the week. He is a Mass Communication professor at St. Scholastica’s College and is pursuing a master’s degree in Film and Media Studies at the University of the Philippines.
“I also have a lot of projects on the side,” said Sandejas. “I direct television commercials. I’ve been helping the Cinemalaya Foundation though I’m not a member, so I know I can do it. But I also know this would take up a lot of my time.”
Tan, who owns the movie production outfit Seiko Films, said he resigned so he could concentrate on his business, which he had neglected because of Cinemalaya.
“I had to supervise the creation of 15 films each year. It was time-consuming and exhausting,” Tan pointed out.
Every year, Cinemalaya gives a P500,000 grant each to 15 independent filmmakers out of hundreds of submissions from around the country. Their films debut at the festival, held in July.
Tan described himself as “very meticulous.” This was why, he said, some filmmakers accused him of violating their
artistic expression and freedom. A Cinemalaya finalist this year, “MNL 143,” was reportedly disqualified from the festival’s New Breed category because its director, Emerson Reyes, and producers had a casting disagreement with the monitoring committee.
Tan stressed: “It’s not true that the committee members tried to interfere with their work. We simply tried to guide them and protect the interest of Cinemalaya at the same time. We have to maintain high standards for the festival.”
He learned a lot working for the festival, Tan said. “Now, I just want to stay away from intrigues. I feel very relieved.”
Tan is still a member of the Cinemalaya Foundation, however. “We’re sure we’ll still need his help,” said Tess Rances, deputy festival director and manager of Cultural Center of the Philippines administrative services. “Though of course we hope to find the right replacement for him.”
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