At last, no more first day-last day for indies
Independent films will now be spared of the first day-last day syndrome, or their pullout from theaters after one day due to poor ticket sales.
This is being made possible through the Philippine Cinematheque Partnership Program forged between the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) and SM Cinema.
“The agreement between SM and FDCP will make first day-last day a thing of the past,” FDCP chair Briccio Santos said. “SM has committed to put an end to the practice. Audiences have made it clear that they want variety. It’s just a matter of increasing awareness through a proper promotion and marketing plan.”
SM has likewise vowed to help indie filmmakers promote their films. “We will show the trailers of indie films in our cinemas all over the country,” said Edgar C. Tejerero, senior vice president of West Avenue Theaters Corporation, who signed the memorandum of agreement for SM Cinema.
“We will also run their trailers in LCD screens in theater lobbies and LED billboards along major highways,” Tejerero said. Further, he said, SM could include indie films in promo packages (couponing, direct selling, group buying) and tie-ups with schools under the mall chain’s Film Literacy Program.
Tejerero clarified that SM’s main requirement was to preview the films in advance “so we would know how to market and promote” these projects.
Santos said the public-private collaboration, which he said was “historic,” stood to benefit audiences, filmmakers and theater owners equally. Indie films would be screened in cineplexes; cinemas could offer more varied content; and audiences would get to choose from a wide selection.
SM Cinema is poised to showcase indie and regional productions, restored classics and foreign masterpieces—chosen by the FDCP for “audiences to watch for free or at a reasonably reduced price.”
“We have committed our screens all over the country,” Tejerero stressed. He envisions six to 12 SM theaters converted to FDCP Cinematheques, including those in prime locations like Megamall, North Edsa, Manila, Southmall and Cebu.
There are four FDCP Cinematheques so far—one each in Baguio, Marawi, Iloilo and Davao. A cinematheque is a screening venue for classic and art-house movies, ideally with a film archive.
“We share the FDCP objectives to raise the industry output [and] attract viewers back to cinemas,” said Tejerero.
Santos considered it a coup “to engage the country’s biggest chain of cinemas for the national agenda of film development.”
Nicole Deato, West Avenue Theaters senior manager for business development, pointed out that SM held 55 to 60 percent of the market share. Tejerero confirmed that SM, which currently has 244 screens nationwide, would go fully digital on Sept. 15.
“With this partnership,” Santos said, “indies can gain access to a wider market.” He foresaw the “great divide” between indies and mainstream finally being erased.
Support for R-16
Meanwhile, Tejerero related that SM was fully behind the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board’s (MTRCB) new R-16 rating.
Santos added that “MTRCB’s support for FDCP’s Audience Development Program through a MOA” smoothened out classification and regulation issues for the Cinematheques. “We will next build Cinematheques in Zamboanga and Cebu … and continue until we have one in each region.” Shangri-La Plaza mall in Mandaluyong City also signed a Cinematheque MOA with FDCP earlier.
Among the Filipino films set to be shown at the FDCP Cinematheques in SM are the restored Manuel Conde classic “Genghis Khan” and the big winner in the first Sineng Pambansa tilt, Sigfreid Barros Sanchez’s “Mga Kidnaper ni Ronnie Lazaro.”
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